Smoked and pulled pork shoulder, piled high on a bun, is one of my favorite Southern sandwiches. It’s the first thing I turn to at a barbecue restaurant, and something I’ve tackled — the proper way — only once or twice at home, and definitely only on a weekend. To prepare pulled pork at home on a weeknight, you’ll need to take some shortcuts.
Traditional pork shoulder takes far too long to turn tender and shreddable, so I like to use pork tenderloin for my weeknight version. To cook it, you’ll want to sear and quick-braise it in the same way as the coconut chicken recipe published in this column a few weeks ago: sear one side of the meat to build flavor, add chicken broth, then cover and cook at a fairly rapid simmer until tender. By cutting the tenderloin into 1- to 1 1/2-inch-thick pieces, this process will take 10 minutes or less.
As far as seasoning goes, any store-bought barbecue dry rub will work; just keep in mind that some brands include salt, while others don’t. Taste the rub mixture before using it, and if you need to add salt to the pork, add it with the rub. Once the meat has been cooked, further concentrate the flavor of the now spice-infused broth by simmering it down into a thickened liquid. Mix this elixir, along with store-bought sauce, into the shredded pork, to both moisten and further flavor it. A final drizzle of sauce at the table completes the dish.
Weeknight Pulled Pork
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