The Challenge: A “Mediterranean” main dish, featuring pork shoulder/butt and using a food injector.
I LOVE pulled pork sandwiches. So, when I saw my next #OGBChallenge involved an injector and a pork shoulder (or, as the five-year-old in me likes to say over and over, “pork butt“), I knew I had to make pulled pork.
Now, as I’ve already mentioned, I’m very new to the world of grilling, so I have NEVER made pulled pork on the BBQ before. Actually, there are a lot of things I’ve never made on the BBQ before, but let’s move past that for now.
To make this a Mediterranean dish, I took inspiration from one of my favourite Greek dishes – the Gyro. I wanted to re-create the flavours of the gyro in a pulled pork sandwich, and I think I’ve succeeded really well.
Out of all the dishes I created for the #OGBChallenge, this is the one that taught me most about grilling. I learned so many new lessons, including:
- When making pulled pork, an injector makes a huge difference in the juiciness of the final meat.
- I need a grill that has a tiny window in the lid so that I can peek in without opening the lid.
- Thermometers are a griller’s best friend. I had three different thermometers going during this recipe.
- I now know what “40 to 140 in 4 hours” means. And yes, this was REALLY important!
- Temperature plateaus can be a source of anxiety for me.
- You know that old saying, “Patience is a virtue”? Apparently, that goes double for a pork shoulder sitting on the grill. I was almost dancing with impatience while waiting for this lovely chunk of meat to be ready. For someone who is very impatient, 13 hours is a VERY long time.
But all lessons aside, my patience was well-rewarded, when I took the pork shoulder off the grill, let it rest, and then pulled apart some of the juiciest meat to ever come off my grill! It was amazing. It almost fell apart on its own!
After filling a warm pita with a heap of pulled pork, I added tzatziki sauce, tomatoes and onions. My first bite was ah-may-zing. And it got better as I kept eating. There were hints of flavour that definitely reminded me of gyros, but with the soft, melty texture of pulled pork.
Now that I’ve made pulled pork successfully on the grill, I’m definitely going to do it again. Plus, this time, I’m going to have something planned for the 13 hours in between to distract me, like a Lord of the Rings marathon or something.
Don’t forget! Starting July 1, 2014, you can vote for your favourite #OGBChallenge recipe and be eligible to win one of five $100 gift cards to Ontario Gas BBQ! Get more info about the OGB Challenge here, plus follow all the action on Twitter by following the hashtag #OGBChallenge and keep watching my blog for more recipes and details about the contest.
- 1 1/2 tbsp (23 mL) dried oregano flakes
- 1 1/2 tsp (7.5 mL) kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp (23 mL) garlic powder
- 2 tsp (10 mL) fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tsp (10 mL) chicken broth powder
- 2 tsp (10 mL) dried parsley flakes
- 1 tsp (5 mL) ground thyme
- 1 1/2 tbsp (23 mL) ground sweet paprika
- 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) round cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp (1.25 mL) ground nutmeg
- 5 lb (2.3 kg) Pork shoulder/butt
- 1/2 cup (120 mL) apple juice
- 1/2 cup (120 mL) root beer
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) kosher salt
- pitas (for serving)
- tzatziki sauce (for serving)
- 4 tomatoes, cubed (for serving)
- 2 red onions, diced (for serving)
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) fresh, minced basil leaves (for serving)
- In a small bowl, mix together oregano, 1 1/2 tsp salt, garlic powder, black pepper, chicken broth powder, parsley, thyme, paprika, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Rub the spice mix all over the pork shoulder, covering all sides. Wrap the pork shoulder in plastic wrap, place into the fridge and leave overnight to marinate.
- NOTE: Remember you need about 13 hours to grill this, so plan to start early if you want to serve these pitas for dinner.
- When you are ready to grill, place a drip pan under the grill grates. Preheat grill to 300° F.
- In a bowl, mix together the apple juice, root beer and 1 tbsp salt. Prepare the injector with this juice mix.Remove the pork shoulder from the fridge, unwrap it and inject the pork shoulder with the juice mix.
- Place the pork shoulder on the grill and close the lid. For the next few hours, watch the temperature and try to keep it around 300° F.
- IMPORTANT. The internal temperature of the pork shoulder MUST hit 140° F within 4 hours.
- Continue grilling the pork shoulder (and resisting the urge to open the grill lid for a look) until the internal temperature of the pork shoulder hits 195 degrees F (I used a probe thermometer so I could keep an eye on the internal temperature of the pork without opening the grill lid.) On my grill, with the temperature hovering around 300° F, it took 13 hours for the pork to hit 195° F internally.
- When it is ready, remove the pork shoulder from the grill, place it in a pan and tent it with aluminum foil. Let rest for 30 minutes.
- Uncover, and using two forks, “pull” the pork apart into shreds.
- Place a generous amount of meat on each pita, top with a small amount of tzatziki sauce, cubed tomatoes, onions and basil. Roll or fold the pita and serve.
Check out my other OGB Challenge recipes! Which one do you think the judges will choose to represent my blog in the Voting round?
Disclosure: kitchen frolic received an injector and monetary compensation in order to develop this recipe and take part in this competition. All opinions we shared in this post are sincere and belong to us alone and were not influenced by the compensation. Please read our disclosure policy for more information.