Skip to content

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

September 9, 2010

Earlier in the summer, SoupAddict had time off from her day job and decided to flip on the ole TV one lazy morning. Martha was on, so SoupAddict plopped herself cross-legged on the floor, like a 6-year-old preparing for Dora, and settled in to watch Martha give the what-for to her hapless guests.
Much to SoupAddict’s happy surprise, however, Martha’s guests included real chefs instead of Hollywood celebrities bumbling their way through a soufflé while awkwardly promoting their latest piece of fluff under Martha’s withering gaze. (Although SoupAddict does admit guiltily to enjoying those withering gaze, what-for segments.)

That day, brothers Bruce and Eric Bromberg, of Blue Ribbon restaurant fame, were on hand to promote their new cookbook by demo’ing their Pulled Pork Sandwiches. SoupAddict was all ears, because it was just one of those times when the right recipe landed at the very moment a craving for same was brewing. And thusly, the weekend menu was planned.
This is definitely a “day off” dish, as the pork must roast for hours. Agonizing hours in which your home will be scented with mirepoix*, garlic, cumin, and, gradually, perfectly cooking pork, and there will be nothing you can do about it other than wait.
*Mirepoix (meer-pwah or meer-eh-pwa) is the combination of the aromatic vegetables onions, celery and carrots, and is used as the flavor base for soups, stews and sauces.

The pork shoulder/pork butt is coated completely in a mirepoix-garlic-cumin mixture, marinated overnight and then roasted slowly. The tasty seasoning seeps into the meat as it cooks and imparts a dreamy, savory flavor to the pork.
(No, this dish is not really orange. See, what happened was, SoupAddict was adding vegetables to the food processor for the mirepoix and, not paying attention, kept adding carrots (plural) when only one carrot (singular) was required. This is what happens when you are always planning the next menu in your head and not focusing on what’s before you. SoupAddict knows you’ll do better.)

SoupAddict veers a tad from the Bromberg’s BBQ recipe this time around. Not that the recipe was bad (because it certainly wasn’t), but simply because she’s just not a fan of corn-syrupy cola in sauces. SoupAddict did not really measure out stuff for the BBQ sauce, but just sort of added these ingredients until things seemed right.

This is about 1-1/2 hours in to a 3-1/2 hour roasting. The general rule is 1 hour of cooking for each pound of roast, but SoupAddict wanted to make sure that this 2-1/2 lb. butt was falling-off-the-bone, fork-tender…

… like this. The pork butt practically collapsed on itself in the pan, so tender it was. (Is SoupAddict the only one who thinks it’s weird to have butt for dinner? [Insert Bart Simpson joke of your choice here.])

Mmmm. Drizzle your favorite BBQ sauce over the shredded pork and pop it back into a really hot oven to get all the juices mixing and bubbling.

Mmmmmmmm. Break out the cole slaw.

Although not a quick dish, actual hands-on time is only about 20 minutes. But it will taste like you slaved over it for hours. It’ll be our little secret.
Pulled Pork Sandwiches
16 cloves garlic, peeled
2 small yellow onions, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 large rib celery, chopped
3 tablespoons ground cumin
1/4 cup coarse salt
1 (5-pound) pork butt**
4 cups barbeque sauce (Brombergs’, or use your own)
8 Your favorite rolls, sliced in half

Place garlic, onions, carrot, celery, cumin, and salt in the bowl of a food processor; process until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add 1/2 cup water; process until well combined. Place pork in a large, deep roasting pan. Rub pork generously with vegetable puree; cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add enough water to the roasting pan so that it comes halfway up the sides of the pork. Cover pan tightly with parchment paper-lined aluminum foil and transfer to oven. Bake until pork is very tender and falling apart, about 5 hours, checking pan occasionally to make sure water has not evaporated and adding more water as necessary.

Remove pork from oven. Let stand until cool enough to handle. (At this point, pork may be kept refrigerated and covered for up to 5 days.)

Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.

Shred pork with two forks or pull apart using your fingers; discard any excess fat. In a large baking dish, combine shredded pork with 3 cups barbecue sauce. Transfer to oven and cook until mixture is heated through and bubbly, 5 to 10 minutes.

Divide evenly among rolls.

