mcostanza / Apple Cider Bourbon Pulled Pork
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1 pork shoulder or pork butt (7 to 8 pounds with bone, 6 to 7 pounds if boneless)
1 large onion, halved and cut in strips
2 apples, diced
1 cup cane-sweetened cola (Mexican coke, root beer, etc)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup + 1/4 cup bourbon
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Heat the oven to 500 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, then fit a wire rack inside it.
Make the spice rub. Place the salt, brown sugar, paprika, black pepper, chili powder, smoked paprika, dry mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, cornstarch, cayenne, and celery seeds in a small bowl and stir to combine.
Pat the pork dry with paper towels. Evenly coat the pork with 1/2 of the rub, then place it on the wire rack fat-side up if possible. Roast until the pork is sizzling with a bit of char on the edges, about 10 minutes, but don't let the spices burn and turn acrid.
Place the onions and apples in a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Sprinkle with the remaining rub. Pour in the cola, 1/2 cup bourbon, vinegar, and Worcestershire.
Transfer the pork to the slow cooker. Cook on LOW setting until the pork is soft enough to pull apart with a spoon, 14 to 16 hours.
Transfer the pork to a large bowl and let stand until cool enough to handle. Shred with two forks.
Transfer the remaining liquid and solids (now caramelized onions and apples) to a sauce pot. Add the remaining 1/4 cup bourbon and simmer until reduced by half. Skim the fat if you choose. Pour over and toss with the shredded pork to moisten.