Pulled pork is made from a cut of meat called "pork butt" or "Boston butt." The name is misleading because the cut of meat is not from the rear end of the pig, but is actually the pork shoulder. The name came from the old days in Boston, when pieces of the pig were packed into big barrels called 'butts' and shipped out all over the place. The big meaty pieces of shoulder in the barrel then came to also be known as 'butts.'
Confusing enough for you? Well congratulations, you just thought hard enough to work up an appetite. You deserve some crispy and crunchy, yet succulent and moist pulled pork. This is not like my slow cooked pulled pork which is oh-so-delightfully sweet and soft. Instead, this pork is sliced thin and roasted in the oven so that there is a high ratio of crisp, pop-in-your-mouth end pieces to tender inside meat.
Anyway, I had been partial to the slow-cooker method because it's just so darn easy. But this completely addicting crunchy pieces version was introduced to me by our good friends and constant culinary companions Mindy and Mark, who are highly attached to this method of cooking their pork butt. They invited us over to try it on for size before committing to this style of cooking it. We had a huge soft taco buffet and I seriously overate the pork, both on its own and in the tacos, because it was just too darned good to stop picking at. It's those crunchy, salty, juicy bits that are impossible to walk away from.
So be prepared to eat more than you wanted to when you use this recipe. You have iron willpower if you're able to walk away from the crunchy pieces straight out of the oven. Cook up a whole bunch at once, though, and serve it to guests to pull apart and put in tacos or on soft buns, or stir it into red sauce for a succulent, meaty ragu. The options are endless, but the cooking method... well, it's one and only.
1 8-10lb Pork Butt (pork shoulder)
sea salt + pepper
Directions: Heat the oven to 275 degrees. On a large cutting board, slice the butt into large 1" to 2" thick slabs. Generously salt and pepper each side of all the pieces. Place parchment paper over a roasting rack that is placed inside a roasting pan. Optionally, thinly slice onions and place them on top of the parchment paper. Then lay the pork pieces in the rack. Cook at 275 degrees for 5 to 6 hours. Then increase the oven to 400 degrees and cook for another hour. Pork should be falling apart, but shred with a fork and serve.