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Saucy, Savory & Tangy Pulled Pork

SERVES: 8–10 PREP: 20 minutes TOTAL TIME: 8 hours, 20 minutes (including minimum resting time)
Saucy, Savory & Tangy Pulled Pork

Saucy, Savory & Tangy Pulled Pork

SERVES: 8–10 PREP: 20 minutes TOTAL TIME: 8 hours, 20 minutes (including minimum resting time)

Hands down the best, most fall-apart-tender pork ever.

There are some things in life worth waiting for. Pulled pork is one of those things. You don't need a big smoker or barbecue to pull off pulled pork at home—you just need a big pot, like our braiser (a combo of a skillet, Dutch oven, and slow cooker), and a little bit of time. Pork shoulder is an inexpensive cut of meat that totally transforms when you braise it—aka cooking low-and-slow, partially covered in liquid, for hours—and it will fall apart when barely touched with a fork after it's done. This recipe is packed with tons of flavor from a salty-sweet rub and a savory-tangy barbecue sauce that takes inspiration from so many styles of BBQ...and a little fish sauce, because that makes everything better. Serve it up in a bun with Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise and drained Japanese Cucumber Salad for a refreshing crunch, pile it on top of rice, or make it into a burrito. This makes a LOT and freezes well—try doing individual portions in Stasher bags or freezer-safe containers—so you can have pulled pork nights whenever you want.

For the pork and rub:

  • 1 (3-pound) boneless pork shoulder

  • 6 tablespoons light brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

  • 1 tablespoon paprika

  • 1 tablespoon cumin

  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes

For the braising liquid/sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 jumbo onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

  • cup tomato paste

  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth

  • ½ cup apple cider

  • ½ cup white wine (or more cider or water)

  • cup dark brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • ½ teaspoon chili flakes

  • 1 bay leaf

For the Japanese cucumber salad (optional topping):

  • 6 Persian cucumbers (about 1 pound), thinly sliced into rounds

  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon hot sesame oil (such as Dynasty brand)

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon dashi powder

  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

For serving:

  • + Hamburger buns for sandwiches or steamed white rice

  • + Kewpie mayonnaise

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