Those of you who got here from Google because of the title - you don't care how good the mai tais were or who won the hula hoop contest, right? I didn't think so. You want the recipe for the fantastic pulled pork with pineapple salsa that we served in little tortilla chip cups. The pulled pork that disappeared in short order and had my officemates licking their fingers. And who can blame you?
Here's what I love about slow-roasted pork: It's all about the right cut of pig (butt), the right temperature (low), and the right time (a lot). I'm sure people get all crazy with the rubs and the marinades, but I keep it simple: garlic salt, mostly, with a few variations. Stick it in a pan, salt it up, cover it, and put it in to roast overnight. You won't need an alarm clock - your nose will drag you out of bed.
The pineapple salsa was a complete improv, meant to match the tiki theme of the party. It was a good guess. Any fruit-based salsa will work with the salty, smoky pork. Do you have to serve it in little tortilla chip cups? Of course not. By the end of the happy hour, apparently, hungry semi-drunk engineers were scooping the pork into plastic cups and eating it plain - the salsa was long gone. But I do like those bowl-shaped tortilla chip cups for cocktail parties, as they make it easy to serve this as a one-bite finger food.
Slow-roasted pulled pork with pineapple salsa
- One 4-pound pork butt roast
- 2 Tbsp garlic salt
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 oranges or 6 tangerines, washed, cut in half crosswise
- 2 large cans crushed pineapple in juice, drained (or 1 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and diced small)
- 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
- 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
- juice of 2 limes
- 1/2 tsp dried chipotle powder
- salt and pepper to taste
Put the pan in the oven and turn the temperature to 275 degrees - no need to preheat. Roast the pork for 10 hours. It's easiest to put it in before you go to bed and let it roast overnight.
Once the pork is in the oven, make the salsa by combining the pineapple, scallions, cilantro, lime juice, chipotle powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and store in the refrigerator overnight - this will help the flavors come together and will tame the heat of the chipotle a bit.
In the morning, take the roasting pan out of the oven and let the pork cool on the counter for half an hour. Then, uncover it, carefully transfer the meat to a cutting board, and shred it with two forks. It will fall apart at the first touch. Combine the shredded meat with some (not all) of the juice from the roasting pan, just enough to keep the meat moist.
Serve the meat immediately with the salsa. You can also keep the cooked meat in the refrigerator for up to five days, or frozen indefinitely. (Note that my tolerance for frozen foods may be higher than yours - I served a fig cake from August 2008 recently and thought it was fine. You might want to interpret "indefinitely" as "for a few months." It's your call.)