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Tennessee Pulled Pork Sandwich

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Serves 8


1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, lightly crushed, with juice
1/2 cup plus more to taste white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. plus more to taste honey
2 more to taste Spanish smoked paprika
1 6 to 8 lbs. pork picnic shoulder
2 more to taste kosher salt
1 more to taste pepper, freshly ground black
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, trimmed, peeled,and quartered
4 large plum tomatoes, cored
8 brioche buns


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the canned tomatoes, 6 tablespoons vinegar, honey, and paprika in a large Dutch oven. Bring ingredients to a simmer over medium-high heat. Place pork, skin side up, on a work surface. With a sharp knife, slice the skin from the shoulder with a light sawing motion, working back from the point diagonally across from the leg end where the skin forms a corner (to save time, ask your butcher to do this for you). Leave a thin layer of fat on the shoulder. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add oil to a 12 inch skillet and heat over high heat. When oil just begins to smoke, and shimmers, place the pork in the skillet, skin side down, and sear for about 3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Place the pork skin side down in the Dutch oven with the tomato braising liquid.
  3. Add onion and plum tomatoes to the skillet (not Dutch oven) and cook, turning every few minutes, until the skin of the tomatoes blacken and blister, and the onion is caramelized on all sides. Tuck the onion and tomatoes around the pork in the Dutch oven. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of vinegar to the skillet and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping any caramelized pork, onion, and tomato bits from the bottom. Pour over pork.
  4. Cover Dutch oven, transfer to the oven, and cook for 30 minutes. Baste the pork, then turn down the heat to 300F. Continue cooking, basting every 30 minutes, until the pork is very tender, about 2.5 hours. Remove pork from the oven, transfer to a cutting board with a gutter, and let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Season the sauce with additional vinegar, honey, paprika, salt, and pepper, to taste. Serve on brioche buns.
Course: Dinner
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