Home plate: Classic Carolina


Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwiches

This can be made in a smoker or a barbecue that has been converted to a smoker

Dry rub

3 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper

3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar

3 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons coarse salt

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Two untrimmed boneless pork shoulder halves (also known as Boston butt; about 6 pounds total)


1 cup apple cider vinegar

½ cup water

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 tablespoon coarse salt

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

8 pounds (about) 10 percent natural lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes

6 cups hickory wood smoke chips, soaked in cold water at least 30 minutes

12 hamburger buns

Red barbecue sauce (recipe to follow) or sauce of choice

Tangy coleslaw (recipe to follow)

Dry rub: Mix the five ingredients

Place pork fat side up on a work surface. Cut each piece lengthwise in half. Place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle dry rub all over pork; press into pork. Cover with plastic; refrigerate at least 2 hours. (Can be made one day ahead. Keep chilled.)

Mop: Mix ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate.

Following manufacturer’s instructions and using lump charcoal and ½ cup drained wood chips for smoker or 1 cup for barbecue, start fire and bring temperature of smoker or barbecue to 225 to 250 degrees. Place pork on a rack in the smoker or barbecue. Cover; cook until meat thermometer inserted in center registers 165 degrees, turning pork and brushing with cold mop every 45 minutes, about six hours total. Add more charcoal as needed to maintain 225 to 250 degree temperature and more drained wood chips (1/2 cup for smoker or 1 cup for barbecue with each addition) to maintain smoke level.

Transfer pork to a clean, rimmed baking sheet. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Shred into bite-size pieces. (Can be made one day ahead. Transfer pork and any juices to baking dish. Cover with foil; chill. Before continuing, re-warm pork, covered in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Divide pork on bottom of buns. Drizzle with barbecue sauce. Top with coleslaw and cover with bun.

Eastern North Carolina Barbecue Sauce

1 cup white vinegar

1 cup cider vinegar

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce (e.g. Tabasco, or to taste)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine the white vinegar, cider vinegar, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper in a jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 days before using so that the flavors will blend. Shake occasionally, and store for up to 2 months in the refrigerator.

Spicy Coleslaw

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons sherry or balsamic vinegar

½ cup olive, peanut or vegetable oil

1 tablespoon sugar

6 cups cored and shredded Napa, Savoy, green and or red cabbage

2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and diced

1 cup scallions

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley (tossed just before serving)

Whisk together the mustard and vinegar in a small bowl; add the oil a little at a time, whisking all the while.

Add sugar and whisk to dissolve.

Combine the cabbage, peppers and scallions and toss with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to serve. It’s best to let this sit for an hour or so before serving to allow the flavors to mellow; you can let it sit for up to 24 hours.