Stewed & Smoked Pulled Pork Shoulder
This is a great recipe as a centrepiece for taco-night, and great cooking on a weekend or up at the cabin with family or friends. It takes roughly 24 hours to prepare, but only minutes of actual effort.
For this particular recipe we’ll be using our Holy Habanero grilling sauce, but I’ve followed this exact process with everything from Maple...icious to Cherry Bomb with similarly incredible results. The original Mexican method I was taught some twenty years ago used what we call Sucker Punch.
The first step is preparation of all materials other than the pork shoulder. The broth required will need a couple of hours simmering before the pork should be added. Feel free to get creative, but the ingredients we’ve used are fairly simple:
10 cups of water
2 whole onions (halved)
4 whole tomatoes (cored)
350ml Holy Habanero
¼ cup of raw cane sugar
Bring this mix to a full boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer until the tomatoes have lost their structure and the onions have separated on their own. While that’s happening you can get to work on prepping the pork shoulder.
Pork shoulder is a wonderful cut of meat. Cheap as Hell and far too delicious for its price point, but it does require a little extra effort. The best pork shoulder will come with the skin still attached, about ¾ inch thick this is a large strip of off-white fat running the length of one side of the shoulder.
In my opinion the skin is not edible, but I do know those who swear by a broiled pork skin. In this method it’s used to add flavor to the broth, but also to create a solid layer of waxy fat across the top of the broth upon cooling thereby protecting the broth from external bacteria and etc.
With that in mind you’re not looking to remove the fat or skin from the pork shoulder, but you will want to check for grizzle, cartilage and otherwise. These are most commonly thin white strips resembling fat but with a harder consistency and are generally found near the bones. Cut these away using a small pair of sharp scissors.
Cut the shoulder into roughly 4-5 chunks (including a chunk surrounding the bone), each roughly 3inX3in, 4inX4in, etc. Place all chunks together into the broth and keep on low boil for 1 hour. By this time the fat should have begun to render so you can decrease the heat to medium simmer. In Mexico they would simmer and soak this stuff until the meant almost disintegrated in your hand, but to each their own. My preference is a pork should that easily falls apart with the poke of a fork, but retains solid strands within. For this I simmer and soak for roughly 3 hours.
For the best results remove full pot away from the heat and allow to cool until you see a waxy build up on the surface. Once this surface has formed it will act like a cork in a wine bottle preventing air from penetrating the fluid and keeping your pork shoulder safe from infection. If the waxy seal is adequate I’ll leave mine out overnight, but note that this is entirely dependent on the amount of fat that was on your meat. If there are any gaps in the seal the pork is not safe unrefrigerated overnight.
When you’re ready use a thin sharp knife to break up the waxy seal and remove using a flat spatula. Once the majority has been removed, very delicately remove your pork shoulder chunks from the liquid and place them in a refrigerable container. Scoop any whole debris (tomato, onion, etc) from the sauce, add to 1 cup of water and ¼ cup of corn starch to a blender and blend.
Add this mixture back into the broth and return to a high boil uncovered until it has reached your desired consistency.
Coat your pork shoulder chunks in the now reduced broth. Its best if the broth is cool at this point but not mandatory. Ideally put these in your available cooking option as described above at 350 degrees for 30 minutes in an oven, or 200 degrees for 1 hour if using smoke. Rotate the meat and reapply the reduced broth often. When completed I prefer to serve these whole if only for the shock value of their presentation. They are easily broken apart with nothing more than a fork and will be juicy as Hell. Enjoy!