One 8 to 9 lb. pork butt (bone-in or boneless)
½ pound salt pork (only use this if your roast does not have a fat cap)
2 quarts cold water
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup kosher salt
1 large or 2 medium leeks
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 large sage leaves
2-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 quart whole cow’s milk
1 cup heavy cream
5 large garlic cloves, peeled
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound white button mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
1 pound dry egg noodles
- Place the roast on your cutting board and remove the fat cap with a sharp knife but do not discard. This fat will be melted and used to sear the meat. Lay the fat on a plate and freeze to make it easier to dice later. You will need ½ pound of fat or salt pork, the remaining fat can be discarded.
- In a 7 quart Dutch oven (smaller if you bought a smaller roast), place the two quarts of water and briskly whip in the ¼ cups of sugar and salt to make a brine. Whip until the salt and sugar dissolves.
- Slowly add the roast and watch for water displacement. If it looks like it may spill over, remove a little of the brine. The roast should however be completely submerged.
- Let this sit at room temperature for 90 minutes.
- While the roast is brining, remove the green top and root from the leek and cut the white in half top to bottom. Keep each half together and rinse them under cold water to remove any sand. Lay them on your board cut-side up and place the rosemary, sage and thyme on one half and place the other half over as a top. Use butcher’s twine and tie off both ends. Set aside.
- After the 90 minutes, discard brine and pat the roast dry with paper towels.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. and place the rack in the center.
- Take the same Dutch oven and place on your stove.
- Remove the fat from the freezer or if using salt pork, rinse any salt from the surface.
- Dice the fat or salt pork into pieces (any cut is fine, the pieces will be discarded).
- Place ¾ cup of tap water in the Dutch oven and add the fat pieces. Bring the heat to high and cook until the water evaporates and the fat starts to sizzle.
- Continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes until the fat pieces have browned. Use a slotted spoon or a spider and remove the browned pieces and discard, leaving fat in the pan.
- Bring the heat to medium high and begin searing the roast on all sides, about 10 minutes.
- Remove the roast to a platter and pour off all but two tablespoons of the fat. However do not discard the fat, it will be used later in this recipe.
- Add leek and herb bundle along with the milk, one cup of cream, garlic, baking soda, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil scraping up all brown bits from the bottom and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 25 minutes uncovered.
- Gently add the roast back in, cover and place in the oven for five hours, turning the roast over 3-4 times during cooking.
- While the roast is braising, sauté the mushrooms. Take the reserved fat from earlier and place about 1 ½ tablespoons of the fat into a large sauté pan. Turn the heat to high.
- When the fat starts to smoke, add half the mushrooms and cook for about five minutes tossing and stirring. Remove these to a bowl. Repeat for the last of the mushrooms with another tablespoon and a half of fat. Set the cooked mushrooms aside for the end of the recipe.
- Remove roast to a large platter or pan and with two forks, shred the meat, discarding any bones or gristle. Using a ladle, remove and discard the layer of fat floating on top of the liquid. You could also chill the liquid if making this a day ahead then just scrape off and discard the hardened fat. You should have roughly two cups of braising liquid left. If not, top off with more milk. Pour this into a bowl or large measuring cup and hold. Do not remove the pot from the stove.
- Place a pot of water on to boil and cook egg noodles according to package directions.
- After shredding the pork and removing the fat from the braising liquid, finish the sauce by melting the butter in the same Dutch oven over medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and cook for two minutes.
- Add the braising liquid and whip with a whisk, then add the heavy cream and whisk again. The mixture will be a slightly thin sauce.
- Add in the chopped parsley, the cooked mushrooms and the shredded pork and heat to a serving temperature, tossing the ingredients a few times to incorporate.
- Serve over hot egg noodles and top with additional chopped parsley. (Alternatively, the finished pulled pork can be served in rolls as pulled pork sandwiches.)
Note: Please feel free to buy a smaller roast if you are serving fewer people. The remaining ingredients will be more or less the same, but just a little less of everything. You still need enough brine to cover the roast and you still need enough braising liquid to cook the roast for five hours so cutting the entire recipe in half may not result in the same finished product. Also note: If your roast does not have a fat cap, you will need to use salt pork in this recipe.
Recipe by Martha Pesa A Family Feast