Last Sunday’s NFL games got me thinking about what I would like to serve at my upcoming football party and my first thoughts were centered on mini BBQ pork sandwiches with horseradish coleslaw.
The problem with winter weather is that it doesn’t make it very fun to go outside and BBQ. I could cook the pork in the oven, but the smoke-filled flavor the meat gets from the wood smoking is really one of the best things about the dish. To resolve this issue, I have decided to share with you a fabulous method for smoking meats indoors. The process is called “pan smoking,” anyone can do it and you don’t need any special equipment, just what I have listed below.
Pan Smoked Pulled Pork
How often have you heard the term “pulled pork” and wondered what it was? More often than not when a BBQ restaurant or a home BBQ fan says, “pulled pork,” they are talking about meat that comes from the pork shoulder. Sometimes it’s called “butt roast” because it used to come from the shank area or butt end of the pig; pork shoulders are now the accepted product to use when making pulled pork. The shoulder is rubbed with spices and (hence the term, “dry rub”) cooked very slowly at low temperatures until the meat literally falls off the bone. The term “pulled” comes from the fact that after cooking, one pulls the meat from the bone.
Since it takes some time to cook, you might want to start in the morning.
For the Dry Rub:
- 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 4 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoons freshly ground or coarse black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less depending on your preference for heat)
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground clove
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
For the Roast:
- 1 pork shoulder
- One, 2-inch deep foil-roasting pan (available at most stores)
- One, 4-inch deep foil-roasting pan that is the same length and width of the 2-inch pan (available at most stores)
- Wood chips for smoking (I like mesquite chips, available at most stores)
- BBQ sauce
To cook the pork, remove the shoulder from packaging and pat dry with a paper towel. You might want to do the next step over some newspaper or a big cutting board as it gets a bit messy! I recommend wearing latex gloves as well to protect your hands from the spices that always seem to find a way into my eye! Rub a generous amount of the prepared dry rub into the surface of the roast. Take care to completely cover the meat with the dry rub. It shouldn’t be thick on the roast, just evenly coated all over. You are now ready to cook the roast.
With a pair of sharp scissors, screwdriver, or knife, poke 12 to 15 ¼-inch diameter holes in the bottom of the 2-inch pan. Place 2 cups or so of the wood chips in the bottom of the 4-inch pan. Place rubbed pork shoulder in 2-inch pan (the one with the holes) and set the 2-inch pan over the wood chips in the 4-inch pan. Cover VERY tightly with foil, making sure that you crimp the foil on the sides of the deeper pan. I cover the pan with a long piece of foil down the length of the pan, and then cover again with two shorter pieces across the width. You are trying to create an airtight seal. This is the key to this process. If you do not get an airtight seal, you risk either a kitchen full of smoke or setting the chips on fire and burning the roast so let me say again, the seal MUST BE AIR TIGHT! You get the picture.
Ok, now set the whole apparatus on your stove and turn your stove to its lowest setting. If you have a ventilation fan over your stove, you might turn it on. No matter how carefully you wrapped the pans in foil, some smoke is still likely to leak out. Because the wood chips cannot get air, they will only smolder, not burn. This creates some really nice smoke! Once your pan is on the stove, allow it to smoke on the stove for two hours. Remove the pan from the stove and let it cool for 10 minutes. Remove the foil. I usually do this outside to allow the smoke to escape. Put two or three cups of water into the pan (the water will drain through the whole into the bottom pan. Recover with foil and finish cooking in the oven for about 4 more hours at °325. It is not necessary to remove the wood chips from the bottom pan when you add the water. You will actually continue to get flavor from the wood, this time in the form of steam. To test for doneness, open a corner of the foil and press on the meat with a fork. If you can see that the meat can be pushed off the bone, it is done. If not, cook for another hour and continue testing until meat is fork tender.
Remove from oven and let cool for at least 45 minutes before you remove the foil. This will allow the naturals juices to be absorbed back into the meat. Remove from foil and pull the meat from the bone discarding any large fat deposits. You can either shred the meat with your hands or chop with a knife. At this point, I put the meat in a bowl or ovenproof pan. Mix one cup of the BBQ sauce with ¼ cup (more or less) of hot water. Pour sauce over meat and toss to coat evenly. Turn your oven off or very low, cover sauced meat with foil and set aside until you are ready to serve.
For the rolls, I used a product from our stores that I had not used before: Rhodes (in the freezer case). It is a thaw, rise, and freshly baked roll that quite honestly is one of the best dinner rolls I have eaten. They are easy to make and work extremely well for these sandwiches. I did the “quick” method printed on the package and had hot, fresh rolls in an hour. Cook two to three dozen rolls for your sandwiches, following package directions.
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons horseradish
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon each Kosher salt and black pepper
- One, 14 oz. package Dole Coleslaw mix
Place mayonnaise, horseradish, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl and whisk until completely smooth. Add coleslaw and toss until evenly coated with the dressing. Refrigerate.
Cut each roll in the center until it lays open or cut all of the way through if you prefer. Place a portion of the meat on the bottom half of the roll and top with a heaping tablespoon of coleslaw and serve. Delicious!