Question: Where do they pull pulled pork from? — Sal Spadafora, Hoboken, N.J.
Answer: Pulled pork is pulled from the pork shoulder.
The shoulder can be divided into two basic parts. Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart call them the “Boston butt” and “picnic ham” in their book, “Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking.” There are other names for these cuts; the National Pork Board calls them “shoulder butt” and “picnic shoulder,” for example.
Don’t worry about nomenclature too much; talk to your butcher or meat department staffer. They should be able to steer you in the right direction.
Cooking the pork takes time, whether you’re using an oven or a smoker or a covered grill. (Whatever you choose, remember that old Southern adage about temperature: Cook it “low and slow.”) You want to cook the pork until it’s falling-off-the-bone tender, so tender you can literally “pull” it into threads and chunks with your fingers.
Pulled pork is never served as-is. There’s a sauce, the preferred choice of which varies from region to region (the vinegar sauce of eastern North Carolina has long been my choice). Coleslaw is the go-to side for pulled pork, either mounded on the plate or spooned on top of the pork. Make your favorite slaw or use store-bought. Serve the pork on white bread or a hamburger or sandwich bun.Do you have a question about food or drink? Email Bill Daley at: email@example.com. Snail mail inquiries should be sent to: Bill Daley, Chicago Tribune, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago 60611. Twitter @billdaley