Some friends of ours recently made the purchase of their first home. Unfortunately it came with an electric range/oven. So Rebecca came up with the idea that since it won't be installed for two weeks that we make them some food as a house warming gift. They have a lot of work ahead of them, unpacking, putting together 2 trips worth of Ikea furniture, etc. And since they both have full-time gigs, they will be plenty busy. One of the many things we have decided to make was some pulled pork. Henning, the husband, is a German born, French (Alsatian) raised meat lover, so this was my gift for him in a way!
I started with a 7# shoulder piece and split it in half, kinda following the split that was started from removing the bone. I brined it overnight with salt, maple syrup, mixed peppercorns, yellow and black mustard seeds. The next day I made a dry rub of hot italian powdered peppers, sweet paprika, garlic powder, salt, fresh black pepper, ground clove, ground guajillo pepper and onion powder. After patting the shoulder dry I liberally rubbed the spices in and let it hang out for 30 minutes.
Since it is below freezing here in Chicago, and also because I can, I smoked this in my kitchen in my Cameron's Stove-top smoker. I used oak and cherry flakes for this shoulder. One has the option of putting a liquid in a tray in the bottom of this smoker to add moisture, and some flavor. But since I like a nice bark I left this tray dry. Since the Cameron's only has about 3" clearance, I ended up tenting the top of the smoker with foil instead of sliding the cover back on. Being that it is still a tight quarter, the meat doesn't get a super dry bark since it almost steams from the moisture coming out of the meat onto the hot tray, but that is added flavor. Also be sure to put the fatty side up whenever smoking. This allows it to baste itself as the fat slowly renders out, and down.
Since slow and low is the key to moist, falling apart butt, I started this over med-high heat to get the smoke going then dropped down medium-low once the smoke started. And after that I didn't touch it for 3 hours. You could hear the sizzle as the moisture started to hit the empty tray, but it soon disappeared as the tray filled up with the pork juices and they started to evaporate to fill the chamber with porkiness. It is a good sign when the pork almost falls apart as you remove it from the smoker. I let it rest for about 10 minutes before I started to pull it. It was still quite hot, even through 2 pairs of latex gloves, but it was so tender that it didn't take long to pull it all. I removed anything that wouldn't feel pleasant in the mouth like some of the inter-muscular tissues. I also removed any fat that I couldn't squeeze through my fingers.
In the end there was almost 3 quarts of pulled meat. Once a sauce is added it would easily be 3 quarts. Now I just need to decide on a sauce. Where is that Jamison book?