Can you smell that? That is the wonderful fragrance of pulled pork sandwiches. Whenever summer comes around, people begin to get restless because of this food. They become this way because they know that barbecuing season is soon upon them. And nothing says barbecuing more than pulled pork sandwiches. From research done starting in 1970 to present day, pork has been advertised to the public more than even beef. Surprising? No because the interest level has risen with pulled pork sandwiches over the years. From major restaurant chains to home cooking, pulled pork has become a staple for most Americans across the country. Some of the top restaurants in the nation even create offers during its calendar year to get people excited about pulled pork sandwiches. In 2015, this amounted to 57 pulled pork special offers to its consumers. That is a lot of pulled pork!
These offers have come at a perfect time, as restaurants like McDonalds and Applebee’s have seen increased revenue specifically because of pulled pork sandwiches. People have chosen to eat more of these sandwiches because they have been created with all-natural ingredients and new flavors of BBQ coming out every day it seems. Pulled pork sandwiches may seem simple, but the process to cook and prepare is one that takes time, patience, and love. Read on to see what it takes to make your very own pulled pork sandwich.
Start with The Meat
If you are looking to get the right meat for the job, then look no further than a delicious pork shoulder. This is great cut of meat that cooks perfectly over a slow heat. Depending on how much you need, 5 pounds of pork shoulder makes about 15 pulled pork sandwiches, so plan accordingly. Also, do not worry about cooking too much because these sandwiches are great for leftovers. Remember that the more you have, the more you will be able to enjoy what you barbecued.
Curing the Meat
Curing the meat is a great way to start experimenting with ways to season your meat. Injecting seasonings into the meat is something you can do, but more often than not, curing is the best way to go. The night before your barbecue, add salt and sugar to the outside layer of the meat. The next day, if any liquid gathers in the pan overnight, toss it out and get ready to cook your meat.
Rubbing on Your Rub
Before you begin to cook the pork, it is time to spread the rub. Rubs are a great way to add smoky flavoring to your meat. A rub could include (but does not have to look exactly like this) sugar, paprika, onion powder, pepper, cloves, cinnamon, and salt. Dry mustard is also a fantastic addition to any pulled pork sandwich rub. Mix and match to see what works for your cooking style.
Meat Cooking Time
There are many ways to cook your pulled pork. You can use your oven, a grill, or a smoker. The temperature needs to be between 250 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Foil can be used to cover the meat, which helps in keeping all the juices roasting together. Over the next 4 to 5 hours, you will need to be patient, which is the challenge, and wait for it to cook. You will know that the meat is done when you can stick a fork in it without much opposition. At this point, up your temperature another 50 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit and cook the pork for another two hours.
The Finishing Touches
As your meat comes to a cooking close, there are just a few more things to do. First, mop up and brush the excess juice back onto the meat with a little barbecue sauce. Let the meat sit, and then it is time to pull the pork apart. Grab two forks and separate parts of the meat as big or as small as you want. Add a little more sauce of your choice to enhance the flavor, and then you can start making your sandwiches. Open up a roll, put some pulled pork inside, and even add toppings like coleslaw, jalapenos, or pickles if you want a little added goodness.
Of course, there is the traditional pulled pork sandwich that so many people love, but there are a lot of other recipes that you may want to check out for future barbecues. One BBQ recipe for pulled pork that you should take note of is the “Autumn Maple Braised Pulled Pork Sandwich.” It uses an Autumn Maple beer to mix in with the sauce, adding great flavor to the meat. Some people have even created a pulled pork sandwich mixed with a grilled cheese sandwich. Add any of your favorite beers to the meat, and it will cook off leaving a magnificent essence. If you are a fan of a chili rub, add that to your pulled pork and see how it turns out on your sandwich. Others like to mix pulled pork sandwiches with another combination of goodness. For example, some people like to add bacon to their sandwich, while some have even tried oysters with their pulled pork. There is even one with a pineapple on top or a pulled pork sandwich with gouda. As you can tell, there are a ton of options to choose from. Lastly, if you would like an Asian flare, think about mixing Chinese cuisine with your pulled pork sandwich. How is this possible? Mix some five-spice powder from China with a little soy sauce and honey, and you will be good to go.
Making a pulled pork sandwich does not take much time after it is all prepared, but the real challenge is cooking the meat to make it worthwhile. Enjoy the process and savor the flavor with every bite of your pulled pork sandwich. Get creative and do not doubt yourself. You will create a BBQ that is worthwhile for you and your friends.