- 1, 2-3 Pound Pork Shoulder, bone in preferred
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed & minced
- 2 tbsp Smoked Paprika
- 2 tbsp Brown Sugar
- 2 tbsp Salt
- 1 tbsp White Pepper
- 1 tsp Ground Coriander
- 1 tsp Ground Mustard
- Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
- 1 cup Orange Juice
- 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil (for the pot)
- Slider Buns
This particular Blue Moon recipe request came with a bit more exclusiveness to it. Blue Moon releases its very limited Grand Cru beer only during the holiday season, and it is only offered in larger magnum bottles. I knew it was going to be special when I was given very specific tasting notes from the Brewmaster himself, Keith Villa. The notes concentrated on the citrus tones and wheat flavor, prompting lots of ideas to swim through my head. After some debate, the idea landed on sliders. I wanted to move a bit away from the traditional slider approach, so I suggested pulled pork. A heavily spiced pork, with some citrus braising liquid would pair nicely with Grand Cru. And with that nailed down, we were off and running.
I wanted to add strong spices to the pork for its long journey in the oven, so I started with some garlic, coriander, smoked paprika, and ground mustard. From there I added brown sugar, salt, white pepper and some cayenne pepper. This was all combined in a mortar & pestal (mixing bowl is a perfect substitute), and then rubbed all over the pork. Seared on all sides, the pork went into the Dutch oven along with some apple cider vinegar and orange juice before it went into the oven.
Many hours later, the pork was ready to be “pulled.” After a few pulls and a few tastes, I was pretty happy with the pork but it definitely needed a sauce. I took the pan drippings and added a bit more sugar, vinegar, and let it reduce on the stove for a bit longer. The sweet and acidic sauce was going to be a perfect compliment with the Grand Cru beer, accenting all of the citrus flavors. Now, all that was needed was some toppings.
Moving away from traditional toppings, as well as a traditional slaw, I wanted to add some depth. Carrots, red cabbage, and cilantro was my start. Using the Vietnamese Bahn Mi sandwich as inspiration, I also added some fresh jalapeno slices to the slaw base. Instead of using mayo, I kept this slaw light by adding a touch of apple cider vinegar, honey and some olive oil. Lightly tossed together, this was a refreshing compliment to the savory pork, the slaw also added some great texture to the slider.
Preheat oven to 250.
Combine all dry ingredients (garlic, paprika, sugar, salt, pepper, coriander, mustard, cayenne), into a bowl and mix well (mortar & pestle if you have one). Take dry ingredients and rub shoulder generously. Coat all sides. Meanwhile, heat a Dutch oven on the stove-top (or oven safe baking dish with a lid) with a tablespoon of vegetable oil oil. Place seasoned pork shoulder into the pot and sear on all sides (2 minutes a side). Then add the OJ & Cider vinegar to the pot. Cover and place into the oven for about 4 hours. Internal temperature should read around 170-190 in the thickest part, and the meat should be falling off the bone. Once the meat is at this state, remove from the pot into a bowl for shredding. With 2 forks “pull” the pork apart into long strands, discarding any excess fat or inedible pieces. Save any excess liquid for sauce.
Pulled Pork Sauce
The ideal sauce starts with the liquid left over in the pot from the slow roasting process. The recipe items below are additions to that cooking liquid. If there isn’t any liquid remaining, or if one wants more sauce, start with 1 cup of OJ and 1 cup of Apple Cider vinegar and begin reducing along with the following items.
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp Brown Sugar or Honey
Pinch of salt