Football falls all across America look forward to Super Bowl Sunday with the same anxiety and excitement as a young child eagerly awaiting Christmas. The entire season has culminated with the best two teams going at each other with full might in an effort to take home the prized Lombardi Trophy. This coming Sunday, friends and families will be gathered around their televisions watching the big game while snacking on anything from chips & dip to buffalo wings. Growing up we had a tradition of making homemade pizza for the Super Bowl. One of the most popular “tailgate” foods for the big game is pulled pork sandwiches with some zesty cole slaw and maybe even hearty mac n cheese. This American delicacy has deep roots in our cuisine, but you may be curious about where does pulled pork comes from?
To answer this question, first we must look into the cut of meat used; commonly known as Boston butt or the pork shoulder. This is the cut of pork that comes from the upper portion of the shoulder region from the front legs. Pork shoulder being referred to as Boston butt can be dated all the way back to colonial New England. At about the time of the American Revolution is when the name started gaining momentum around the colonies. Butchers from Boston took the less then desired cuts of pork like the shoulder, and they would pack them in barrels for storage & transport across the colonies. These barrels were known as a butt. So this specific cut of meat became known as Boston butt. In the United Kingdom, this same cut of pork was known as pork shoulder on the bone.
The best technique for cooking a pork shoulder is with a moist method on a low temperature. Using a crock pot or braising are excellent methods, while some people like to smoke it for additional flavor. Many times a pork shoulder is placed in a brine for 24-48 hours before cooking, to allow extra moisture to be absorbed for the long cooking times. A brine allows for an excellent way to incorporate flavorings that could otherwise also be lost through the long cooking time. You can substitute the water in the brine with apple juice or cider, and can choose the best type of vinegar to use. This is the ideal time to add your secret herbs and spices, or that super secret ingredient that no one can know about. The