By Addie Broyles
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Backyard barbecues aren't exactly what they used to be, but the act of smoking meat itself is inherently a solitary activity. Getting up early in the morning to put the meat on the pit and then feeding it wood hours before guests arrive.
We're not hosting guests these days, but barbecuing is a good way to spend half of the day outside to smoke meat that you can use for days. (And give away to appreciative neighbors.)
This pulled pork recipe from Treaty Oak pitmaster Scott Fogle pairs the smokiness of slow-cooked meat with the spicy sweetness of pickled pineapple that gets a kick from a serrano pepper. Treaty Oak, in Austin, Texas, continues to sell smoked meats by the half-pound - as well as groceries and cocktail kits - but this pickled pineapple you'll have to make yourself.
Smoked Pulled Pork Tacos With Serrano-Infused Pickled Pineapple
For this Texas spin on al pastor, start the pickled pineapple a few days before you plan to serve it, Fogle says.
For the pickled pineapple:
1-2 fresh pineapples, cored and cubed
1-2 fresh serrano peppers, sliced
4 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup sugar
For the smoked pork butt:
1 (8 to 10 pound) bone-in pork butt
1/2 cup coarse black pepper
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup granulated garlic
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 cup olive oil
Chopped white onion
Make the serrano-infused pineapple a few days ahead of time for best results: Use one or two pineapples, depending on their size and how much pickled pineapple you want to make. Place pineapple and serrano in a large glass jar or glass baking dish. In a large saucepot over medium-high heat, boil water, vinegar and sugar until sugar has dissolved. Pour hot pickling solution over fruit to cover completely. Once cool, refrigerate for at least 48 hours. (You can do this in several large jars with lids, if desired.)
To make the pork butt: Heat pit to 250 degrees. Remove pork butt from packaging and pat dry. Rub whole pork butt with olive oil. Combine all seasoning in a bowl and mix well.
Liberally season entire pork butt (all four sides, top and bottom). Transfer pork butt to pit and place on the grate with the fat cap up. Smoke for about 5 to 6 hours, until the fat cap on the pork butt starts to split.
Once the fat cap begins to split, remove from pit and double wrap it in foil. Return to pit and cook for about 2 to 3 hours longer, until the bone easily slides out of the pork butt.
Once the bone easily pulls out, remove pork butt from pit and place into a pan to rest in the wrapped foil (be sure not to lose any of the broth in the foil). After resting for 30 minutes, remove foil and shred pork in its own juices.
Serve pulled pork on a fresh tortilla garnished with serrano-infused pickled pineapple, cilantro, cotija cheese and white onion.
- From Scott Fogle at Treaty Oak
Addie Broyles writes about food for the Austin American-Statesman in Austin. She can be reached at email@example.com, or follow her on Twitter at @broylesa