Cooking the pork slowly till you can easily pull the meat apart and then serving it in a homemade BBQ sauce makes up this traditional North Carolina dish. Americans would eat this in bread rolls but you can eat it anyway you like. Ideally make the barbecue sauce a day or two ahead and bring to room temperature before you use it.
1 pork shoulder roast (about 3 - 4kg)
For the sauce
1 cup (250 ml) white vinegar
1 cup (250 ml) cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce (or to taste)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the pork rub
1 tablespoon mild paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons hot paprika
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1kg hickory wood chips
bread rolls, coleslaw and pickles to serve
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Make the sauce: Whisk together the white vinegar, cider vinegar, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, Tabasco sauce, salt and black pepper. Continue whisking until the brown sugar and salt have dissolved. Can be used immediately, but is best if you transfer it to a bottle or jar with tight fitting lid and refrigerate 2 days (shaking occasionally) before use.
In a small bowl, mix mild paprika, light brown sugar, hot paprika, garlic powder, mustard powder, ground black pepper, onion powder and sea salt. Rub spice mixture into the joint on all sides. Wrap plastic wrap (if cooking on the barbecue) or aluminium foil (if cooking in the oven), and refrigerate 8 hours, or overnight.
Get the BBQ coals burned down, or preheat the oven to 180°C.
Barbecue method: Sprinkle a handful of smoking woodchips on coals. Remove the plastic wrap and place the roast on grate over a drip pan. Close cover. Check hourly, adding fresh coals and chips as necessary to maintain heat and smoke. Cook about 6-8 hours till done.
Oven method: Place foil-wrapped joint in a tin and into the oven. Bake until internal temperature reaches 90°C, about 4-6 hours.
Remove the roast from the barbecue or oven and let it rest for 30 minutes. Using forks, shred the pork, removing any fat as you go. Chop any larger pieces until a fine 'pulled' pork consistency is attained. Return the pork to the roasting pan. Stir in about half the barbecue sauce, more or less to taste. Serve on potato rolls, topped with coleslaw and with more of the bbq sauce on the side.
Do *not* use lean cuts/roasts of pork in this recipe. This recipe was developed during the colonial days, using what was considered the worst throw-away portions of the pig. Long, slow cooking is necessary and once properly "pulled" (shredded), very little fat will remain.