Mexican Pulled Pork
Sous Vide is the perfect technique to use for creating pulled pork. Traditional slow roasting methods include long oven times and plenty of dirty equipment to clean up. A pork shoulder butt roast (aka: Boston Butt, Pork Butt) is ideal for making pulled pork. It is relatively inexpensive and has a great ratio of fat to meat, creating a flavorful and tender final product that can find it’s way into tacos, nachos, quesadillas or sandwiches.
Pork Butts are generally sold with a portion of the blade bone in them. If you have large vacuum seal bags, you can use the roast as-is, with the bone in. It is real easy to remove the bone after the roast is cooked. If you are using smaller vacuum seal bags, you may need to cut the roast into smaller portions. In this case, you will need to use a boneless roast. If you buy your meat from a butcher shop, they will gladly remove the bone for you. Cutting the bone out is a pretty simple task if you choose to do it yourself. Feel for the bone in the roast and use a boning knife to gently work around the bone, freeing it from the meat. You will end up with a piece of meat that is barely attached to the roast, but that is fine. It will all cook evenly in the bag.
My Mexican spice blend combines salt and 7 spices, and is great on beef and chicken as well. I have used it mixed with salsa and sour cream to make a sauce for shirred eggs, sprinkled it in cheese quesadillas to give it a Mexican flair, and used it to make a Southwest Chili.
If you are new to Sous Vide, I have a separate blog post titled “Sous Vide 101” with some basic information to get you started on your “Sous Vide Journey.” It is an invaluable kitchen tool for any cook, and I will be sharing many of my sous vide recipes in future blog posts, so stay tuned.
Mexican Pulled PorkCourse: EntreesCuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Medium
6 pound pork shoulder butt roast (aka: Boston Butt)
1/4 cup Mexican Spice Mix, recipe below
- Mexican Spice Mix
2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
2 Tablespoons ground Coriander
2 Tablespoons ground Cumin
2 Tablespoons Cayenne Pepper
2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
2 Tablespoons Paprika
2 Tablespoons ground Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
- Drain any liquid from the pork shoulder butt roast and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the surface generously with the Mexican Spice Mix.
- Vacuum seal the seasoned pork butt. It may be necessary to cut the pork butt to fit it into bags. Pork Butts often come with a portion of the blade bone in it and to fit it into smaller bags, it may be necessary to remove it. It is rather easy to remove the bone, just feel for the bone and gently work a boning knife around the bone. You will be left with some smaller sections of the meat barely attached, to the roast, but that is fine. Just include them in the bag. If you have large bags that fit the roast with the bone, just leave it in, it will be very easy to remove it once it is cooked. Another option is to buy the pork butt with the bone removed.
- Once the meat is vacuum sealed, heat your circulator bath to 154-degrees F., or 68-degrees C.
- Add the sealed meat to the circulator bath, making sure it is completely submerged, and cook for 24 hours, checking the water level every once in a while.
- Remove the pork bags from the water bath, cut them open and drain off the liquid. Break the meat up into big chunks, no bigger than the size of a golf ball, removing any large pieces of fat and the blade bone if it is still in it.
- Keep covered in the refrigerator until you need it.
- To prepare the meat for use: heat some canola oil in a skillet. Sear the chunks of meat, caramelizing them on all sides. Remove from the pan and shred the pork, breaking up the chunks into thin strips for easier eating. Some bits will be crisp and caramelized and others will be soft and moist.
- Mexican Spice Mix
- Add all of the spices and the salt to a bowl and stir to combine well.
- Keep in your spice drawer and use it whenever you want to add that Mexican flavor to a dish.
- The Mexican spice mix is an equal part of all of the ingredients listed. Scale it up to the size that works for you. Great in tacos, quesadillas, burritos, nachos……