Although you can’t tell it right now in North Florida, according to the calendar summer is winding down and our temperatures, which are hot, hot, hot, should begin to cool off a little in a few more weeks. I know you think I’m crazy, especially since today it’s 95 degrees and, according to the weather service, it feels like 106 degrees. But, I’m a spring and summer gal! I love the spring and summer and everything they embody. I love spring and summer rains and our beautiful lush trees and gardens full of flowers. I love the beach and all types of water sports. I love sitting in the shade and watching the birds and butterflies flit about, and I love grilling in the evening, and the casualness of summer entertaining.
So, it should come as no surprise to you that today I am prolonging summer as long as I can and posting a recipe for delicious Pulled Pork with Balsamic Barbecue Sauce. But, there is a surprise; this pulled pork dish is cooked entirely in your oven. As any of you know that have ever cooked pulled pork on the grill, it is a long, laborious and hot job, taking hours and hours to slowly cook a Boston butt pork roast so that it is mouth-wateringly tender and juicy. Sure, I’ve used my slow cooker and it works well, but it isn’t the same, and you don’t get the crispy and tasty bits and pieces that you get cooking it on the grill.
My sister, who is the blogger behind The Pudge Factor, came up with this recipe and shared it with me, and I know you will love it as much as we did. No grill, no problem! Too hot to grill, no problem. Raining and you can’t grill, no problem. Don’t have a grill, no problem. The only things you have to have for this recipe are the ingredients, and time and patience, because it does take a long time. But, hey, you get to stay inside in the AC the whole time while your oven does the work, so what’s not to like about that?
So, if you want to be the envy of your neighborhood grill masters and have delicious pulled pork without all of the hassles, gather your ingredients which are: a Boston Butt or pork shoulder roast, brown sugar, ground cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, onion powder, Kosher salt, black pepper, and dried bay leaves. You will also need a 2-gallon Ziploc bag in which to brine the pork and a disposable aluminum pan to cook it in.
Ingredients for the Balsamic Barbecue Sauce are balsamic vinegar, chili sauce, light brown sugar, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, Kosher salt and black pepper.
Don’t let the list of ingredients dissuade you, you are really just mixing everything together and it all comes together very quickly. So let’s get started!
For the dry rub, mix together 1/2 cup brown sugar, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, onion powder, Kosher salt, and pepper. Store in an airtight container.
For the brine, mix together water, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup Kosher salt and 3 Tablespoons of the dry rub. Pour over the pork in a plastic container or 2-gallon Ziploc bag making sure the pork is completely covered. Add the bay leaves. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours, but up to 24-36 hours.
Remove the pork from the brine; rinse well. Pat dry with paper towels.
Preheat your oven to 225 degrees.
Place pork in a disposable aluminum pan. Sprinkle on dry rub and massage it into the pork, making sure that the pork is covered on all sides. Insert meat thermometer into the thickest part of the pork, ensuring that you don’t hit the bone.
Place in the oven and roast for 1-1/2 to 2 hours per pound of pork, or until the meat thermometer registers 200 degrees.
When pork is done, turn off the oven. Leave pork in the oven for at least 30 minutes but up to 2 hours. If it looks like your pork is drying out, cover it with aluminum foil.
Remove from oven. Pull pork apart with two forks and discard any fat or connective tissue.
Balsamic Barbecue Sauce
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and stir until all ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced by about 1/3, or 15-20 minutes. Yield 1-1/2 cups.
Notes: If you have any leftover pulled pork, try using it to make pulled pork tacos or I even saw a recipe for pulled pork nachos. Yum!
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