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Brown Beer-Braised Pulled Pork

February 2, 2010

Our Guest Chef today is a good friend of Mickey’s whom he met as a colleague in Antwerp.  Justin has since moved back to the states to start his own nonprofit organization Good Spark. Thanks Justin for sharing this mouth-watering recipe!


I truly wish there was a more creative story behind the origin of this dish, but the reality of the situation is that I had forgotten a few key ingredients for my regular pulled pork recipe and was too lazy to return to the store. I also had been diving in to a new sampler of brown ales and thought it prudent to avoid a potential DUI.

As with most of my cooking adventures, I try to supplement my lack of culinary prowess with some advice from the professionals. In the case, the beer provided the inspiration and a quick search of the interwebs gave me an idea of the components of most beer related pork recipes. Most of the recipes I came across seemed to focus more on the sweet than the savory when it came to the rub ingredients so I decided to take a detour there. The end result was a sort of Frankensteinesque patchwork of recipe ideas and beer induced creativity that turned out to be delicious.

Brown Beer-Braised Pulled Pork


-The Meat 4-6lb bone-in pork shoulder (boneless butts will work as well, but there is something about meat sliding off a bone that I just dig)

-The Rub maple or brown sugar, smoked sweet paprika, salt, your choice of chili/ground pepper based on your heat preference (I used red bell pepper and medium chili powder for this), garlic and some yellow mustard powder

-Rub Tip – I use even portions on most of the rub ingredients, but went a little easier on the garlic (you make up for it in the braising liquid) and little heavier on the smoked paprika and pepper (it mellows a lot during cooking). One other comment about spices in general; I don’t consider myself nazi, but I will say that my cooking has dramatically improved since I started using fresh spices. It is worth the extra buck or two to get good spices and you will notice a huge difference. Savory Spice shop out of Denver is where I get mine. No matter how much toasting you do of the stuff you find at most grocery stores, it will still taste like cardboard).

-The brew24oz of some good brown beer (I used Isolation Ale for this round)

-Brew Tip – most pilsners and lagers will be too light and anything in the IPA category should be avoided like the plague. I would also avoid any browns with a strong nutty flavor. I would stick with Bruns/Dubbels or mild ambers.

-The Rest

2tbs vegetable oil or olive oil

5 or 6 garlic cloves crushed (I took the skin off and just threw the big chunks in)

2 or 3 whole chiles sliced open (I threw in a chipotle and a habanero)

2 onions quartered (I used a yellow and a red)

The How:

1. Mix up the rub and spread it equally over the pork…let it sit out for around 30 minutes so it gets closer to room temp and absorbs a bit of the rub.

2. Arrange the oven racks so your big pot can get in there and sit in the middle. Set the oven to 300f.

3. Get out your Dutch oven or big pot with a tight lid (that’s what I used), and throw the oil in there and bring it up to medium heat…when it starts smoking drop the pork in there and brown all sides. You are just looking to brown it up a bit here so I would recommend about 2=3min/side.

4. Once the pork is browned, take it out and set it to the side. Reduce the heat a bit and throw in chiles, garlic cloves and onions. I added a bit more oil here and scraped up the browned bits. Your goal here is to soften up the onions and chiles a bit (about 7-10min)

5. Throw the pork back in and add the beer. Give it a stir to mix everything up and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, take it off the heat, cover it up and throw it in the oven for 3 hours.

6. Pull it out at 3hrs and test the tenderness…if it doesn’t come apart with a fork, flip the pork over…put the lid back on and throw it in for another 45 or so.

*Choose your own adventure

7. Simple path – take it out, trim the fat, shred it and enjoy

8. More involved (and tasty) path –Throw a strainer over a big bowl and dump the contents of the pot into the strainer (you want to keep the liquid). Place pork and strained solids back in the pot and shred the pork, and remove any large pieces of fat. Let the pork and braising liquid cool, then refrigerate both overnight or until the fat solidifies on the surface of the liquid. Once the fat has formed a hard layer, scrape it off and discard. Add liquid back to the pot and stir to combine.

-Tip – I actually put the liquid in a sauce pan and reduced it a bit and then added it back to the pot.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. February 2, 2010 8:15 am

    I just had pulled beef this Sunday and loved it. I was wondering how to make pulled meat. So glad that you are sharing this recipe – will certainly give it a try :-).

  2. foododelmundo permalink*
    February 2, 2010 8:47 am

    I LOVE that the recipe is a story in and of itself.
    The beer sounds delicious and it’s something I’ve got to try – and I just recently picked up some smoked sweet paprika in the hopes of finding a recipe for it – SCORE!
    Thanks for a great first post Justin! ~Mary

  3. February 2, 2010 9:26 am

    Beer with pork sounds amazing. After having a vegetarian dish, I am craving for this pork dish.

  4. Frank permalink
    February 2, 2010 9:27 am

    Sounds lekker mijneer!

  5. Pat permalink
    February 2, 2010 9:58 am

    Wow! Does this ever sound wonderful!!!
    We have some excellent pork in Roatan.
    I’m going to give this a try!!!
    Thanks, Justin!

  6. February 2, 2010 10:38 am

    I’ve never made a pulled pork recipe before, and I think this might be the ticket to get started. Thanks for the recipe!

  7. Justin's Mother permalink
    February 2, 2010 1:19 pm

    Who knew Justin would become such a “foodie?”…and he’s good at it! 🙂

  8. February 2, 2010 3:42 pm

    I have to do this pull pork. It seems so moist and delicious. Does it work with cider?

  9. February 2, 2010 4:54 pm

    I already know by the sound of this its perfect! Love the beer…so tender 🙂

  10. February 2, 2010 8:52 pm

    Sounds wonderful….Sean does pulled pork often but he has never used the beer…..Hmmm what do you know I’m sure we have at least 3 or 4 pork roasts in the freezer….I’m sure there was a sale….We have out of town guests coming next week we will have to give this a try!

  11. February 3, 2010 2:54 am

    I have a few cans of beer that need to be used up. This recipe sounds great.

  12. Vegetable Matter permalink
    February 3, 2010 11:37 am

    This is definitely a MANLY recipe. My husband would love it — he’s a vegetarian except for the occasional BBQ.

  13. Niki permalink
    February 5, 2010 4:50 am

    Sounds delicious! I’ll make sure Mick tries this recipe next time we do pulled pork! We already had a lot of Belgian fans of pulled pork and I’m sure we’ll have many more with this ‘brown beer’ recipe! 🙂
    Thanks for sharing Justin!

  14. foododelmundo permalink*
    February 8, 2010 4:37 pm

    made it, ate it and LOVED it!

  15. February 10, 2010 6:08 pm

    Great recipe can’t wait to braise some pork in a nice ale!

  16. July 24, 2010 2:52 pm

    My son (student at NECI) catered his Sister’s High School graduation party and prepared this entree. He modified the recipe a bit and braised about 50 lbs of Pork Shoulder Butt. He prepared some spicy and some Sweet. It was delicious and all of our guests raved about it. As sides, he prepared a white bean casserle, a vinegar based slaw, sun dried tomato pasta salad with wilted fresh spinac, and a more traditional pasta salad. Excellent! I’m trying it myself this weekend.

    • foododelmundo permalink
      July 25, 2010 1:02 pm

      What a FEAST! Thanks for letting us know!
      Congrats to your daughter and an even bigger KUDOS to your son!
      ~ Mary

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