Hands down, my favorite weeknight recipes lately are things I can cook once and enjoy for a few meals. Even if it means spending more time and/or effort initially, it’s totally worth it to me to have a few nights off from dinner duty. We’re really not too picky about leftovers here, but it’s definitely a bonus if the dish is just as good on days two and three as it was on the first. When I’m trying to decide on something that checks all these boxes, pulled pork is pretty much the go-to every time. It’s super versatile – I’ve made it in my slow cooker, in the oven and even smoked it (more on that another day), and it never disappoints.
Here, the pork is coated with a dry rub that includes, among other things, brown sugar, coffee, and chipotle powder. After a night in the fridge, it’s cooked low and slow all day in the oven. The method itself was new to me – there’s no liquid added to the pot along with the pork, and the pot is left uncovered as the pork cooks. My fears of dry pork were unfounded; the inside was as juicy as any recipe I’ve made, and bonus – a really flavorful crust developed on the outside. Once it’s shredded the pork is tossed with a smoky chipotle barbecue sauce. At that point, the aroma was so intoxicating it became a test of my willpower not to sneak a bite every time I walked through the kitchen.
We served the pork on the softest, most fluffy homemade rolls I’ve ever had in my life. I’m seriously in love – so excited to tell you about them later this week! As for the leftovers, I popped them in a disposable aluminum pan, covered it with foil and reheated in a low oven (200 or 250 F) until warmed through. So easy, and in a side-by-side taste test, I would never have been able to separate the leftovers from the pork we ate on the first night.
Coffee-Chipotle Pulled Pork
slightly adapted from Homesick Texan
4 lb boneless pork butt
canola oil (for cooking)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons black pepper
2 tablespoons finely ground dark coffee (I used instant)
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon allspice
Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
1 teaspoon canola oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup brewed coffee
2 chipotle chiles in adobo, minced
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
To make the rub: Stir all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Massage the spice rub onto the pork, coating each side thoroughly. Wrap the pork tightly with two layers of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. (You may have extra rub, save it in an airtight container for another time.)
To make the barbecue sauce: Add the oil to a medium saucepan set over medium heat. When shimmering, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in all of the remaining ingredients, reduce the heat to low and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If desired, you can puree the sauce to a smooth consistency (I didn’t bother). The barbecue sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in your refrigerator for a week.
Remove the pork from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature about 30 minutes before you cook it. Preheat oven to 250 F.
Add 1 teaspoon of canola oil to a dutch oven, and place the pork in the pan, fat side up. Cook, uncovered, for about 8 hours (about 2 hours/lb if you want to use a bigger or smaller piece of meat), or until very tender.
Remove the pan from the oven and let stand for an hour. Transfer the meat to a cutting board, and use two forks to shred it. Toss with some of the barbecue sauce – how much is up to you. Serve with extra sauce if desired.