Carolina Pulled-Pork Barbecue . . .

Serves 8


Anyone from North Carolina can tell you (often passionately), barbecue means a whole hog cooked low and slow over a banked pit. The meat is pulled or chopped into moist strands, dressed with some remaining “mop” (the vinegar-and-red-pepper basting sauce), and mixed with cracklings. For us the whole hog wasa impossible. We used pork shoulder: People from western North Carolina, in fact, prefer shoulder meat, but they sweeten the sauce with tomato or ketchup.

 

Ingredients:
    •    3 1/2 cups cider vinegar (20 fl oz)
    •    1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
    •    1 1/2 tablespoons hot red-pepper flakes
    •    1 (8-10-lb) bone-in pork shoulder roast (preferably butt end) with skin intact
    •    10 lb hardwood charcoal

    •    a disposable aluminum roasting pan (about 13 by 9 by 2 inches)
    •    hamburger buns and coleslaw

 

Method:
    •    Bring vinegar to a boil with sugar, red-pepper flakes, 2 tsp salt, and 1 Tbsp pepper in a small nonreactive saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then cool. Set aside 2 cups vinegar sauce to serve with sandwiches.
    •    While sauce cools, score pork skin in a crosshatch pattern with a sharp knife (forming 1-inch diamonds), cutting through skin and fat but not into meat. Pat meat dry and rub all over with 1 Tbsp each of salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before grilling.
    •    Prepare grill for indirect-heat cooking over low heat - coals to one side, meat to the other
    •    Oil grill rack, then put pork, skin side up, on rack above roasting pan. Grill pork basting meat with sauce and turning over every 30 minutes (to maintain a temperature of 200 to 225°F, adding a couple of handfuls of charcoal every 30 minutes), until fork-tender (a meat fork should insert easily) and an instant-read thermometer inserted 2 inches into center of meat (avoid bone) registers 190°F, - 7 to 8 hours total.
    •    Transfer pork to a cutting board. If skin is not crisp roast, fat side down, in a pan in a 350°F oven until crisp, 15 to 20 minutes.
    •    When meat is cool enough to handle, shred it using 2 forks. Transfer to a bowl.
    •    Serve pork, cracklings, and coleslaw together on buns. Serve reserved vinegar sauce on the side.