It's no real secret that I prefer baking to cooking. I always have & probably always will. If you take one look at our archive, you'll see the sweets outnumber the dinner items by... a lot. There is a satisfaction and sense of accomplishment I feel when baking my own bread, perfecting a pie crust, or serving rolls from scratch with dinner that I've never felt when cooking. I enjoy it, and do it often for myself and others, but the joy I feel when deciding what to make for dinner doesn't hold a candle to the joy I feel when flour & sugar cover my apron.
Perhaps it's the routine of it, or the process that I enjoy less. I'm truly type A (read: a control freak) so the science and precision behind baking is something I appreciate. The 'just wing it' mentality of everyday cooking? Not so much. I am particularly uncomfortable with the protein portion of my meals. I have my go-to's: I make a solid pork tenderloin, I can grill chicken to juicy perfection on my stove, and I've just recently stepped into the fish game. (Although I won't touch salmon, I ruin it every time. Salmon recipes anyone?) This is all embarrassing to admit because, of course, I would like to be perfect and well versed at every single thing in the kitchen. (I'm still getting my head around this whole showing weakness thing.)
I am happy to report that barbecue might have changed my mind in regards to my affinity for meat cooking. (And maybe even my belief in my ability!) Honestly, I shouldn't be surprised. Barbecue is a powerful and almighty thing. Praised across all regions and truly held in high regard in my heart and the hearts of many. I took a class in college on food and tradition in the South and we spent an entire section, almost three weeks, talking exclusively and at length about barbecue. The sauce itself may be the only picnic-style condiment I enjoy. Ketchup is too sweet, mustard too tart, and mayo is quite literally my worst enemy.
This barbecue in particular is just my style. A sweet chipotle Texas style sauce and a bold dry rub full of spice and slow cooked. Texas has only just begun to embrace the pulled pork as an addition to barbecue menus. When you walked into a barbecue joint the menu was nearly exclusively beef, so I grew up eating barbecue beef sandwiches and having barbecue sauce on my burgers. When I lived in Kentucky I learned about slow roasting pork and pulling it apart (instead of chopping it like with beef barbecue) and I fell in love. So I decided I would marry the two styles of barbecue with this recipe — pork from Kentucky and sweet chipotle from Texas. After scouring barbecue forums, different Texas blogs, and rereading my Southern's Cookbook section on meats I would say I may have overcome my fear of bringing something other than the bread or dessert to a get together. I knew I could count on my two favorite states to come through in my time of need.
* Download a printable PDF version of the recipe here!
- Combine all the rub ingredients together until well blended with no lumps. (For this pulled pork recipe, you might not need all of the rub but you can save it and use it to sprinkle on burgers or on grilled chicken.)
- Coat the pork shoulder on all sides with the coffee-chipotle rub. Wrap pork in plastic, place on sheet or large plate and refrigerate for 8 hours.
- Take the pork out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature, about half an hour. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
- Place pork in a lightly oiled (either a few squirts of spray oil or about 1 teaspoon of canola oil) roasting pan or dutch oven with about 1/2 to 1 cup of water (the water should coat the bottom of the pan but shouldn't drown the pork) and cook uncovered, fat side up, for about 8 hours. Use a baster once an hour to coat the pork with the juice from the pan — this is optional, but I highly suggest so the pork remains juicy.
- Remove meat from oven and let sit for an hour. Pull meat into strands and toss with as much or as little sauce as you prefer. (I like to do it with 1 cup and then serve the extra on the side.) We served ours with April's honey wheat bread and made pulled pork sandwiches!
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer slowly, let cool in saucepan and transfer to mason or other glass jar with tight fitting lid.
Combine all the rub ingredients together until well blended with no lumps.