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When I drive into town I always pass this little building with a big black smoker sitting next to it. Often times the air is filled with a smokey BBQ smell and the sign says “BBQ PORK BUTT”. I don’t know about you, but pork butt just doesn’t sound very appealing to me. 🙂 After my friend Ginger told me about a delicious pork butt she made, I had to say “exactly what is pork butt?” Turns out we had to Google it to get the facts. Pork butt, also known as Boston butt is a cut of pork that comes from the upper part of the shoulder from the front leg and may contain the blade bone. Smoked Boston butt, which is then pulled from the bone and served with or in a spicy sauce is what is commonly referred to in the American Deep South as Barbecue.
Oh! Pork shoulder roast, that I am familiar with. Next trip to the market I had pork on my mind. The butt or shoulder roast usually comes in a 10 lb. chunk or more. Since this is waaaay too much meat for us at one cooking, I cut this in half and put 5 lbs. in the freezer for another day.
My sous chef dish-washing mom really likes apples with pork. I started out with apples of a couple different varieties. Any apple will work in this recipe but Fuji, Granny Smith, Gala or a Pink Lady will give you exceptional flavor.
I had a bag of pearl onions on hand so I used them. You can use what you have on hand, white or yellow or pearly! The pearl onions are cooked for a couple of minutes in boiling water to get the skins to slide off easily.
I am not fond of browning meat on the stove-top when I can give it a good turn on the BBQ grill. I get a beautiful result with the added benefit of a bit of natural smokey flavoring.
From the grill I placed the meat in my crock pot. I mixed up orange juice, pineapple juice, beef stock, brown sugar, minced garlic and salt and pepper. Along with the apples and onions I poured this over the meat, covered it and cooked it on HIGH for 2 hours. At the end of 2 hours I turned it to LOW and continued to let it cook for the rest of the day, about 5 hours.
The fragrance that filled the house was amazing. First time the Chief walked through mid-afternoon he said, “Wow, what are you cooking? That smells incredible!” Later in the afternoon my sous chef dish-washing mom came to see what all the excitement was about in the kitchen. By then I had pulled the pork from the crock pot and it practically shredded apart in my hands.
I did have a little trouble at this point. Shred some, eat some, shred some, nibble a bit, shred some, …. you get the point. I couldn’t keep this stuff out of my mouth! Oh my gosh this is good! 🙂
I decided on wild rice to go along with the pork. I browned some lovely fresh pecans, added in the wild rice, chicken stock, and set it to simmering.
While the rice and a dish of Brussels Sprouts Au Gratin were cooking, I took the liquid containing the cooked apples and onions and drained off the grease that had cooked out of the meat. Then I placed it in a saucepan, cooking it over medium heat to reduce and thicken it. Just before dinner was ready I added a bit of cornstarch to thicken it to a gravy consistency, albeit a chunky gravy/sauce because of the cooked apples and onions.
I served the sauce over the meat. I can barely finish writing this post because my mouth is watering for a taste of this luscious meal again! Pork butt is a relatively inexpensive cut of meat and one large roast will serve a crowd!
Bon Appétit! Or as we say down south, “Ya’ll come and get it!”
“I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage.” Erma Bombeck
Happy Cooking! Catherine!
P.S. Skip to the bottom of the recipe for a bonus picture!
- Pork butt roast
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1½ cups pineapple juice
- ½ cup orange juice
- 1 cup beef stock
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 3 whole apples, cored and cut into wedges
- 1 bag pearl onions, peeled, or 3 medium onions, sliced
- 2 teaspoon minced garlic
- corn starch for thickening, as needed
- Heat BBQ grill on high for 10 minutes. Turn down to medium heat.
- Salt and pepper roast and place on BBQ grill. Brown on each side for 5 to 7 minutes (20 minutes total). Remove from grill and place in BBQ crock pot.
- While meat is on the grill, slice apples and peel onions. Add to juice, stock, sugar, and minced garlic. Mix well. Pour meat in the crock pot.
- Cook on HIGH for 2 hours. Turn heat to LOW and continue cooking for 4 to 5 hours.
- When the meat is done, remove roast from crock pot and shred. Cover with foil and set aside.
- Take the liquid containing the cooked apples and onions and drain off the grease that had cooked out of the meat.
- Placed the liquid in a saucepan, cooking it over medium heat to reduce and thicken it.
- If needed add cornstarch into ¼ cup cold water.
- Just before serving add a bit of cornstarch to thicken it to a gravy consistency, albeit a chunky gravy/sauce because of the cooked apples and onions.
- Serve sauce over pulled pork.
My brother John and his wife Jeanne are masters at creating a BBQ Pulled Pork that melts in your mouth. While I was writing this blog post he sent this picture he had just taken of the grill! Thanks for sharing John!