Pulled Pork

In general I’m from the school that says dinner should take maybe half an hour to prepare. If that offends you terribly, you are not going to be happy eating in my house. But we can go out for Chinese sometime. I’m not insulted, really. In any event, I look for ways to do quickly and painlessly things that would otherwise be waaaay beyond my span of attention. (Which is to say I set off the smoke alarm a lot.)

If you’re still with me, this is something nice I discovered today and would like to share. Pulled pork, heaven bless it, takes hours of slow roasting or smoking. Having just written the previous sentence I googled pulled pork recipes and discovered that people are way ahead of me here, using crockpots and such.  But to continue my story…. rather than run the oven on a warm day, I decided I would try essentially steaming the heck out of the pork. Dubious idea, since I wasn’t sure this wouldn’t have some unintended dreadful consequences for the flavor. However, it didn’t.

Once in a while I’ll buy a whole pork loin around 15 pounds or so and cut it into 3 pieces: one for now, and 2 to freeze for later. Which means I have a frozen 5 pound hunk of potential pulled pork in the freezer most of the time. Problem is it’s a frozen 5 pound block. So I got out my trusty steamer thing:

And put in some water and the frozen block suspended on an insert.  That was early afternoon, let’s say maybe 2 pm.  Around 7 pm when hubby announced he really would like some food, I decided the pork was done and in a very few minutes, so was dinner.  I took the pork out of the steamer and it was starting to fall apart as I removed it, so the timing was just fine to turn a solid block into pullable meat. Took two forks and easily pulled the meat apart.  Made us two sandwiches with some lovely bread, super barbeque sauce, and cold 4 bean salad.  Not bad if I do say so myself.  Here’s what was left of the plate of pulled pork when I was done making the sandwiches:

Not knowing how this was going to turn out, I didn’t take pictures along the way, although in retrospect it would have been amusing to show you the original frozen object and then the later pile of pulled pork before I dug into it to make sandwiches, but who knew?

So here’s the inside of the steamer at the end of this exercise.

Yes, a bit of the fat came off, which is ok.  The meat stayed moist and there was enough fat left to keep it juicy and tasty.  The cleanup was very easy, which was good, considering that if I had roasted the meat, the pan would have had hard baked junk to clean.  My conclusion is I will try this again.  You might want to give it a shot.  Simple, easy, yummy.  Only advice is to not let the water completely evaporate.  Although, since it was on a gas stove over a low heat, the worst thing that might have happened is that the junk would have hardened on the steamer and it would have turned into a roaster or a smoker and that would set off the aforementioned smoke alarm.  But I did remember, from time to time, to add a bit of water, so all’s well.

In theory one wants a rub on pulled pork, but I wasn’t convinced moist cooking and rubs go together.  Next time I’m going to try that.  Maybe something with a little smoked paprika in it.

As to barbeque sauce, best to keep around both the vinegar type and the sweet type, but that’s a topic for another day.  My humble opinion is that Nashville is the world barbeque capital, and I measure everything against Jack’s Bar-B-Que.   But since they smoke their meat for 18 hours and pay much more attention to it than I ever could, I’m happy with my shortcut.  You could do much worse than to order barbeque sauce from Jack’s, by the way.  (Now that I think about it, you can’t do any better.) Cheers.

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