Who needs a babe sippin’ on Southern and singin’ Marshall Tucker… all we want right now is this pulled pork sandwich!
The heaping pile of smoked meat will be served backstage to Florida Georgia Line, Gary Allan and other country stars at Maryland’s Sunday in the Country music festival this weekend.
Held just outside Baltimore, the sold-out bash draws thousands of fans each year for a back-to-back lineup of concerts basically in the middle of the woods—the amphitheater (designed by Frank Gehry!) is surrounded by a 40-acre forest.
The pulled pork spread is coming from Maryland’s Mission BBQ, a spot that brings together the country’s top barbecue regions. Chefs smoke meat for 12 hours over white oak to get it tender and juicy, but from there, think of Mission as choose-your-own-adventure barbecue: With a slew of housemade sauces, you can dress your dinner Texas-style, Memphis-style, Georgia-style, Kansas City-style and more. Personally, we’ll always go for the spicy-sweet twang of a Carolina-style vinegar sauce.
Another cool thing about Mission: Owners donate a portion of proceeds to local police and fire stations, and The Wounded Warrior Project.
If we can’t chow down Carolina-style with country’s best this weekend, at least we can recreate this pulled pork sandwich at home. Co-owner Steve Newton shares the home cook’s version (read: no giant backyard smoker needed).
Carolina Pulled Pork with Red Rub
1 cup paprika
1 cup kosher salt
6 tbsp. black pepper
6 tbsp. garlic powder
4 tbsp. chili powder
4 tbsp. onion powder
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 cup brown sugar
1 bone-in pork shoulder, 5-6 pounds (choose the one with the most even layer of fat around the shoulder)
1. Mix first 9 ingredients together to make the red rub.
2. Rinse pork shoulder with cold water and pat with paper towels, leaving it moist for the red rub to adhere to the meat. Rub pork all over with the red rub, applying generously. You will have leftover rub—save it in a mason jar to use in future recipes.
3. Cover pork with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator fat side up. Let marinate at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
4. Preheat oven to 225 F. Remove pork shoulder from the refrigerator and place into a roasting pan, fat side up. Cook 6-7 hours, or until a meat thermometer reads 180 degrees. Remove from oven and let rest for 20 minutes.
5. Remove the bone using a towel (be careful—it will be hot). Using two forks, pull the pork into small, medium and large pieces. Serve on hamburger buns with pickles, sliced onions and, if desired, Misson’s Spicy Carolina Vinegar Sauce (recipe below) and/or slaw.
Spicy Carolina Vinegar Sauce
2½ cups apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp. brown sugar
3 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. crushed red pepper
2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. hot sauce
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. paprika
Mix together well and pour over pulled pork right before eating.