I grew up eating BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, but it wasn't until I lived in Hawaii and met the joy that is Kalua pig, that I really came to understand what a wonderful thing pulled pork is. Even with very little extra seasoning, the marbled and tender pork butt will just fall apart and have a delicious flavor all its own.
In this case however, the seasoning is pure Autumn goodness - but in a way that is not limited to the season. A single apple, a bit of pure maple syrup, and just a tad bit of chilies gives this a sweet but slightly spicy flavor. The final result is tender and juicy, but not watery or overly sticky. Its full of flavor without being full of fat or sugar.
Pulled pork is such a simple concept that can be done in so many different ways, too. Its great for a barbecue or for a quick weeknight meal or even for a dinner party. It goes great with cabbage (another one of my favorite cheap ingredients), or rice, on a bun or with potatoes. Its easy, stupidly cheap, and extremely difficult to mess up. Of course, that is my favorite part about it. Its like a guaranteed win every time. I love making it for parties because I can prepare everything the day before and put it in the fridge, then, four hours before the party I stick it in the oven and go about the rest of my preparations. Its also great for making ahead then freezing in individual sized portions for quick sandwiches or as an add-in for recipes later on.
Maple & Apple Pulled Pork
3 lbs pork shoulder/butt (in Germany: around 900 grams Schweinerollebraten aus der schulter and remove the netting from the outside, or some butchers carry large portions of schweineschulter)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
about 4 Tbs Canadian Steak Seasoning
1/2 tsp dry ground mustard
1/2 tsp ground Paprika
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 Tbs diced roasted green chilis (I use the Ortega brand...something I bring from the US - in Germany could use some diced up Pepperoni's maybe, or even Jalapeno) (can use more if you really want some spiciness, I just wanted a hint of spice)
1/4 cup pure Maple Syrup
1 medium apple, peeled & cored and sliced into rings
Place the pork into a dutch oven and pour in the apple cider vinegar. Add the dry spiced, garlic, onion and chilies. Drizzle the Maple syrup over then top with apple slices.
Cover and cook for 4 to 4 1/2 hours (until meat is soft and falling apart) in a 375 F (190 C) oven. About half way through the cooking time check on it and stir it up/break the meat apart a bit and I find this helps in coaxing into the 'pulled' status. I also will do this once about 30 minutes before it finishes (and lets be honest i might just drizzle a bit more maple syrup at this point too. If your meat seems way dry or bland you can put in a bit more apple cider vinegar and spices as well). You could also do this in a slow cooker on low for around 8 hours.
The apples and onions etc will kind of just melt into the meat. When you remove from oven break apart/ stir with a large fork or spoon until it becomes a nice pulled apart consistency and everything is mixed together nicely.
Serve on rolls with rotkohl or cole slaw (kraut salat) or just as is (maybe with some steamed rice, mashed potatoes or polenta).
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