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Old 17.12.2011, 08:35
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Pulled pork.....without pork?

One for the Yanks and the Chefs out there

I enjoy making pulled pork - or at least as close as an English guy in Switzerland can get without a smoker etc.

However, the thing that makes it taste so good and fall apart etc is of course the fat which from a calorie and digestion perspective, isn't ideal.

Are there any other cuts of meat that could be rubbed and marinated with the same flavours and cooked in the same way which would yield a similar result. I think lamb shoulder would have the same or similar texture, but the meat flavour is stronger and doesn't work so well with the southern spices.

Any cuts of beef or veal that might work?

(I know that writing this here will make no difference - but I don't need to be told that it won't be the same I know that - I know that life is too short to worry about such things - but just humour me. What's worth trying that might get close)
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Old 17.12.2011, 09:16
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Re: Pulled pork.....without pork?

May I kindly ask you what it is ? I've never heard of it.
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Old 17.12.2011, 09:36
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Re: Pulled pork.....without pork?

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May I kindly ask you what it is ? I've never heard of it.
Somebody better qualified than I can give a better explanation, but its pork covered in very smoky and "umami" type flavours - paprika, mustard, lea and perrins, tabasco, treacle / brown sugar, ketchup - stuff like that, and then cooked for a very long time 8 + hours on a very low heat. The connective tissues and fat all melt and dissolve and the meat becomes almost spoonable (hence "pulled" I guess - you can literally just pick it with your hands).

Its a famous southern US BBQ type dish - they eat it in a sandwich with slaw etc. One of those tasty but inelegant things in which you end up with juice running down your chin and sticky suckable fingers - the type Nigella tends to enjoy cooking and watch us watch her eat!)
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Old 17.12.2011, 09:52
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Re: Pulled pork.....without pork?

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One for the Yanks and the Chefs out there

I enjoy making pulled pork - or at least as close as an English guy in Switzerland can get without a smoker etc.

However, the thing that makes it taste so good and fall apart etc is of course the fat which from a calorie and digestion perspective, isn't ideal.

Are there any other cuts of meat that could be rubbed and marinated with the same flavours and cooked in the same way which would yield a similar result. I think lamb shoulder would have the same or similar texture, but the meat flavour is stronger and doesn't work so well with the southern spices.

Any cuts of beef or veal that might work?
Yeah, pulled lamb should also works (they actually do that in Morocco....but I won't come close to the taste of the pulled pork. I would stay with the pork but use quality ingredients for it.

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May I kindly ask you what it is ? I've never heard of it.
It's one of those awesome dishes you eat with cornbread/biscuit, Mac-N-Cheese, potatoes, a bun, lots of sugary drinks (preferably Tang or Kool-Aid), a side of ribs and possible some fried chicken. Hehehehe, we like to call it the cardiac arrest combo.
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Old 17.12.2011, 09:57
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Re: Pulled pork.....without pork?

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. I would stay with the pork but use quality ingredients for it.
What do you mean by "quality ingredients"? Pork is inherently high in fat - in fact "better" pork tends to be higher and more marbled. Isn't the fact that it is fatty the thing that makes it tasty and gets the texture?

(For example - I can't imagine you could use pork tenderloin and get the same result?)
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Old 17.12.2011, 10:02
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Re: Pulled pork.....without pork?

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What do you mean by "quality ingredients"? Pork is inherently high in fat - in fact "better" pork tends to be higher and more marbled. Isn't the fact that it is fatty the thing that makes it tasty and gets the texture?

(For example - I can't imagine you could use pork tenderloin and get the same result?)
You sure could...http://www.squidoo.com/recipe-for-pulled-pork well, I don't know about the same results....and I don't think a few pulled pork/ month are going to kill ya....but I tell ya what, you can always invite me, and I'll be the judge of whether it's comparable to the real deal.
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Old 17.12.2011, 10:31
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Re: Pulled pork.....without pork?

fat is good for you. it increases brain power.
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Old 17.12.2011, 10:35
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Re: Pulled pork.....without pork?

