The cover of Gourmet magazine has been making my mouth water ever since it appeared in our mailbox a few weeks ago. (To see the cover photo, go to the end of this post.) Inside the magazine, a funky-fashioned twenty-something model stuffs this delectable pile into her mouth while another whittles carrots. I had a whole fantasy invented about the curly-haired Caravaggio boy with a bowler hat gripping a bowl of peach ice cream...The only way to discharge my obession was to make the sandwich and eat it myself. But there was no chance I was going to hover over a charcoal grill for six hours to produce the ultimate North Carolina barbequed pulled pork. Luckily, at the end of the recipe, there was a grudging tip on how to roast the pork in the oven. I modified it further, and here is the result. It's not barbequed, but it got high ratings from everyone in my house and the teenage boys each ate two sandwiches. Apologies to any real North Carolinians who are offended by my San Francisco busy-mom version.
Modified Gourmet Magazine North Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich
Serves 2 middle-aged adults and two teenagers with maybe enough for burritos the next day
3-lb bone-in pork shoulder roast
1-1/2 cups cider vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
2 tsp. salt (divided)
2 tsp. pepper (divided)
6 hamburger buns or rolls (preferably bakery-made, or high quality)
coleslaw (see recipe to follow)
Take roast out of the refrigerator an hour before you plan to roast it. Pat dry and rub 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper all over it, and let stand at room temperature.
Heat vinegar, sugar, and 1 tsp. each salt and pepper and stir until sugar dissolves. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put roast in a roasting pan and cover with parchment paper and then foil. Roast, covered, for 1 hour. Then pour 3/4 cup vinegar sauce over it, and roast, covered, for 1 hour more. Pour remaining vinegar sauce over it and roast for approximately 45 minutes more, covered, or until roast is fork tender. Drain juices in bottom of roasting pan and put in refrigerator, to separate fat. Put roast back in the oven uncovered for approximately 30-45 minutes, until meat is browned. Remove from oven and let cool until it can be handled. Shred meat with two forks, and transfer to a bowl. Skim fat off juices and serve with sandwiches. Warm buns or rolls in oven briefly, then serve pulled pork and coleslaw piled in buns, dressed with juices, as desired.
1/2 green cabbage (approx. 1/2 lb.), cored and cut into 3-inch chunks, then shredded
1/2 large green pepper, finely chopped
1 large carrot, coarsely grated
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Toss all vegetables in a large bowl. Whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, lemon juice, and salt and pepper, then toss with slaw. Chill for about an hour before serving.