Two summers ago, I made it my mission to create the perfect ribs. From the right rub, to cooking method, I was aiming to create ribs the fell off the bone and had people clambering for more. It took all summer, and several arm burns to get it right. We ate A. Lot. of ribs that summer. But, it was worth it. I now have the perfect rib recipe, and it gets rave reviews all the time.
I've been using the same principals to come up with a pulled pork recipe I can be proud of. I've tried the slow cooker (which I'm not a big fan of to begin with), different cuts of pork-- the shoulder and butt, and different cooking techniques. Nothing resulted in port that was tender enough to shreds with a fork, or that tasted full of the flavor I wanted.
That is, until last night. Each week, I order a selection of fresh, local, and organic fruits and vegetables from Specialty Produce. Added on are meats, cheeses, seafood, and pasta all from local purveyors. Each week is different depend on what was butchered, caught, and grown-- so you never know exactly what you are going to get- just that it's delicious.
In my box this week were four thick center-cut, bone-in pork chops. I thought I had ordered 6, but was mistaken, so needed to create something that would go far enough to feed all six of us. We also had Italian sandwich rolls in the box, and thus the idea of once again attempting pulled pro sounded like a great fix. I'd never attempted it with pork chops before- so I wasn't too sure how it would turn out. Boy was I pleasantly surprised... The result was melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness.
4 bone-in, center-cut, pork chops
1/4 cup sugar
1 T kosher salt
1 T white pepper
A sweet BBQ sauce (I used Stonewall Kitchen Bourbon Molasses BBQ Sauce); divided use.
4 cups (1 box) Chicken Stock
Combine sugar, pepper, and salt. Place pork chops in a deep, oven safe, baking dish. Rub both sides of each chop with the mixture. Using about 1 Tbsp per chop, rub BBQ sauce into both sides of chops. Save remaining BBQ sauce for later use. Cover baking dish with tin foil, and let sit in the refrigerator for 4 hours.
After 4 hours, preheat oven to 300 degrees. Remove dish from fridge. Pour chicken stock into baking dish-- it should just cover all chops. Recover with tin foil, sealing all edges. Place on middle rack in oven. Bake for 3 1/2 hours.
Remove from oven. Pull out chops and place in a bowl. Be careful as meat will be super tender and fall off the bone as you do so. Remove bones, and discard. Using tongs, or forks, shred meat. Add 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, and the remainder of unused BBQ sauce, and mix.
Voila! Perfect pulled pork.
Now, I just need to spend the remainder of this summer coming up with my own sweet and savory BBQ sauce and this (and my rib) recipe will be perfect.