Breeder: “This year’s specimen is perfect. Nothing can stop him! Ha ha ha! What power!”
Soldier: “Hey, make him stop! It’s too early to let him loose!”
Breeder: “How? I have no control over him.”
Soldier: “Dammit! Open the gate at once! The gate’s gonna fall apart!”
Breeder: “GO, ZAGHNOL!”
This recipe takes all day (and sometimes into the night), so plan ahead and get all your tools and ingredients together the day before. A good-quality digital thermometer is an absolute necessity, and make sure you have enough wood to keep the fire going for 12 hours! If you don’t have access to a grill, you can also cook the pork in the oven, but you’ll lose that special flavor that comes from the wood smoke.
- 1 Boston butt (bone-in pork shoulder roast, 4 to 6 pounds)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt per pound of meat
1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
1 teaspoon whole fennel seed
- 1 teaspoon whole mustard seed
1 teaspoon whole coriander
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- Barbecue sauce (Mandragora Jam works well)
- 10 to 12 hamburger buns
Begin 12 to 24 hours before you plan to start cooking. Trim most of the fat, but not all, leaving about 1/8″. Pork butt often comes tied with butcher’s twine to keep them from falling apart. If yours is not already tied, tie it with twine. Wash and thoroughly dry the meat, then salt it and refrigerate overnight.
Prepare a grill or smoker for indirect heat. Place cumin seed, fennel seed, mustard seed, and coriander in a grinder and grind fine. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in chili powder, onion powder, and paprika. Wet the meat all over with water and cover with the rub.
Place the meat fat-side down on the grill and cook at 225 degrees for about 10–12 hours, checking once per hour to make sure fuel is sufficient and smoker temperature is under 250 degrees. For the first couple of hours, you can also add a handful of hickory or cherry wood chips every half-hour or so, if desired.
The meat is done when temperature at the very center reaches at least 195 degrees. Transfer the pork roast to a cutting board, loosely tent it with aluminum foil, and let rest for 15 minutes.
Wearing heavy-duty rubber gloves if desired, pull off and discard any skin from the meat, then pull the pork into pieces, discarding any bones or fat. Using your fingertips or a fork, pull each piece of pork into shreds 1 to 2 inches long and 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide.
Serve on hamburger buns with barbecue sauce on the side for topping. Fried in a little fat, leftovers make great carnitas tacos the next day.