You could try it with game that comes from the same family as pork, like sanglier.

And I haven't tried it, but something like beef / veal cheek might also work as it has a similar sort of fat content.

I'm not sure whether you can buy any of these ingredients here in Switzerland, but they're easy enough to source over the border in France.
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Old 17.12.2011, 10:38
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Re: Pulled pork.....without pork?

Hi there,
A few words about my background before I give you my opinion.

I worked my way through University cooking and worked as a Chef for a few years afterwards. My only "life" regret is that I walked away from a job I absolutely loved thinking I needed to use the degree I earned I also have a friend who runs a BBQ catering business in the Atlanta area, you can imagine the smells in that place on smoking day, OH MAN!!! I'm an avid fan of smoking meats and BBQ.

Short answer: Learn to love the fat

Long answer:
The pork butt is in my opinion the best cut to use for pulled pork, which is made using a smoker. If you're going for oven baked pulled pork/BBQ then I think the shoulder works the best, but the pork butt works just fine if you don't have a shoulder.

The reason you can't use leaner cuts is, as you already mentioned, it's the process of the fat melting which breaks apart the connective muscle tissue, giving you the ability to easily shred the meat with a pair of forks and creating the tenderness you get at the end.
BTW: The reason why brisket is used for corned beef and pulled BBQ beef is the same, you need the fat to make it work.

Leaner cuts of meat that are slow cooked end up with the consistency of a piece of wood. Without the fat intertwined in the muscle tissue any lean cut of meat cooked too long will end up being the proverbial piece of shoe leather.

If you look at what Chef's recommend for level of doneness in meats you'll see that the standards for pork have changed now that there is no longer the risk of getting Trichinosis from commercial pork, it's OK now to have Loin and chops be a bit pink, which leaves them more tender to eat.
The same goes with beef cuts. Generally the leaner the cut, such as tenderloins and filets, the more tender it remains when cooked rare to medium rare or using moist cooking methods.

For those of you who are reading this and wondering what we are talking about....Making a pulled pork is done by rubbing mustard over the roast, seasoning with a spice rub (every BBQ person has their own secret recipe ) There are at least hundreds of them out there on the web, just google "spice rubs"
I like to wrap the roast in many layers of aluminum foil and let it rest/marinate for 24 hours before putting it into a smoker/oven to let it soak into the meat. The method of cooking and the size of the roast determines the length of time, smokers take the longest but result in the richest/deepest flavors. If you don't have a smoker I highly recommend using a Crockpot/slow cooker, oven roasting in a closed pot will do as well.

Tip: If you slow roast in Crockpot or oven you'll end up with a small pond of fat and juice when it's finished cooking...DON'T THROW THAT AWAY !!! Let it cool, skim the fat off of the top that will collect and harden from the cooling process and then store the juice for later. (for long term storage freeze it into cubes using ice cube trays or other such items that will let you make smaller blocks of frozen juice)
So many uses for the juice, to name a few....Use it for a marinade in cooking roasts, use it as a basting glaze for grilling steaks. If you really want a kick mix it into the beef stock base to make the most excellent version of a French Onion soup you will ever taste

Last but certainly not least. ENJOY!!!!
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Old 17.12.2011, 11:17
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Re: Pulled pork.....without pork?

Thanks all

Actually, the issue is less hearthealth and more to do with an intolerance to too much pork fat causing indigestion for one of the eaters

Might try beef brisket - anybody know what it its commonly called in butchers here (German)?
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Old 17.12.2011, 11:36
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Re: Pulled pork.....without pork?

I lived in Frankfurt for just over 5 years, I know it as "Brust ohne Knochen"

This is the center cut brisket

If anyone would like a map of beef cuts with the Austrian/German/UK English names PM me and I'll forward you a PDF document
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Old 17.12.2011, 11:43
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Re: Pulled pork.....without pork?

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Thanks all

Actually, the issue is less hearthealth and more to do with an intolerance to too much pork fat causing indigestion for one of the eaters

Might try beef brisket - anybody know what it its commonly called in butchers here (German)?

