Fall-Apart Apple Cider Roasted Pork

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Where I come from in North Carolina, you’re either a Mustard BBQ person, or a Vinegar BBQ person. I have always been a vinegar BBQ person, but when I started cooking my own slow-roasted pork many years ago, I found that I loved a mustard glaze on top, while cooking it surrounded in apple cider vinegar.

The mustard slowly marinates the pork from the top down while it cooks, and the apple cider vinegar steams all around the pork and seeps in through the sides. It is truly a magical, flavorful experience. The pork completely falls apart the second you touch it with a fork, the most tender succulent meat you’ve ever tasted.

Not to mention, pork butt is SO inexpensive! It’s incredible that something this cheap can taste so, so good with so little effort, but lots of cooking time.

Fall-Apart Apple Cider Roasted Pork

Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 pound to 3 pound pork butt
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp dried thyme (or any dried herb you love, or 1 tbsp of a minced fresh herb)
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar

Substiutions:

  • Pork —> Try this recipe with boneless chicken thighs! Skip the 450°F step and go straight to the 325°F step. They’ll only need about 45 minutes to 1 hour of cook time.
  • Dijon mustard —> Any kind of mustard will work, or just stir 1 tablespoon of any oil into the brown sugar, red pepper and thyme and rub that all over!
  • Brown Sugar —> White sugar! Coconut sugar! Honey or maple syrup (it’ll be a runnier glaze but you’ll live).
  • Dried thyme —> Equal parts of ANY dried herb or spice mixture that you love (rosemary, za’atar, oregano) or 1 tablespoon of a fresh, minced herb.
  • Red Pepper Flakes —> 2 teaspoons of your fave hot sauce.
  • Onion and garlic —> any kind of onion works, or stir some onion powder and garlic powder into the vinegar, or just omit these!
  • Apple cider vinegar-> 1 1/2 cups apple cider or apple juice, 1 cup of whatever vinegar you’ve got. Can’t get those? Try 1 1/2 cups of whatever kind of stock you have, plus 1/2 cup of whatever citrus you have (lime, lemon, orange, grapefruit!).

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 450°F.
  • Season pork butt all over with salt and pepper. Stir mustard, sugar, thyme, and red pepper flakes together in a small bowl. Place the pork butt, fat side (the big white cap!) up in a large Dutch oven or other roasting dish (a deep pyrex is fine) and pour the mustard glaze over top. Rub it down the sides of the pork.
  • Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until the top is bubbly and golden.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
  • Take the pork out of the oven and place on the stovetop. Add the onion, garlic, and vinegar around the pork. Put the lid on (or cover tightly with aluminum foil), and cook for 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 hours, turning the pork over in the vinegar every 2 hours. This will become more difficult as it starts to fall apart, that’s OK!
  • The pork is ready when it shreds EASILY all the way to the center. If you start to shred the pork and it doesn’t fall apart VERY easily, it needs more time!
  • Use two forks to shred the pork, right in the pot so that it can saturate in the juices. Serve straight from the pot, or transfer to a serving platter.
  • 2 to 3 pound to 3 pound pork butt
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp dried thyme (or any dried herb you love, or 1 tbsp of a minced fresh herb)
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar

Substiutions:

  • Pork —> Try this recipe with boneless chicken thighs! Skip the 450°F step and go straight to the 325°F step. They’ll only need about 45 minutes to 1 hour of cook time.
  • Dijon mustard —> Any kind of mustard will work, or just stir 1 tablespoon of any oil into the brown sugar, red pepper and thyme and rub that all over!
  • Brown Sugar —> White sugar! Coconut sugar! Honey or maple syrup (it’ll be a runnier glaze but you’ll live).
  • Dried thyme —> Equal parts of ANY dried herb or spice mixture that you love (rosemary, za’atar, oregano) or 1 tablespoon of a fresh, minced herb.
  • Red Pepper Flakes —> 2 teaspoons of your fave hot sauce.
  • Onion and garlic —> any kind of onion works, or stir some onion powder and garlic powder into the vinegar, or just omit these!
  • Apple cider vinegar-> 1 1/2 cups apple cider or apple juice, 1 cup of whatever vinegar you’ve got. Can’t get those? Try 1 1/2 cups of whatever kind of stock you have, plus 1/2 cup of whatever citrus you have (lime, lemon, orange, grapefruit!).

Notes

  • This is a smaller portion size, meant for 2 to 4 eaters, but double the size of the pork butt, double the mustard glaze, use the same amount of vinegar and roast it for 8 to 9 hours for a 5 to 7 pound pork butt. Or, if you want to keep the cook time lower, cut a large pork butt in half, make sure the two halves aren’t touching in your pot, and you can roast for the 5 hour timeframe.
  • Boston butt = pork butt = pork shoulder. Different stores call it different things, but make sure you buy a boneless one for this recipe! If you can only find one with a bone, add about 2 hours to your cooking time.
  • Shred the pork finely to use it for sandwiches, or into big chunks to serve it as a meat entree!
  • Recommended sides: grilled asparagus, mashed or roasted potatoes, a big kale salad.
Author: Caroline Chambers

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