Barbecue is taken very seriously where we live.  Kansas City is famous for it’s barbecue and there are plenty of great places to choose from if you’re ever in the area.  Our favorite is Oklahoma Joe’s, they have the absolute best burnt ends on this earth and no I don’t have a clue how they do it.  Any day of the week you could expect to stand in a long line running out the door just to get some of these tasty smoked meats.  By no means do I claim to be an expert on barbecue but I do love to eat it.  I would describe our KC barbecue sauce as a sweet heat.  It’s a bit on the spicy side with sweet tones behind it.  Just recently we watched Anthony Bordain “No Reservations” Kansas City and on this episode he ate barbecue at many of the local favorites. Joe and I sat there and drooled as they ate burnt ends, ribs, pulled pork and brisket.  I tell you, I wanted barbecue so bad I could hardly stand it.  I went to the freezer and pulled out a pork shoulder roast to thaw and the next day set about getting a dry rub, marinade and sauce ready for a pulled pork roast.  I slow cooked it for an entire day and as the hours passed by the aroma became intoxicating.  Every couple hours I would take a big fork and turn the roast over and when 8 hours had passed, the fork went in and the roast fell apart.

In my opinion you need a good rub to make a great barbecue.   My spice list included chili powder, brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, black and white pepper.   You can use whatever chili powder you prefer.  I ground 2 Ancho, 1 New Mexico Red, 1 Chile de Arbol and 1 Puya in a spice grinder to make my own chili powder.

Measure out the ingredients and mix together in a small bowl.  Set the rub aside.

I like a cheap picnic or shoulder roast for pulled pork.  Run it under cold water then pat dry.

When I pulled off the stretchy netting I found there were 2 pieces of roast held together.  Not a problem though.  Start pouring the rub over the roast.

Generously rub it in over all sides of the roast.  If you have any leftover rub, store it away and use it for chicken or ribs.  You can do this prep work the night before if you want.  Just cover it and place in the fridge overnight.

On to the marinade.  You’ll need a whole onion, 2 garlic cloves, some ketchup, cider vinegar, worcestershire sauce, beef bouillon, dry mustard, chili powder, and a coke.

Time to get this baby going.  I used a dutch oven but I have also made this in a slow cooker or crock pot.  I drizzled the dutch oven with olive oil and am going to sear the outside of my roast.

Turn it over to sear on all sides.  The spices will form a crust that will hold in the juices of the roast and keep it tender.

Set the roast aside for a few minutes while we get the marinade started.  Drizzle a little more oil in the dutch oven and add the diced onion.  Stir the pot over medium heat.

While the onions are sauteing, I started mixing the remaining marinade ingredients.  I started with the worcestershire sauce, cider vinegar, minced garlic, beef bouillon, and dry mustard.

Last but not least add the ketchup.  Stir it up good but don’t splash like I did.

Still keeping an eye on the onions and scraping the bottom of the pot, looks like they are now soft and translucent.

Add the marinade mix to the onions.

Pour in a can of Coca Cola.

Time to add the roast back into the pot.

Turn up the heat just until it begins to bubble, then turn the heat down low and simmer for 8 hours.  Turn the roast every couple hours.  I kept this on top of the stove versus the oven because it was a warm day and keeping the oven on for 6 – 8 hours would make the house too hot.  In colder weather I would definitely put this in the oven at 300 degrees for 6 – 8 hours.

Now you’ve got 8 hours to get your spicy barbecue sauce made and simmer long enough for the flavors to combine.  Again, you can use whatever chili powder you want.  I chose 3 ancho chiles which are dark in color and therefore made the sauce a dark earthy red color.  Lighter colored chiles will produce a redder sauce.  Also you’ll want a whole onion, 2 garlic cloves, some worcestershire sauce, cider vinegar, liquid smoke, yellow mustard, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika and brown sugar.

I wanted a small dice for the onion.

Drizzle a medium sized sauce pan with olive oil and add your onions.  Stir the onions over medium high heat until they become soft and translucent. This will only take a few minutes.