** 5 pounds of pork butt is a powerful lot of meat. This is party-sized, for sure. SoupAddict used a 2-1/2 lb. butt, which was more than plenty for 4 hungry adults, with lots of leftovers.

  1. Nick permalink
    September 9, 2010 3:22 pm

    Martha turns my stomach, but this recipe sounds like a great meal for football Sundays. Checked out the reviews of the cookbook on Amazon, and ordered it.


  2. Phyllis Ryan permalink
    September 10, 2010 11:05 am

    Too hot to keep the oven on for that long a time, but will hold this til real fall sets in. It is tough to turn on the oven when it is 90 degrees outside. Wonder if this could be done in a crockpot. Any suggestions. Then heating up the oven for less than 1/2 hour would not be too bad.

  3. SoupAddict permalink
    September 10, 2010 11:58 am

    Nick: This would be the perfect Sunday game day meal! I have a lot of respect for Martha’s life accomplishments, but, like most larger-than-life brands, it’s (that is, Martha the brand’s) quality has slipped. I won’t touch the in-house recipes on her website, and, on the show, she’s not exactly the most natural presence in front of the TV camera. Sometimes it’s like watching a slow-mo train wreck: the trail of destruction is at once cringe-worthy and absolutely fascinating – you just can’t look away.

    Phyllis: You poor thing. I’m so done with the heat. It’s barely been tip-toeing up into the 80’s here for the last week plus. Right now, I think it’s a balmy 75. Mentally, I’ve definitely switched into fall mode, although my tomatoes are still producing like gangbusters. The recipe could definitely be done in the crockpot, but it might have to roast overnight. A 5 lb slab of meat probably needs a good 12-15 hours. The recipe itself wouldn’t need any tweaking, but you’ll want to make sure there’s water in the pot at all times.

  4. Nick permalink
    September 11, 2010 4:04 pm

    OK, I’m making this tomorrow, and my butt’s in the fridge, marinating. Couple of thoughts so far:

    1) The mirepoix came out a bit too watery to really stick to the pork butt. I’m wondering if just leaving out the water might help?

    2) I’ve mixed up the BBQ sauce, but haven’t cooked it yet. At this point, I’m wishing I’d followed your subtle hint about using a different sauce (especially at $7 for a cup of pure maple syrup). I generally like sweet BBQ sauces, like Sweet Baby Ray’s or Blues Hog, but the Brombergs’ sauces is just kinda meh.

    I’ll check back in after I’ve done the cooking/shredding/eating part…

  5. SoupAddict permalink
    September 11, 2010 10:53 pm

    Nick, how fun! The good news about the BBQ sauce is that, once it’s cooked, it’s actually much better on the pork than it is by itself. But, I’m with you on the sweet thing. I like the sweet sauces, and my test of a good sauce is when it tastes great on a french fry (this version, not so much). Hope it all turns out great!

  6. Nick permalink
    September 12, 2010 1:00 am

    OK, now ya caught me drinkin’ and I wanna talk French Fries. (urp) I have stumbled across the motherlode of French Fry goodness.

    I have tried, and I have tried and tried again to make the perfect French Fry at home. (Yes, I capitalize both Effs, like some people capitalize the G in God.) I’ve tried double-frying them, I’ve tried soaking them in ice water or milk, I’ve tried a huge turkey fryer outdoors heated up to a thousand degrees (when I did that, my girlfriend told me that I would probably burn my face off and she would no longer be able to date me), whatever.

    But now I know the secret. I will post links, if requested. Suffice it to say, the French Fry must not go quietly into the night, and it should be proud to be served with Pulled Pork Sandwiches.

  7. Nick permalink
    September 13, 2010 1:30 pm

    You’re right, SoupAddict. The sauce gets much better when cooked and added to the pork. I also added about a tablespoon of Penzey’s Ancho Chili powder, which gave it a little more oomph.

    All told, this recipe is a definite keeper!

  8. September 27, 2010 2:28 pm

    Pulled pork is an absolute favorite of mine! Sounds easy and delicious!

  9. November 7, 2010 3:59 pm

    SA, your post prompted me to make my own pulled pork – using ingredients I had on hand. Left overs in the fridge keep calling me! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • SoupAddict permalink
      November 7, 2010 5:06 pm

      You’re welcome! I love when I get to use things I already have – it makes me feel thrifty and accomplished.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: