Makes 4 (3″) sandwiches
2 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat
3 tablespoons light brown sugar, divided
2 teaspoons hot paprika
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (adjust to taste)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 small onion, diced
1 cup water, divided
Buns, Barbecue sauce and prepared coleslaw, for serving
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
2. Combine 1 Tbsp brown sugar, paprika, mustard powder, cumin, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork.
3. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet until very hot; add the pork and cook, turning, until browned on all sides, (about 5 minutes each side). Remove the pork and transfer to a holding pan.
4. Reduce heat to medium, add onions, and saute until just translucent.
5. Whisk 1/2 cup water into the skillet, scraping up all browned bits from the bottom.
6. Add the vinegar, tomato paste, the remaining brown sugar and water to the pan and whisk to combine. Remove from heat. Transfer the liquid and onions to the hotel pan. Add the pork, cover, and cook at 250 degrees F for 6 hours.
1. Remove the pork and use 2 forks to shred. Strain the liquid into a saucepan, bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half (about 15 minutes). Season with salt, to taste.
2. Roughly chop the pork, and mix in a bowl with 1/2 cup of the reduced cooking liquid, adjusting salt and vinegar to taste.
3. Serve on choice of buns with additional barbecue sauce and coleslaw.
You have a number of options with this recipe; If you want to serve the large, stadium size buns (5″), you will need to increase your pork accordingly. You will be going from a 1/3 lb serving to 1/2 pound per sandwich. You lose about 1/3 of the weight when you slow cook pork, so you can adjust your recipe as needed. And, if you want to make a really outstanding barbecue sauce, I developed one for Baby Back Ribs that really pops with campfire flavors. You can find the recipe here.