pork

Today I’m making a big ole batch of my brother’s pulled pork recipe*, more or less. I like to thin down the BBQ sauce with red wine and add some chili powder or cumin and a clove of garlic, but the process is identical: put it in a pot, clap on the lid, and go to the beach for the whole day go about your business while the pork turns into a delicious tangle of tender meat.

The Fella left the house before it started wafting its enticing aroma out of the oven, which means I am the only one who gets to walk around for the next two hours saying, “Hey, what smells like pork butt?”

*My brother’s old blog is now defunct, so I’ll reproduce the recipe here:

beach-day pulled pork

Buy around ten pounds of pork shoulder or pork butt. You’ll be tempted to buy less, but don’t. It will all get eaten, every scrap, and then you’ll wish you’d made 20 pounds.

Also buy the best barbeque sauce you can get your hands on.

In a heavy casserole with a tight-fitting lid, pour the barbeque sauce over the pork.

There, that’s it. Now cook it.

No, really: that’s it. You can gussy it up by adding oregano or chiles or garlic or chili powder or buy cutting the BBQ sauce with red wine or sherry — and I have done all of that, sometimes all at once, and it’s all excellent. But if you do nothing but pour storebought sauce over meat and add several hours of slooooow cooking, then serve the meat and sauce on buns or tortillas, you’ll have a great meal.

Put on the lid, pop the casserole in a 250-275ºF oven, and leave it pretty well alone for at least six hours; large cuts may need as much as 9 hours. Halfway through, I turn the meat once so all sides get moist and coated in sauce, but I don’t know that it’s necessary (and once when I had a badly bandaged hand, I skipped this step; everything worked out fine.) You’ll know the meat is done when you nudge it with a fork and the pork butt starts to slide into delicious strands and bites.

I usually cook this overnight, leaving the oven low and periodically waking up to think “What smells like pork butt?” In the morning, I remove the meat to a Tupperware container, shred it, and pop it in the fridge. Then I pour the sauce into a jar or narrow-necked bowl and chill it so the fat can be scraped off. The meat and sauce reheat beautifully on the stovetop, at low heat in the oven, or in the microwave.

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