Food + Wine

Are My Southern Roots Showing?

My mother cooked pork shoulders and butts (what? that’s what they’re called!) quite a lot when I was growing up. She always called it ‘Pickin’ Pork’ and it was delicious. She, if I can remember correctly, would season all sides of her extra large roast with salt and pepper and place it in a large roasting pan, then pour white vinegar all over it until it covered the bottom of the pan a couple of inches. Then she cooked it, uncovered, on low all afternoon until it fell off the bone and became incredibly tender. We would eat it with corn muffins and I’m sure something green…collards maybe? But I loved it and have often requested it as my birthday meal by asking her to substitute her mac ‘n’ cheese for the corn muffins (she makes a rockin’ mac ‘n’ cheese).
So now I always buy pork shoulders or butts when they go on a half off sale and usually get the smallest one they have (because there’s only three of us in my family and I loathe leftovers after the second day). So I started playing around with the way mom did it and began adding a few things here and there but never felt that I had found my official method until today.
Here’s what I did…
-Trimmed a 5lb bone-in Pork Shoulder Blade Roast of all the thick fat pieces and placed it in a small roasting pan (one that was just big enough to fit the meat inside).
-Seasoned all sides of the meat (very liberally) with the following things (listed in descending order of amount used): whole grain mustard, salt, brown sugar, garlic powder, cinnamon, cumin and ketchup. I’m talking a thick coating of stuff all over this piece of meat, and I really massaged it in there.
-Then I covered it with the lid (foil would also work if your pan doesn’t have one) and refrigerated it for 4 hours to let the meat start to accept those yummy flavors.
-After 4 hours I removed the lid and poured apple cider vinegar over the top until it came to slightly above the halfway mark of the meat (remember, my roasting pan was very small so I was able to cover more surface area of the meat with the liquid and thus, not using as much vinegar).
-I then re-covered the pan and placed it in a 250* preheated oven for 6 hours, uncovering it for the last hour. (**note-you could probably get away with only 4 hours of cooking time, but no less than that or it will be tough. Don’t worry too much about it though, this is not an exact-science-type of recipe.)
The bone should be separated from the meat by now and easily detachable, so detach it and throw him away. I like to lightly shred the meat with a fork and serve it in large, messy ‘chunks’, and don’t forget about the juice in the pan, that need not be ignored. The meat was tender and juicy and incredibly flavorful. For the first time ever I was able to taste all my spices, so this is how I will forever cook a pork shoulder or bootie.
And I will also forever serve it with my new recipe for Corn Pudding, it was equally as amazing and one of the easiest thing I’ve ever made…
-In a 9×9 in glass baking dish, melt 1 stick of butter in the microwave.
-Add to that the contents of 1 box of corn muffin mix (The Jiffy brand, or generic version of that is what I always keep on hand), 1 can of corn, drained, (equivalent to 2 ears of fresh corn), 1 can of creamed corn, 1 8oz container of sour cream, 1 egg and about a cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese.
-Stir this until everything is combined and bake at 350* for 45mins-1 hour, or until the top is beginning to brown and the center no longer jiggles.
It was rich and creamy and so good that I will be eating it tomorrow for my second breakfast.
So, there you go-A great dinner that cost me next to nothing and was truly delightful. Enjoy your evening and Happy Eating, Everyone!

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  • Reply Tinky May 4, 2010 at 1:06 am

    I definitely love the sound of the pork–and I'm a sucker for corn pudding. Yum!

  • Reply Sebia Cooks May 4, 2010 at 3:47 am

    This sounds so good! I make something similar. It is really good if you make it a day ahead. You can skim off the fat, take out the bone, chop it up and re-heat adding more vinegar if necessary. I want to try you slow cook method.

    I also make similar corn bread from a very old High Point Junior League cookbook-Zola's cornbread. Do you like cole slaw?

  • Reply Everyday Champagne May 4, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Sebia-I'd love to hear all about those recipes, when you get a chance and yes I love cole slaw. Only I'm not a huge mayonnaise fan so I prefer the German slaw, which is sugar & vinegar based.
    Thanks ladies!

  • Reply Sebia Cooks May 4, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    i will forward them to you. I agree about the mayo and my Mom says real NC is vinegar based too.

  • Reply Gail March 30, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    Abbey, it was you who taught me that a little ground coffee in the rub is the secret ingredient in pulled pork!

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