I’m His Partner In Pulling

When my sons were little and I called my mother to tell them how truly wonderful they were (and still are), she would often put things into perspective by saying, “now now Naomi, just remember, every mother crow thinks her little crow is the blackest.”

I wonder if that saying could apply to food.

I’ve been online lately reading about pulled pork. Louisiana seems to think theirs is best, as does Texas, as does Tennessee.

What about Minnesota? I’ll put my husband’s pulled pork up against any of theirs.

I happen to think that what we pulled right here in our kitchen last week beats them all. It was over-the-top and I’ve had lots of pulled pork since I was introduced to it decades ago in Tennessee. I will have to admit, though, that Rudy’s in Austin, Texas, gets the blue ribbon for sauce. Maybe that’s what makes ours so good.

Last weekend was granddaughter, Amelia’s, confirmation in the Twin Cities. I could go on about her like I did about my sons years ago, but I won’t. I’ll just tell you this: One of 59 in her class, she was positively angelic in her white confirmation gown and red stole. I was very proud of her for choosing Psalm 119:11 for her confirmation verse. It reads: I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

After the early afternoon service, Amelia’s mom and dad expected 60 people to come and go during a three hour open house. When they said they were looking into buying pulled pork to serve that many people, I took that as a hint they’d like us to do it. After all, Jim is from Tennessee and has built up a family reputation for good pulled pork.

I’m just his partner in pulling.

Jim remembers as a child, how the barbecue places would put a whole hog on a spit over open coals outside. The spit would turn slowly and the meat would be basted for days. When it was done, they never used a knife to cut it. They used prongs to reach in and pull the very tender meat off the bones.

We calculated that we would need 16 pounds of pulled pork to serve 60 people on confirmation day, so we bought 20 pounds of pork tenderloin and filleted off what little fat there was. We don’t have a spit in the backyard, so we do ours in a 300 degree oven for about three hours. Jim tops the tenderloin with his own concoction of various barbecue sauces during the slow-cooking process.

Rudy’s sauce, from Austin, goes on the bun as you are building your sandwich.

Cole slaw is a must on your sandwich. Some people also like a slice of cheese and a slice of tomato.

Here’s a recipe I found for Tennessee pulled pork that sounds terrific

6-8 pound pork shoulder

Sauce: 2 cups ketchup, 1 cup brown sugar, ¼ cup vinegar, 2 tablespoons yellow prepared mustard, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

How to cook: Place pork shoulder in a large Dutch oven; cover with foil. Bake in oven at 275 degrees all night, or at least 8 hours. Remove from oven; let cool enough to touch. Pull meat from bone with fingers; “string” the larger pieces, discarding the fat. Place meat in a large casserole dish or Dutch oven; prepare sauce. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan; bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

Pour sauce over meat; cover with foil. Place back in oven; bake at 275 degrees for 3 hours. (Serve on warmed hamburger buns with your favorite trimmings!).

Believe me, pulled pork is so worth all the work.

Until Soon