Add the minced garlic and saute a minute more.  I combined the dry spices of ancho chile powder, paprika, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper.

Add the spice mixture to the onion and garlic mix and stir until well combined.

By now you are being hit by some spicy aroma’s.

Start adding the remaining ingredients.  Give a stir after each addition.  I started with ketchup and brown sugar.

Next the yellow mustard.

And the cider vinegar, worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke.  Stir it all together then turn the heat down low and simmer for an hour.

By now the house is filled with spicy barbecue pork aroma.  After 8 hours the pork is completely falling apart.  I got two forks and started pulling the pork.

In just a few minutes my pan is full of tender pulled pork.

I added 3 – 4 ladles of the marinade juices back into the pulled pork.  This will help keep it juicy without making it soggy.

The pulled pork and barbecue sauce is ready to go.

Pile it high on a toasted roll.

And add some sauce.

Add a couple sides and chow down!

I sent leftovers home with Josh and he advised everyone to pile the coleslaw right on the sandwich (Carolina Style).  You’ll have to imagine it as he didn’t take any pictures!

Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwich

1 (3 1/2 pound) Pork Shoulder Roast
Olive Oil
10 – 12 Hamburger Buns
Dry Rub, recipe follows
Coca Cola Marinade, recipe follows
Spicy Barbecue Sauce, recipe follows

Run the shoulder roast under cold water; pat dry.  Generously sprinkle dry rub over all sides of the roast and rub in with your hands.  Heat a dutch oven over medium high heat on top of the stove and drizzle olive oil.  Add roast and sear on all sides.  Remove roast to a plate to rest.

Combine ingredients for the marinade in the dutch oven.  Add the roast back into the marinade, cover the dutch oven and turn the heat down to low.  Heat on low for 8 hours on top of the stove or 6 – 8 hours in a 300 degree oven.  Turn the pork every 2 hours.  It should be fork tender and falling apart after 6 – 8 hours.

Remove pork from the marinade.  Using 2 forks, pull pork apart to appear shredded.  Using a soup ladle, pour 3 – 4 spoonfuls of the marinade onto the pulled pork.

Toast hamburger buns.  Pile pulled pork on top of bun.  Serve with barbecue sauce.

Dry Rub  (adapted from Bobby Flay)

1 tablespoon Paprika
1 tablespoon Garlic Powder
1 tablespoon Onion Powder
1 tablespoon Chili Powder, (I used a combination of Ancho, NM Red, Chile de Arbol, and Puya)
1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon Coarse Salt
1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 teaspoon White Pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.  Store any unused dry rub in an airtight container.  May be used as a rub for chicken or ribs.

Coca Cola Marinade  (adapted from Southern Living 1996)

1 large Onion, diced large
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon Cider Vinegar
1 teaspoon Beef Bouillon Granules
1/2 teaspoon Dry Mustard
1 teaspoon Chili Powder (I used a combination of Ancho, Chile de Arbol and Cayenne)
1/2 cup Ketchup
1 can Coca Cola

Drizzle olive oil in a dutch oven.  Saute onions over medium high heat stirring the pot until they have become soft and translucent.  Combine worcestershire sauce, vinegar, minced garlic, beef bouillon, dry mustard, chile powder mix and ketchup into a medium sized bowl.  Mix well and add to the onions in the dutch oven.  Stir the pot scraping the bottom of the pot.  Slowly pour in the can of coke.   Add pork roast to the dutch oven to continue cooking.

Spicy Barbecue Sauce  (adapted from Famous Barbecue Sauce by Kittencal at

1 Onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 – 5 teaspoons Chili Powder (I used Ancho Chiles)
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
2 cups Ketchup
1 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Cider Vinegar
1/3 cup Yellow Mustard
1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
3 tablespoons Liquid Smoke

Drizzle olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat.  Add onion and saute until onions become soft and translucent.  Add minced garlic and saute a minute more.

Combine chili powder, paprika, cayenne, salt, and black pepper and add to the onion mixture.  Add in the remaining ingredients and stir until well combined.  Turn down the heat to low and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Cool to room temperature.  Refrigerate until needed.