You may be wondering why the "Cheap Ass Monday" bit in the title. Well it's to flag that this post is intended to be a submission to Michelle over at Thursday Night Smackdown for her "Cheap Ass Monday" (formerly "hobo Mondays") monthly event - where a dinner for six can cost no more than $13.
It is pure coincidence that I'm making a smoked pulled pork dish on the heels of Michelle's recent smoke-a-thon. You see, I was at the grocery yesterday and they had these pork picnic roasts (hock removed) on sale. How could I resist. It was screaming "smoke me" I'm cheap!
Usually when I make pulled pork, I use a pork blade shoulder roast . But when I saw these big pork shoulder picnic roasts, I figured I should throw all caution to the wind and give it a whirl.
I began by trimming the excess fat from the roast. EXCESS fat, not ALL. This is critical to the end product. Not only does it keep the meat tender during its long cooking process, but it also creates the most amazing crispy crust on the outside that is worth the whole dinner in itself.
I slathered one of my favourite spicy dry rub recipes. This is a concoction I created by picking and choosing things I liked from different recipes. I make it in bulk and use it on various meats/cuts including chicken and pork ribs. I've even contemplated packaging it as a gift for friends and family at Christmas, but the lazy side of me always interferes.
I wrapped the rubbed roast in plastic wrap and let it sit for an hour to "marinate." I should note that it was 9:00 a.m. as this is one of those low and slow recipes. Then it was smoking time. I preheated the smoker, filled with maple pellets for 15 minutes. I then put the rubbed roast on (plastic wrapped removed- in case you are silly enough to think it stay) and turned the heat to 225F. A bit of basting and 8 hours later you're ready to eat!
For sides dishes I made a smoked potato casserole (yes I just made this last week, but it was so delicious I was craving it and had to make it again), and a simple tomato salad (yayyyy - I finally have productive basil in the yard to do this).
When the pork roast was ready it looked amazing, and tasted even more amazing. I had originally planned to drench it with a bbq sauce, but it was so good on its own I didn't - turns out this was an opportunity. . . .
As for the pork picnic roast - I will choose it over the pork blade roast from now on for pulled pork. It was much better for "pulling" and had tonnes of meat.
This was originally a dinner for 6 (that's what the math is based on), but the pork roast turned out to be so big that I've got enough leftovers to get me through numerous meals. A Challenge! I plan to use the leftovers in various meals for the next few days (i.e. Before I get sick of eating pork or before it starts to grow some crazy bacteria that will make me sick).
Stay tuned. . . .
for Cheap Ass Monday, Smoked Pork Picnic Roast for Dinner for 6 per instructions
Pork Roast $6.00Potato Casserole Ingredients ($1.59+$.59+$1.5+$1.89+$.25)
Tomato Salad ($1.15 + $1.5)
Total: 14.47 CDN - converted to USD $13.29*
*yes its slightly over the limit, but if the CDN dollar hadn't strengthened this last week it would have been well over
Spicy Dry Rub for a Plenitude of Purposes
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon thyme
Mix all ingredients together. If making the bulk mix using a strainer to remove any lumps. Store in airtight container.
Smoked Pork Picnic Shoulder Roast
1 6-8 lb pork shoulder picnic roast
1 recipe dry rub mix (above)
Trim the roast of excess fat - but not all. Be sure to leave a thin layer to keep the roast moist during cooking and create a delicious crackling whilst cooking. Rinse with water.
Rub the roast all over with the dry rub and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Let sit for one hour to "marinate." 15 minutes before it's ready prepare the smoker by heating it on high with maple wood. Turn the heat to low or 225F and put the roast on. Baste with Raspberry baste every hour for 8 hours until the roast is cooked.
Once cooked, remove from smoker. Let rest for 5-10 minutes. Pull the pork into strip using a fork and a knife. Be sure to remove excess fat, but keep the crispy crackling (you may even want to snack on it as you go).
Raspberry Vinegar Baste
1/2 cup raspberry vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup salt
Mix all ingredients together.