I initially scoffed (to myself, of course!) when I heard about making pulled pork with this method. BUT… in order to try the “Carolina Gold Barbeque Sauce” that I saw at Trader Joe’s, I needed a sauceless method to cook pulled pork. Root beer was perfect. 🙂 This might be the most simple dish I have ever made– or at least the simplest I would blog about! The pork was perfectly cooked and seasoned and the sauce was similar to Piggy Park in Columbia, South Carolina- my goal. I have been on a quest for a long time to make a homemade version of this sauce with little success. My husband LOVES it! My last attempt was South Carolina Mustard Pulled Pork. One of my friends was SHOCKED that I was using bottled sauce- but it was tasty! 🙂 We ate our sandwiches with coleslaw and baked beans.
- 2-3 pound boneless pork shoulder, pork butt, or boneless pork rib meat
- coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning
- 16 to 20 oz good quality root beer
- 8 to 10 oz Trader Joe’s Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce, or barbecue sauce of choice
- Generously season the meat with salt and pepper. Place in slow cooker. Add root beer.
- Cover, and cook until the meat is very tender and falling apart, about 8 hours on low (or on high for about 6 hours).
- Remove meat from cooking liquid and shred meat using two forks.
- Place in a bowl and mix with barbecue sauce of choice. Keep warm.
- Serve on brioche or other sandwich rolls.
For a long time, I have been on a quest to duplicate the mustard-based pulled pork from the Piggy Park in Columbia, South Carolina. My husband has the FONDEST food memory of their pulled pork sandwich from his college days! This recipe, adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Sean Brock, was my most recent attempt.
I had really high hopes based on the title of the barbecue sauce– SOUTH Carolina sauce- which is mustard-based, not ketchup-based like North Carolina sauce (and most other barbecue sauces), and it is listed as a “staff-favorite” recipe. It was super-tasty with nice mustard flavor, but, different than the Piggy Park….
I slow-cooked the pork in a convection oven but I think that it would have had more pan juices for the sauce if I had used the slow-cooker- I had to add additional stock to my pan juices and drippings. The original recipe also required the pork to be smoked on a grill for 1 hour after it is slow-cooked in the oven. Even though this undoubtedly adds another layer of flavor, I skipped this step because we are not huge fans of smoky flavor. We ate it on brioche rolls with potato chips and coleslaw on the side. A perfect (almost perfect) Father’s Day celebratory meal. 🙂 Happy Father’s Day!
Serves 6 to 8
- 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoons freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
- One 5- to 6-pound boneless pork shoulder
- chicken stock, as needed
- South Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce, recipe follows
- Preheat the oven to 275°. In a medium bowl, whisk the mustard with the brown sugar, salt, pepper, paprika and onion powder. Set the pork shoulder, fat side up, in a roasting pan. (Alternatively, a slow-cooker could be used set on low.) Brush the pork with the mustard mixture. Roast, uncovered, for 6 to 7 hours (on convection), or 8 hours, covered, in a slow-cooker, until the meat is very tender.
- Tilt the pan and pour the roasting juices into a medium bowl; you should have about 3/4 cup. (I used stock to compensate for less pan juices.) Refrigerate the juices for 30 minutes. Skim off the fat before using.
- Transfer the pork to a work surface and let rest for 30 minutes. Discard the gristle and fat. Using tongs and a fork, or your fingers, finely shred the meat and transfer it to a large bowl. Toss the shredded meat with 1/8 to 1/4 cup of the reserved roasting juices and barbecue sauce to taste.
MAKE AHEAD The smoked pork shoulder can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight. Break the pork into 4-inch pieces and bring to room temperature. Arrange the pork in a roasting pan, drizzle with 1/2 cup of water, cover with foil and rewarm in a 425° oven before shredding.
South Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce
- 1/2 cup reserved roasting juices (with additional chicken stock, as needed, for consistency)
- 1/2 cup white wine vinegar (I substituted red wine vinegar)
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
- sriracha, or other hot sauce, to taste
- 1/2 cup yellow mustard
- In a medium bowl, (or in the roasting pan) combine roasting juices with wine vinegar and cider vinegar. Add dark brown sugar and sweet smoked paprika, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
- Stir in yellow mustard. Simmer over moderate heat for 30 minutes, until thickened slightly. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce.