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Sous Vide: Hot Smoked Pulled Pork

Sous vide creates pasteurized/preserved, tenderized, pre-smoked shoulder so that the creation of pulled pork only takes about 2 hours.

Ingredients

Hot smoked pork shoulder butt, as per the recipe linked HERE, anywhere from 2 lb/1.8 Kg to whole, 8 lb/3.8 Kg.
Butter, cold, as needed, approximately 1 oz/30 g per 2 lb/1 Kg of meat.

Slider buns, as needed

Coleslaw (serves 4)
Green cabbage, shredded, 1 lb/450 g.
Parsley, fresh or dried, 2 Tablespoons.
Mayonnaise, 0.5 cups/120 ml.
Brown sugar, 1 oz/30 g.
Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon
Garlic powder, 1 teaspoon.
Ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon.
White vinegar, 1 Tablespoon.
Frank’s RedHot Sauce, 1 teaspoon (or a dash of Tabasco).
Galette potatoes  (optional)

Scallions, cut in half lengthwise, 1 per serving, (optional).
Asparagus, cut into tips and thin slices, as needed (optional).

Macaroni and cheese
Macaroni and cheese is just that–macaroni and cheese, a little butter, a little cream….but I won’t try to fool you. The packaged version launched an entire generation of shelf top home cooking. Cut a few slices of scallions for garnish and put that little cast iron pan back in service!

Equipment requirements:
Immersion circulator, portable or stationary.
Heat rated container, approximately 5 gallons/19 liters.
Heat rated sous vide bags.
Channel or chamber vacuum device
Infrared thermometer.
Kitchenaid type mixer with paddle attachment.
Thick bottomed skillet, approximately 12″/300 mm.
Sheet pan.
Infrared or probe thermometer.

 

 

 

Serves 4-10+
Level of difficulty 2.75

Procedure:

Cut at least  2 lb/1 Kg of the chilled (40 F/4 C), smoked roast into large pieces–approximately 4 oz/120 g each. This is not essential, but it makes it easier to shred the meat at the end of the procedure.

Preheat the sous vide bath to
183 F/84 C.
Note: This unusually high sous vide temperature replicates the effect of traditional pulled pork processing methods–crock pot, skillet, or the smoker itself.

Stage the chilled, smoked pork chunks into heat rated vacuum bags.

Process in the 183 F/84 C bath for a minimum of two hours. Remove the pouches from the bath, cut a corner and drain out the juices. Set aside. Finish opening the bags and stage the pork into the Kitchenaid type mixer with paddle. Mix for a few seconds only, just long enough to pull apart the hot meat. That alternative is to use a fork or pulled pork comb–the meat will be fully cooked, so be careful not to over shred.

Adjust the seasonings to your liking–if you want a little extra kick, you can add a little bit of your favorite rub, Dark Side BBQ sauce, Frank’s RedHot sauce, or any of the other myriad variations on this glaze/coating/slather–Tabasco, etc. Add the juices harvested from the bag AFTER mixing so as not to over-dissolve the meat. My French training from many years ago inclines me to add a little butter as well, depending on the fat content of the juices. Set aside.

Assembly:

Combine the ingredients in the coleslaw list. Set aside.

Toss the scallions with salt and pepper, coat with a few drops of oil and set aside. Do the same with the asparagus. Heat the skillet to 350 F/176 C. Lay the scallions flat in the bottom of the pan and sizzle for thirty seconds. Turn the scallions, and remove from the pan. Add the asparagus, sizzle for thirty seconds, reduce the burner to medium. Stir and continue to saute for thirty seconds. Set aside. Butter the buns and toast in the pan until brown–just a few seconds. Use tongs to assemble the sandwiches and dig in!

Galette potatoes take a little bit of doing–and time. They are almost like potato chips, stuck together to form a circle that is then cut into wedges. Old fashioned potato chips are the more logical companion, but sometimes I just can’t help myself.

There are lots of logical companions for pulled pork–macaroni and cheese, baked or bbq beans, etc. I always add coleslaw to the list first–even before potatoes.  

Pulled pork is more than a sandwich.

It doubles as an entree–and what could be a better old fashioned accompaniment than mac and cheese?

Flavor and texture profiles like this are under rated and should be taken more seriously–it’s not only an ethnic thing. There’s really nothing like it!

Happy Pulling!

Norm King

 

About

Along with BBQ Brisket, hot smoked pulled pork is among the most significant American contributions to the culinary repertoire universe. Transforming this bargain cut into one of the most complex and versatile flavor/texture profiles should give stateside pitmasters a lot to be proud of. Like pasta for Italians, sausage for Germans, Foie Gras for the French and rice for Asians, pulled pork is uniquely representative of American culture.

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