Pulled pork is delicious, plain with cole slaw and mashed potatoes or as burgers and sliders. You can send this gift of pulled pork sliders via McKenzieLtd.com.
Recipe: Barbecue Pork Butt
Pulled Pork Flavored With Smoked Ham Hock
This recipe uses a cut of the shoulder, known as pork butt (it sounds like it’s from the rear end, but it isn’t). Pork butt is a popular cut for barbecue and braising, but because it has large amounts of connective tissue, it requires long and slow cooking. That is, of course, if you choose to cook it in something other than a pressure cooker. With the pressure cooker, we waited less than 30 minutes for the pork to cook so we could enjoy pulled-pork sandwiches, our favorite use for pork butt.
We made our recipe in the Kuhn Rikon Ecomatic Pressure Cooker so it was ready in just 25 minutes.
Yields 4 servings.
- 3 to 4 pounds pork butt cut into 1- to 2-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 large or 2 small onions, medium dice
- 1 carrot, medium dice
- 6 to 8 cloves of garlic, medium dice
- 1 smoked ham hock
- 1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce, plus more to garnish
- 4 cups chicken stock, plus more if needed
- Hamburger buns, optional
NOTE: Chicken Stock Vs. Beef Stock
You can use beef stock if you have it. We prefer to use chicken stock in most dishes since it creates a lighter sauce, and its lighter flavor enables herbs and other seasonings to show through better. Beef stock is a classic in French onion soup and deeply-flavored meat sauces; it is much more flavor-intense than chicken stock.
- Season pork with salt and pepper and preheat the pressure cooker over a medium-high heat.
- When hot, add oil to the pot and brown pork on all sides making sure there is enough space between each cube. Cook in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pot.
- Remove pork when browned and set aside. Pour oil out of the pot and make sure no pork has burnt on the bottom of the pot. (If you see browned bits, that’s OK, but if there are burnt bits, clean out the pot and pour in 2 more tablespoons of oil.)
- Add onions, carrots and garlic to pot and season with salt and pepper. Sweat* until tender.
- Fold in ham hock, barbecue sauce and browned pork plus any juices that have dripped out of the meat.
- Add enough chicken stock to just barely cover the meat and stir to incorporate, being careful not to fill the pressure cooker past the 2/3 mark on the inside of the pot.
- Lock lid on the pressure cooker and raise heat to high. Wait until you can see the second red ring on the valve on the top of the pressure cooker before lowering heat to maintain pressure at that second ring. (If pressure exceeds the second red ring, de-pressurize the appliance by pushing down the valve until you can just see the red ring, and lower heat further.)
- Cook 35 to 45 minutes. If you open the lid and see that the meat is not tender and falling apart, re-seal the appliance, re-pressurize, and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
- Let pork rest in pot with juices until they are cool enough to handle; about 15 minutes. Remove pork and place in a bowl.
- Shred pork with a fork and add barbecue sauce to taste. Serve plain or on hamburger buns. Cole slaw is a popular pairing.
*Sweating vegetables means to cook them slowly to release their moisture. When enough heat is applied, the water in vegetables will start to bleed out and evaporate. What’s left is a more concentrated, complex flavor. Listen to the pan to learn whether you’re sweating the vegetables correctly. You want to hear just a soft sizzle. If the sizzle becomes a bit aggressive, that may mean that the heat is turned too high and you’re probably browning—or sautéing—the vegetables. Likewise, if you don’t hear anything, you need to increase the heat.