Pulled pork

Everybody loves it, and it’s easy to do for guests

Pulled pork has to be slow-cooked, but you can get it ready an hour before everyone shows up, and then just warm it up when it’s needed – and who doesn’t love pulled pork? Sweet, salty, sour – this has everything you want.

How to make pulled pork:

After lunch, set the oven to 275 F. Put a pound of pork shoulder (also called pork butt or boneless country style ribs) in a roasting pan, sprinkle a handful of dried thyme on top, and pour a half a cup of water into the pan. Cook undisturbed, covered with a cookie sheet, for three hours.

Remove from the oven, uncover, and let the meat cool until it’s easy to handle, about ten minutes. Lift the meat out into a bowl and shred it with two forks. Don’t over-shred – you don’t want a paste. Pour a cup of the liquid (fat and water) from the pan into the shredded meat (that’s probably all of it). Add a large pinch of salt, black pepper, half an onion (chopped) and two cloves of garlic (chopped), a generous dose of red pepper flakes, a teaspoon of anchovy paste, a little vinegar, a can of tomato sauce, a couple tablespoons of brown sugar, a teaspoon of mustard, some more thyme. Mix and serve. Good with hamburger buns, coleslaw.

Vegetarian or vegan

Pulled pork is not at all vegan or vegetarian, sorry. But really, you could do the same thing with seitan, and then it would be vegan. To make seitan, mix 3 cups of whole wheat flour with a cup and a half of water to make a dough. Knead it, cover, and set it aside overnight. In the morning, fill a large bowl with cold water and knead the dough in the water for about fifteen minutes until the water runs clear through it. That’s seitan. Cut it into matchsticks and use in place of the pork. Oh, and substitute capers for the anchovies.

Can I keep pulled pork for later?

Yes, you can keep it in the refrigerator, well sealed up in a tupperware, for a week, and it will be even better the next day, or the day after that, as the flavors mix. It won’t freeze well though.

Published by Karen Carr

Dr. Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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