by Henry Gould – July 1st, 2020
Happy Canada Day from Yard Athletics! The first six months of 2020 have been somewhat chaotic (opening a new gym in the middle of a pandemic = stress) so we think it’s time we all sat back on the patio, poured a celebratory drink and said happy birthday to our great country.
Making a huge batch of pulled pork seems to be appropriate for such an occasion, so below is a great recipe you can do a few different ways. Authentic pulled pork demands quite a bit of time in a smoker, but there’s a few ways to get around that.
If you’re lucky enough to have a smoker or know someone that does, nows the time to break it out. If you have a BBQ and you can control the temperature fairly well, best bet is to throw some wood chips in a tin foil package, cut a few holes in the top, and leave to smolder throughout the cooking process.
Otherwise, you can do it in the oven with the below dry rub which contains smoked paprika. It’s not a perfect substitute for long smoking, but it’s the next best thing.
Canada Day Pulled Pork w/ Mustard Pickle Slaw
- 3-4 kg piece of pork shoulder
- 1/3 sea salt
- 1/3 fresh cracked black pepper
- 1/3 brown sugar
- 2 tbsp Spanish smoked paprika
- 1/2 white cabbage
- Yellow mustard
- Hot Sauce
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Dill Pickles
- Buns for serving (optional)
The day before you plan to cook the pork, it’s best to rub the shoulder and leave overnight to dry cure.
Mix together the salt, pepper, brown sugar and paprika and combine. Sprinkle generously over the entire pork shoulder, and rub in with your hands. Try not to contaminate the rub with porky hands as it can be used for future cooking projects. Put the shoulder in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave overnight or until ready to cook.
Oven Method: preheat oven to 300F. Place pork shoulder on a roasting pan, ideally raised off the bottom on a rack. Put in the oven and cook uncovered for 5 hours.
BBQ Method: preheat your BBQ to 300F, leaving one part of the grill with no direct heat. This is where you will place the pork, as you don’t want direct heat underneath, otherwise it will burn.
Try to get a hold of some wood chips for cooking (ex. Hickory, Apple Wood, Mesquite). Soak them for 20 minutes in water, then wrap in aluminum foil. Poke a few small holes in the top of the package, then put on the grill on the heated side.
Put your piece of pork on the indirect heat side then close the lid. Ideally you want the heat to hover around 300F, so adjust your knobs to find a sweet spot. If there’s no setting that allows the heat to get that low, you can use something small like a stick or piece of wood to keep the lid propped up a little bit, which will drop the heat. Cook for 5 hours, changing the wood chips if they stop smoking.
Smoker Method: If you have a smoker, chances are you know how to use it! If that’s the case, you will cook the pork shoulder the same way, 5 hours @ 300F, adding more wood to your smoker as needed.
Once your pork is cooked, take out of the oven / BBQ / smoker and allow to cool covered in foil for 30-60 minutes. This allows it to rest and will make shredding easier. Once cooled, add the cooked pork to a bowl, remove any string that might have been holding it together, and shred using two forks. Make sure to evenly mix the nice browned outer chunks with the softer interior meat.
To make the Mustard Pickle Slaw, cut your cabbage very thinly with a knife or mandolin slicer. Now, in terms of dressing the slaw, my advice is to add all the dressing ingredients to the raw cabbage, rather than making a dressing ahead of time. Adding each element separately allows you to easier gauge how much you need, adjusting as you go. Trust, trust, trust.
Squeeze over a little mustard, sprinkle with salt and pepper, shake over some Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, vinegar, and drizzle with honey. Add a dollop of mayonnaise, as well as some chopped up dill pickles. Mix the slaw all together until completely dressed and combined. Taste, and adjust with more of the ingredients until it suits your taste. Since the slaw is also acting as a sort of sauce (unless you want to add separate barbecue sauce) you can afford to be generous with the mustard, mayo, vinegar and hot sauce.
Serve the pulled pork on buns along with the slaw, and sing O’ Canada.