Cabinet Dump Pork Butt

pig_05--fromfreestockartsiteI call this Cabinet Dump Pork Butt because there really isn’t a recipe that I follow every time. If I have run out of herbs and spices and only have Paprika and Ginger then it would be Paprika and Ginger Pork Butt. Of course competitive BBQ teams and restaurants have their own signature recipe that they have worked out over the years but that is the beauty of the cabinet dump. Start with 1/4 cup of salt and start dumping. You have to be careful not to have too many things going on at the same time. It is possible to come up with competing or inappropriate flavors but because there is usually so much going on it won’t matter that much. Even if you make a mistake it won’t completely ruin the dish so be bold and brave in search of your secret ingredient.

Please try to keep your herbs and spices fresh. I was visiting a friend’s parents several years ago and was cooking for them. When I asked for nutmeg she rummaged around in her cabinet and pulled out an antique bottle of ground nutmeg. I had not seen that particular label on a McCormick jar in my lifetime. When I asked how old it was she said “I think I bought it when KC was 3.” This was a 30 year old jar of ground nutmeg! Of course it was not a part of her regular spice repertoire and was probably purchased for eggnog one Christmas and never used again. The little jar of ground nutmeg was so small that it was moved from house to house and put back away in the spice cabinet, year after year until I wanted to put some in my mashed potatoes 30 years later. Please don’t let this happen to you.

Multiply recipe times 50 to feed 300 guests

Multiply recipe times 50 to feed 300 guests

I buy most of my spices in bulk from Central Market in Austin and it is much cheaper than jarred spices as well as being fresh and vital. Herbs and spices that are more than 6 months old have lost most of the volatile oils that comprise their flavor. If you’re adventurous get them whole when available and grind in a grinder or a mortar and pestle. I kind of like a southwestern flavor profile for this with lots of cumin and chili but whatever floats your boat is fine. The key to a good pulled pork is Low and Slow. 3 or 4 hours is about right. Your dry rub should be personalized to keep your guests from exactly duplicating this special piece of meat.

Cabinet Dump Pork Butt
1 pork shoulder (Boston Butt) 3 or 4 lbs.

Dry Rub (as best as I can remember):
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup salt
3 tbs good paprika
3 tbs dried cumin
1 tbs garlic powder
1 tbs onion powder
1 tbs ground thyme
1 tbs coriander
1 tbs ground ginger
1 tbs dried ancho chili powder
1 tbs dried chipotle powder
1 tbs dried mustard

All gussied up with refried black beans, ripe tomato and turnip greens

All gussied up with refried black beans, ripe tomato and turnip greens

First make the dry rub then cover the pork butt liberally with the dry rub and wrap in foil. Let stand in the fridge for 2 or 3 hours at least or overnight if you are a planner. Heat your oven to 400 and put the butt on a piece of heavy duty foil in the bottom of a pyrex baking dish. Cook uncovered at 400 for about a half hour to give some color to the outside of the roast then wrap the butt in the heavy duty foil to keep in the rest of the moisture and finish at 275 degrees for another 3 or 4 hours or until it is almost falling apart. Reserve the liquid that is left in the foil and remove the fat from the nectar. After the beautiful Butt has cooled for a while rip into it with gusto. You can pull the pork apart with a fork or tongs if you are dainty or your well washed hands if you are like me. Make sure to remove any huge globs of fat or rubber nickles that are left at this point because that is just an unpleasant surprise for an unsuspecting guest. Add the liquid that was left from the cooking process and serve as taco filling or on a bun with cole slaw, which is my personal favorite.

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2 Responses to Cabinet Dump Pork Butt

  1. radioabby says:

    When I was making my squash soup, I wanted some nutmeg, but had the problem you articulated here….a small shaker of 2 year old nutmeg in the cabinet. I wanted some fresh nutmeg. The only container of whole nutmeg I could find at my local grocery store has 9 whole nuts in it. NINE!! That’s more nutmeg than I can use in my lifetime. One nutmeg can last years if stored properly. So, what are the folks at Spice Island thinking? Why would one person need NINE nutmegs?

  2. Alan says:

    There is a two part solution to your problem. The first is that these little nutmegs last forever. As opposed to ground nutmeg which is mostly sawdust and grit from under an old dresser anyway all of the essential oils and goodness in a nutmeg are sealed up tight in the center of the nut. Nine should last you a while. I bought a bulk box of about 20 of the buggers and have given them away as gifts with nutmeg graters for the holidays but have been carrying them around for years and they are still good. The other solution is to eat more nutmeg! Use it in mashed potatoes, use it in cream sauces, grate it into your apple pie and even on a fresh cut apple. Try a grating over your Appletini. A dusting over a pork loin will elevate it to stellar levels. Use it!

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