Cindy Pawlcyn’s Slow-Smoked BBQ Pork Sandwiches

This sandwich has been on the menu at Mustards Grill for many years. The juicy, smoke flavored shredded pork is great, but what sends it over the top is the sauce. Pair it with the 2009Grgich Hills Estate Napa Valley Zinfandel and you’ll be saying “Ooo-Eee!”
Smoke the pork in a covered kettle-type BBQ. You can also use a conventional oven (instructions below).
Course: Dinner, Lunch

Equipment

  • Cover kettle-type BBQ or conventional oven

Ingredients

Pork

  • 1 2.5-3 lb pork butt roast
  • 1 tbsp dried orange peel finely ground
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper freshly ground
  • 1 1/2 tsp ancho chile powder
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp hot paprika

Ooo-Eee Sauce

  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water

Assembly/toppings

  • 6 seeded poor boy rolls soft
  • 1/2 red onion very thinly sliced

Instructions

  • Cut the pork into 3 or 4 manageable pieces, trimming off most of the exterior fat and any thick connective tissue (leave some of the fat to keep the meat moist throughout its long, slow smoke).Combine the orange peel, black pepper, chile powder, salt, sugar, and paprika and mix thoroughly. Liberally coat all the surfaces of the pork with the spice mix, rubbing it in well. Cover and refrigerate for a least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
  • To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients in a bowl, stirring well to dissolve the sugar. No cooking required.
  • Smoke the pork until it is tender enough to pull apart into tasty shreds. The longer and slower you go (lower heat), the better the meat. Consider about 5-6 hours. The meat should be crispy on the outside and soft within.
  • If you don’t have a smoker, you can roast the pork in a conventional oven. Follow the recipe but to give the meat a smoky flavor, substitute Spanish pimenton or chipotle chile powder for some of the ancho chile powder (the chipotle is quite a bit hotter). Roast the meat on a rack over a pan of water at about 225 degrees for 5 to 7 hours, or even overnight.
  • Shred the meat as soon as you can handle it, picking out the big pieces of fat that didn’t render out in the smoking process. The meat should have taken on a rich pink hue, which is the effect of the smoking of the meat.
  • When you’re ready to serve, heat the sauce in a large skillet over high heat until slightly thickened, toss in the pork, and stir to coat the meat with the sauce and heat it through. As the pork is heating up, toast the rolls. Portion the pork and sauce evenly among the buns, and stuff in the onion slices. Serve with additional sauce.

Notes

From Mustards Grill Napa Valley Cookbook by Cindy Pawlcyn (Ten Speed Press)

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