Last weekend's perfect summer weather inspired us to fire up the grill, and by "fire up" I mean, of course, push the button on my gas grill - because, people, it's hot outside. And because on the menu was a three-pound hunk of succulent pork shoulder, stowed away in the freezer from last summer's pig CSA. The plan was to grill it over indirect heat until the meat fell from the bone. And doing indirect heat on a gas grill is just easier, especially when you need about 3 hours of cooking time.
I set the pork in the fridge to season overnight in a gochujang marinade, a recipe using the Korean sweet and spicy chili paste that I got from a Gilt Taste video shoot. In the time it took for the meat to come back up to room temperature, hubby and I prepped the grill for indirect heat. We set one side on medium heat, placing a tray of wood chips in water over it to give a nice, smoky flavor to the pork. Then, we put the meat over the no-heat side and waited...and waited...and waited...
We figured it would take about three hours for the pork to get up to 190° F, when the meat can be pulled apart with your fingers. But after two and a half hours, the thermometer only read 155° . After three hours it was 160° . After three and a half hours it was 162° . But we could wait no longer.
So we sat down to table at 8:30 pm, the pork cooked through and sliceable, if not pull apart. The outside was pleasantly spicy from the marinade with an almost caramelized crust from the grill. In the last half hour of cooking, desperate to get the meat off the grill and into our bellies, we upped the heat to high. It really didn't do much for the internal temp, but it did give us that magnificent char.
I served it with a dollop of kimchi, slices of crisp juicy spring onions, and a brown rice noodle salad dressed with fresh ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, sweet cherry tomatoes, scallions, and basil. It was a meal worth waiting for - but you know what was even better? Pork sandwiches the next day. Cold sliced meat, kim chi, a good smear of mayo - heaven!
If you'll settle for nothing less than pull-apart pork (and, sure, sometimes that's the only thing that will do), leave the meat on the grill for sevreal more hours. But if sliced pork sounds good to you (and you have a life to live), three and a half hours will suffice.