I don’t actually like cooking every day. And I don’t like leftovers. Conundrum, no? I generally love to cook when I have the energy, but sometimes I just want to snuggle up with my nuzzly kittens and dream about what kind of loom I might buy one day. I mean, that’s the life. So when I can cook up a large portion of something that will last a few days, takes very little effort, and doesn’t stink of “leftovers”, I’m all over it.
Enter the pork butt. (heehee, I said butt) This is perfect because I can actually serve it as a variety of different dishes, so there’s no hint of monotony or sameness to every meal. And since total hands-on time is around 15 minutes, it’s a winner in my book.
I use sous vide to turn an inexpensive cut of pork (butt/shoulder/ into magnificent steaks or mouth watering pulled pork with almost no effort at all. Trust me, this is easier than using a slow-cooker, and there’s no chance of burning, drying out, or producing anything less than perfect, tender pulled pork.
I recommend a pre-sear before bagging your meat to cook. It’s just a lot easier to handle and won’t fall apart on you like mine did. But if you forget or are in a hurry, you can still do it after the fact. It’s just a bit trickier. See:
Either way, season the pork shoulder all over with your favorite spices, and add liquid smoke to the cooking bag if you have it. It’s not the same as proper smoked meat, but damn it makes things nice. For the rub, I used a simple blend from Whole Spice, a company I’m secretly in lust with up in Napa. Every seasoning of theirs tastes fresher and more potent than any other spice I’ve tried. I can’t help it, I’m an addict! Plus their pre-selected blends make my whole night easier. For the pork shoulder, I chose the Steakhouse Rub – a blend of chili, thyme, oregano, pepper, celery, garlic, onion, sugar, salt.
Seal the bag and cook for 24-72 hours at somewhere between 135-145ºF (57-62ºC). After a day, you’ll have tender pork steaks. After two, fall-apart pulled pork. I pulled mine out somewhere around the 60 hour mark because it happened to be convenient timing for me. I just love the flexibility of cooking sous vide!
Serve with your favorite BBQ sauce in sandos or watch out for my updoming quick carnitas recipe for some inspiration on what to do with your new masterpiece!
- 4-5 lb pork shoulder
- 2 tablespoons Steakhouse Rub, or your favorite blend
- Liquid Smoke
- Salt + Pepper
- Set blasters to 140°F (60°C). The range here could really be from 135-145 depending on how tender you want your finished product. Since I was doing a long, slow cook, I opted for a lower temperature. Experiment and see what you like best.
- Rub your shoulder with spices (mm, shoulder rub) and place in bag and vacuum seal.
- Place the packet in the water bath for 24-48 hours. After 24, you’ve got some prime pork steaks unlike anything you’ve probably cooked before. After 48 (heck, you can leave it up to 72!), you’ve got glorious meat that practically falls apart on its own.
- Pat dry and give the roast a quick sear on all sides in a really hot pan. I prefer cast iron, because it holds heat so well, but you could also use a torch or a Searzall.
- Grab two forks and pull the pork apart into tender, little, finger-licking (save that part for last) morsels.
- Dress with your favorite sauce, and dig in.