Sous Vide Shredded Pork with Barbecue Sauce and Pickled Red Onion


I grew up in a cooking family and after getting a degree in Spanish and Anthropology, realized what I really wanted to do was to go to culinary school. After working in a NYC bank for a few years, I managed to get to culinary school and got my first jobs in NYC kitchens ...

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I am not a southern girl, but I spent 11 years learning to love Kentucky and pork barbecue. The long, slow sous vide cook for the pork gave me plenty of flavor with very little fuss. It resulted in pork that was just right for a homemade sauce. It’s best to make this sauce the day you put the pork on to cook. Give it about 30 minutes to simmer, cool, then let it sit in the refrigerator so the flavors can marry. When it’s time to put everything together, let the pork come to room temperature, bring the sauce up to a simmer, add the pork and stir, letting it all simmer just long enough to warm through. The pickled onion is just something I love on my barbecue sandwich. I can’t do without it. One 4-pound pork butt yields about 2 pounds meat; use 1 pound for this recipe OR double the sauce to make enough for 8 portions. If you only use 1 pound, use the other pound for another use.
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Ingredients for 4

  • 1 (4-pound) bone-in pork shoulder, trimmed of large pieces of fat

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole, plus 1 clove minced

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt, divided

  • 1 cup ketchup

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion, plus 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, divided

  • 2 tablespoons molasses

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke

  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons raw (turbinado) sugar

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons boiling water

  • 4 dinner rolls, for serving


  • Step 1

    Set the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker to 149ºF (65ºC).

  • Step 2

    Season pork shoulder with salt and pepper. Place in a large zipper lock bag with the whole garlic cloves, thyme, bay leaf, and 1/4 teaspoon celery salt. Roll the pork around in the bag to distribute seasonings.

  • Step 3

    Seal the bag using the water immersion technique and place in the water bath. Set the timer for 36 hours. Cover the water bath with plastic wrap to minimize water evaporation. Add water intermittently to keep the pork submerged.

  • Step 4

    While pork cooks, prepare the barbecue sauce: Combine ketchup, chopped red onion, orange juice, 2 tablespoons vinegar, molasses, tomato paste, lemon juice, Worcestershire, liquid smoke, mustard, minced garlic, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon celery salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until serving.

  • Step 5

    When the timer goes off, remove the bag from the water bath. Remove the pork from the bag and reserve cooking liquid.

  • Step 6

    Shred the pork into small pieces. Discard bones and any large pieces of fat. Transfer pork to a bowl and cover with reserving cooking liquid. Refrigerate overnight.

  • Step 7

    While pork chills, make the pickled onion: Combine sliced onion, sugar, remaining tablespoon vinegar, and 1/4 teaspoon in a small bowl. Top with boiling water. Stir and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until serving.

    • Finishing Steps

    • Step 0

      To prepare sandwiches: Heat sauce in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until warm. Add 1 pound shredded pork. Reduce to heat to low and simmer until heated through.

    • Step 1

      Slice rolls in half. Divide pork between each roll and top with pickled onion. Serve.

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149 F / 65 C Recipe Temp
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