Pork butt, or shoulder, is one of my favorite cuts of meat. It gives you excellent bang for your buck, since it flavorfully feeds a large crowd at a very affordable price. Just plan ahead for its 3- to 4-hour cooking time. Here it is rubbed with a spice mixture of cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper and braised in Guinness beer: no grill is needed to achieve that smoky barbecue-joint-worthy flavor. Serve on its own or with all the fixings: Collard Greens with Ham and Bacon (page 225), Creamy Chive Mashed Potatoes (page 215), and Cheddar Drop Biscuits (page 132). Or layer it into sandwiches with Classic Coleslaw (page 238). Either way, slather it with the tangy vinegar-based North Carolina–style barbecue sauce, which is thinner than most tomato-based barbecue sauces.
- 1/3 cup light-brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 6 pounds boneless pork shoulder
- 24 ounces Guinness
- 6 cloves garlic, smashed
- Potato bread buns, for serving
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in the lower third of the oven.
- In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Rub spice mixture all over pork.
- Place pork, fat side up, in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven. Add Guinness and garlic cloves and bring liquid to a boil on stovetop over high heat.
- Cover Dutch oven, transfer to oven, and braise, basting a few times, until pork is fork tender, 3-4 hours. Shred pork with two forks and stir to incorporate with braising liquid.