Oven Smoked Pork…

For those who have followed often, you know I love barbecue.  Slow roasting over wood creates a flavor and aroma no other coking style can.  But when I saw an oven-smoked pork in the Cooks’s Illustrated issue this month, I scoffed at it.  How can you properly create a smoky flavor in the oven? But my better half said “don’t knock it till you try it” and decided to try it out.

The method of how they imparted the smoke flavor is logical.  Brining: the method of soaking meat to make it moist and impart flavor.  I absolutely love brining; it turns “eh” to “wow” in some meats. Liquid smoke, and lots of it, is added to the brine.

In the smoky abyss lies a fatty, soon to be tender pork shoulder.

Add a smoky rub before cooking and a tangy sauce after cooking then you got a pretty damn good version of barbecued pork.  Of all the indoor versions I’ve tried over the years, this is by far the smokiest.

Instead of shredding like I normally do, I just cut it up quickly.  I had a game of Guesstures to get back to after all.

I slightly modified the ingredients based on what I prefer.

Oven Smoked Pork with Tangy Sauce

1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup  sugar
3 T liquid smoke
1 pork shoulder cut (about 5.5 lbs)

1/4 cup yellow mustard
2 t liquid smoke
2 T ground black pepper
2 T sweet paprika
1 t cayenne pepper
2 T sugar
2 t kosher salt

1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup BBQ sauce (I used homemade, but you can use store-bought)
1/4 cup molasses
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T Tabasco (red)
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t black pepper

Dissolve salt, sugar, and smoke in 4 quarts cold water and submerge pork in the brine.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  While it brines, combine mustard and 2 t liquid smoke in a bowl and set aside.  Combine pepper, salt, sugar, cayenne and paprika in another bowl and set aside.

Set oven to 325 F and adjust rack to middle position.  Remove pork and pat dry.  Rub mustard mix all over the pork and into every crevice.  Rub with dry rub right after.  Be sure to cover all of it.  Place on a wire rack set in a foil-lined baking sheet (makes cleanup easier).  Place piece of parchment over the pork and tuck under the wire rack.  Repeat with foil.  This will prevent moisture loss.  Roast for 3 hours.

Remove from the oven and discard foil and parchment.  Pour off the liquid into a fat separator.  Return pork to the oven and roast until the internal temperature is about 200F (another 1 1/2 hours).  Let it rest for 20 minutes before cutting.

While pork rests, combine all the sauce ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk in 1/2 cup of the pork drippings (without the oil).

Chop or shred the meat up into bite-sized chunks and toss with sauce in a large bowl.  Serve either loose or on a potato bun.

*next up…Rosemary Lemon Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes…*


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