I've picked up some nice pork roasts (usually something around a kilo) from Coop here and used it to make pulled pork. I bake it with rub only (and if I'm going to have molasses or honey in the sauce, a bit of that too) at 150° for about three hours, in a covered casserole dish. Then add some sauce, cover again and bake for another hour. Pull, add more sauce, serve.

Since roasts here tend to be pretty well trimmed, there isn't much fat but because it is cooked covered, it doesn't need as much fat. Also, since it doesn't have as much fat, I didn't have any problems with it when I was having gallbladder issues - unlike eating some veal and other local dishes.


Thinking about it, the recipe I use for bbq sauce has cola in it, along with vinegar and catchup - those three together probably help break down the meat, helping to make up for lack of fat.
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Old 17.12.2011, 14:51
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Re: Pulled pork.....without pork?

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I've picked up some nice pork roasts (usually something around a kilo) from Coop here and used it to make pulled pork. I bake it with rub only (and if I'm going to have molasses or honey in the sauce, a bit of that too) at 150° for about three hours, in a covered casserole dish. Then add some sauce, cover again and bake for another hour. Pull, add more sauce, serve.

Since roasts here tend to be pretty well trimmed, there isn't much fat but because it is cooked covered, it doesn't need as much fat. Also, since it doesn't have as much fat, I didn't have any problems with it when I was having gallbladder issues - unlike eating some veal and other local dishes.


Thinking about it, the recipe I use for bbq sauce has cola in it, along with vinegar and catchup - those three together probably help break down the meat, helping to make up for lack of fat.
Cola, Vinegar and Ketchup all contain acids which will break down the connecting muscle tissue
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Old 17.12.2011, 18:51
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Re: Pulled pork.....without pork?

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Thinking about it, the recipe I use for bbq sauce has cola in it, along with vinegar and catchup - those three together probably help break down the meat, helping to make up for lack of fat.
By the way......I find it amazing how many recipes there are for pulled pork online which say something like "Take a bottle of your fav BBQ sauce and pour it over the pork and cook"

I don't know why anybody would used a bottle of something for this type of cooking rather than make something from scratch. It isn't exactly fast food! And putting an onion, garlic, vinegar, spices etc etc in a blender isn't exactly hard work!
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Old 18.12.2011, 03:23
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Re: Pulled pork.....without pork?

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By the way......I find it amazing how many recipes there are for pulled pork online which say something like "Take a bottle of your fav BBQ sauce and pour it over the pork and cook"

I don't know why anybody would used a bottle of something for this type of cooking rather than make something from scratch. It isn't exactly fast food! And putting an onion, garlic, vinegar, spices etc etc in a blender isn't exactly hard work!
On one hand, I agree, on the other, there are some really tasty sauces out there! My favorite supermarket brand is Sweet Baby Ray's, also one of my fave bbq places sells bottles of sauce.

It wasn't until I moved here that I started looking into how to make it - and started making sure I pretty much always have ingredients to make some. Some people reallllllly do not know how to cook though (or are reallllly afraid to try), I can see how it could happen.
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Old 18.12.2011, 08:34
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Re: Pulled pork.....without pork?

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One for the Yanks and the Chefs out there

I enjoy making pulled pork - or at least as close as an English guy in Switzerland can get without a smoker etc.

However, the thing that makes it taste so good and fall apart etc is of course the fat which from a calorie and digestion perspective, isn't ideal.

Are there any other cuts of meat that could be rubbed and marinated with the same flavours and cooked in the same way which would yield a similar result. I think lamb shoulder would have the same or similar texture, but the meat flavour is stronger and doesn't work so well with the southern spices.

Any cuts of beef or veal that might work?

(I know that writing this here will make no difference - but I don't need to be told that it won't be the same I know that - I know that life is too short to worry about such things - but just humour me. What's worth trying that might get close)
you could try homeopathic pulled pork.

or failing that use tofu. the taste is not the same, but you already said you don't care about that, right?
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