RISE & SHINE KAUT43 OKC
Labor Day Weekend is around the corner, and gatherings are to be had. A delicious and easy way to feed a group is a giant roast of shredded meat piled high between two pieces of bread.
Well, anything piled high between two pieces of bread is a great way to feed a group, but why not make it interesting?!
I love pork. Anything pork, especially if it’s been slow-cooked and tender. I was looking for a great way to do shredded pork for Labor Day Weekend, and always seem to fall back onto my slow-cooked Barbacoa Pork recipe. Great, yes! Different, not really. Luckily I ran across Chef John with Food Wishes, and he showed off the most amazing shredded Pork “al Pastor” with a grilled Pineapple Salsa, that I had to recreate for myself. So glad I did, and you’ll be pleased too.
Now, I know it looks like work, and you should also know I have zero sympathies for anyone who whines about food being too much work, but it’s really pretty simple. This recipe requires a 24-hour brine, a three and half hour cooking time, make the salsa, and boom… start making sandwiches. Packed full of flavor, bright and colorful, your next group “feed” will be a hit. Let’s get to it!
Shredded Pork ‘Al Pastor’ Sandwiches with Grilled Pineapple Salsa - serves 6 to 12
For The Brine
1 quart/32 ounce Pineapple Juice (I used an all-natural unsweetened juice. If all you can find is a canned sweetened pineapple juice that is fine too)
1 cup Kosher Salt
1/4 cup sugar (omit if you are using a juice with sugar added)
3 cups cold water
Mix everything together until the salt and sugar have dissolved into the pineapple juice. Fresh pineapple contains and a natural enzyme called bromelain that tenderizes meat. Canned or bottled pineapple loses the bromelain due to heating. For our purposes, the flavor and acid in the pineapple juice along with the brining method helps to tenderize the meat; Not the enzyme. I’m telling you this in case some smarty pants tells you it’s tender because of the natural tenderizer in pineapple. It’s tender because you brined the meat and you cooked it perfectly.
For The Roast
7-8 pound bone-in Pork Shoulder (Pork Butt, Boston Butt, Picnic Roast), lightly trimmed of excess fat
al Pastor Seasoning:
2 tablespoon Kosher Salt
2 tablespoons Mexican Oregano (may use Italian Oregano)
1/3 cup Guajillo Chili Powder (may use Ancho Chili Powder)
1 tablespoon Chipotle chili powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoon ground coriander
In a brining bag (I used a large turkey roasting bag) or a plastic/nonmetal food-grade container add your bone-in pork butt. Place this bagged roast in a large bowl or roasting pan. Pour the pineapple brining liquid over the roast, Remove excess air, and secure the bag. If using a nonmetal container, pour the Brining liquid over the roast and cover the container. Place the roast in the refrigerator 12-24 hours.
Mix the ingredients for the al Pastor seasoning together in a bowl thoroughly. Once your roast has brined, remove it from the liquid and discard. Avoid cross-contamination (raw brining liquid with cooked or uncooked, then consumed, food).
Preheat your oven to 325. Place the roast into a large foil-lined roasting pan or in a lightly oiled dutch oven (I used a dutch oven.)
Coat the entire roast generously, top bottom and sides, every nook and cranny, with the al pastor seasoning. Place the roast in your oven, covered, for three and a half hours. Depending on the oven and the size of your roast, you may need longer cooking time. An excellent way to check if your roast is perfectly cooked and tender is the shoulder blade bone in the roast may be pulled out effortlessly, and the meat simply tears apart.
Once the roast is perfectly tender, remove it from the oven and allow to sit at least one hour covered. Take two forks and begin shredding the meat, along with the fat and au jus from roasting.
Pile the shredded pork in-between two of the best everyday pieces of bread or hamburger bun you can find. No, I’m not giving you a recipe for homemade buns. Buy them…. They’re simply a delivery vehicle for the delicious pork and salsa to your mouth.
About that salsa… see below.
Grilled Pineapple Salsa
2 cups chopped grilled fresh pineapple
1 large chopped fire-roasted Poblano Pepper (peeled and seeded)
1/4 cup chopped roasted red pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
Season with a little al pastor seasoning or salt and pepper to taste
Mix everything together in a bowl, cover, and chill until needed. Add to your shredded pork sandwich and open wide!