BBQ Series Pt3 – Pulled Pork and Kansas-City Style BBQ Sauce

In this third part of my US-style barbecue, after focussing on side dishes in the first two articles, we finally get to cook the centre of our feast: smoky, tender pulled pork with a Kansas-city style barbecue sauce. Let’s get started.



Ingredients (8-10 servings)
1 whole pork shoulder (about 3kg)
2 tablespoons black pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
The grated zest of one lime

US-style barbecue is all about the low, slow cooking, so we need a cut of meat that can handle the extended time in the oven. Pork shoulder is ideal for this preparation. Start by trimming any large pieces of fat from the outside of the meat, but don’t overdo it. The remaining fat will help keep the meat from drying out while it cooks. If necessary, cut through the meat so it is an even 4-5cm thickness throughout. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl and then rub them all over the meat with your hands; this is what is called the dry rub. Good, even coverage is important here. Place the meat on a rack in your roasting tray and cover it very tightly with two layers of aluminium foil, so the steam is trapped inside while the meat cooks. Place this in an oven, preheated to 160˚C and leave it cook for 3 hours. At that point, remove the foil, carefully collect the juices into a bowl, and return the meat to the oven and cook uncovered for another 90 minutes. This drier stage helps create a crunchy crust on the outside, which contrasts very well with the tender interior. Take the meat out of the tray and let it rest, loosely covered with foil, for about 25 minutes. This is a good time to finish making the sauce.


Ingredients (about 1lt)
2 medium onions, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons cayenne
1.5 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
½ cup ketchup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4-5 ripe tomatoes, chopped
½ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
Juice from one lime

In a large saucepan, melt half the butter and add the onions, sugar, and salt. Cook these over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes so they are very soft, but not browned. Add all the spices and the chipotle peppers (if you cannot find these, add a couple of splashed of hot sauce, instead) and cook for a couple of minutes until the aromas are released. Add the ketchup and let this cook down slowly into a sticky syrupy consistency. Turn the heat up to high and add the oil, followed by the tomatoes. Being careful that you do not burn the sauce, cook the tomatoes down until reduced to a sticky sauce again. Turn the heat down to medium and add the vinegar, letting this cook down again and the harshness of the vinegar is gone (about 15-20 minutes). Transfer the sauce into a blender and purée until completely smooth. Add the remaining butter and honey and about half a cup of water to get the consistency right (the sauce should be thick, not runny, but pourable; about the same consistency as ketchup). Adjust the seasoning with some salt, if necessary, and as much lime juice as you need to balance the sweetness, spice and acidity (I typically use about half a lime, but use your taste). The sauce is now ready to use and you can return your attention to the pork.

Using two forks, shred (or pull, as the name suggests) the meat and arrange in a serving bowl and mix in some of the cooking juices. Serve the pork with dollops of the barbecue sauce, with the side dishes from the previous articles, some toasted buns, and a few cold beers.

Note: This article and photo appeared on the Universiteitskrant, on May 29th, 2013.