Recently my husband and I purchased half of a pig from a local organic farmer. This was the first time we have invested in half of an animal. I remember when I was a child our parents purchased half of a cow, and it seemed like we were eating ground beef forever! So, I wasn't sure how we would do in this endeavour, but we wanted to give it a try.
With our half of a pig came an assortment of cuts; chops, ground pork, tenderloin, bacon, peameal, sausage, roasts, hooves and shoulder. Surprisingly enough we have already gone through a good portion of the pork. I have thoroughly enjoyed having all of this pork in our freezer. It just takes planning to make sure we thaw something for dinner. The best part, for myself as a foodie, is having cuts of meat that I would not typically purchase on their own. This has given me reason to get creative and have some fun.
As with most people, our lives get busy as the weather gets nicer. This past weekend we actually had a weekend with little going on, so I thought I would pull out a pork shoulder for Sunday night dinner.
What better way to prepare a pork shoulder than to smoke it, pull it and put it in tacos!
*To do pulled pork well, you need to take at least two days to prepare it. Give yourself lots of time, it is well worth the wait.
1 pork shoulder, thawed if frozen
2 cups applewood chips
4 cups apple juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pickling salt
1/4 cup molasses
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon oregano
1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds
1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds
1/3 of the rub
1/3 cup beer
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon molasses
Maseca Instant Corn Masa Mix (follow instruction on the bag - just add water)
Start by combining the brine ingredients in a large bowl or container that will fit the pork shoulder. Once combined place the pork into the brine, submerge if possible (if you cannot submerge it, turn the meat over halfway through to allow both sides to sit in the brine). Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 12 hours. In a pinch you can use a syringe to inject brine into the shoulder, but I would recommend letting it sit for as long as possible it will make the meat more tender and flavourful.
Prepare the rub. In a skillet over medium high heat toast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds. This brings out the flavour and aroma. Once toasted dump into a mortar and grind with a pestle. Add the remaining rub ingredients and mix well. Set aside a bowl with 1/3 of the rub and save it for the sauce. The remaining 2/3 will be used to rub the pork shoulder.
Soak applewood chips.
After you have allowed the pork enough time in the brine remove it and pat it dry.
Apply the rub (bowl with 2/3) all over the shoulder. Once covered place in a large resealable bag and refrigerate for 10-12 hours.
Bring the meat to room temperature. While you are doing this get the bbq started! I followed the instructions on the below link to set up our charcoal bbq. I also scattered applewood chips on top of the charcoal.
Cook the pork until it is 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it is cooked allow the meat to settle and cool down before you pull it. I let it sit for about 30-45 minutes.
While you are waiting prepare the sauce. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour into a small sauce pan and cook over medium high heat until it begins to thicken. Set aside.
Then prepare your tortillas following the instructions on the bag.
Using a fork or your fingers to pull the pork apart into small bite size pieces. Toss with sauce.
Serve on corn tortillas with salsa and guacamole.