“My brother Isaiah, Ike for short, makes unbelievable pulled pork. He carefully smokes the pork butt over the lowest imaginable heat for four hours before roasting it in the oven for an additional five to six hours. The result is undeniably delicious, but I do not have the patience for manning a smoker for that long and I am always out of wood chips, so I developed a pulled pork recipe that ‘cheats.’ Using liquid smoke eliminates the need for smoking and reduces the cooking time by almost half. Come to think of it, I am not sure what it ‘cheats,’ because it is not the flavor, that’s for sure!”
— Damaris Phillips
This recipe is courtesy of Southern Girl Meets Vegetarian Boy. You can buy the book here.
Southern Girl Meets Vegetarian Boy © 2017 Damaris Phillips from Abrams
Make the pulled pork: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
In a large bowl, combine the chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, ancho chile powder, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, 2 tablespoons salt, and 1 tablespoon pepper with a fork. Add the pork and turn to completely coat all the pieces.
In a large Dutch oven, melt the coconut oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the pork pieces and cook to sear all sides, about 1 minute per side. Remove from the pot. Add the onion to the pot and sauté until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the sorghum, vinegar, and liquid smoke. Pour the mixture over the pork and cover the pot. Transfer to the oven and roast until the pork falls apart when pulled with a fork, 4 1/2 to 5 hours.
While the pork is roasting, make the apple butter BBQ sauce.
When the pork is tender, remove the pork from the cooking liquid in the Dutch oven and shred the meat. Skim and discard the fat from the liquid in the Dutch oven. Return the pork to the skimmed liquid. add half of the BBQ sauce and stir gently to combine. Season with additional salt if needed. Keep warm until ready to serve.
In a small saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and bring to a simmer; cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Cover and remove from the heat.
To each bun, add a heaping portion of the pork and top with coleslaw, pickles, and an additional spoonful of BBQ sauce if needed. Enjoy immediately!