I think knowing how to make a tasty braised pork shoulder is a really good kitchen skill. Why? It's easy, it's cheap, it's tasty, it's versatile, and it's quick (kinda). In the context of a casual dinner party, braised pork shoulder is one of those crowd-pleasing dishes. A really good pulled pork is wonderful in the winter when it's cold outside and fantastic as part of a summer time barbecue.
I winged this recipe and if I do say so myself it turned out delicious - the leftover braising liquid especially.
1. Buy a pork shoulder. I bought a small one, about two pounds. Mix up your dry rub and massage it into your shoulder. You can let it sit to absorb the spices if you want. I decided not to simply because I wanted to use the pork for dinner.
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
3 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon mustard powder
2. Then get a pan nice and hot to sear the pork shoulder. Sear it on all sides and then pop it back into the pan with all of the ingredients below. Add some extra water or apple juice if there isn't enough liquid in the pan.
1 chopped apple
1 chopped jalapeno
1 star anise
2 tablespoons of ginger roughly chopped
1 chopped onion
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup malt vinegar
3. Cover the whole mess with tin foil and pop it into an oven at 250 degrees fahrenheit. My shoulder was small so it only took about four hours (the prep time is quick though, all you need to do while it cooks is go take a nap). You want to pull it out of the oven when the internal temperature gets to 190 degrees or higher*. Let it rest for half an hour.
4. While it is resting, pour the contents of the roasting pan through a sieve. Try to remove some of the fat if you would like - I'll admit to just leaving mine as is. Once the pork has rested (allowing the juice to distribute through the meat) it is ready for pulling. If cooked properly the pork should shred easily using either your hands or two forks.
Eat pulled pork on its own, on a bun or in a taco with the pan sauce drizzled on top. So yummy...
*I read that 210 is best for pulled pork.