Are you a fan of pulled pork? Do you love the tender, juicy meat that falls apart with just a touch of your fork?
If so, you may have wondered whether or not you should remove the string or netting from your pork shoulder before cooking. It’s a common question among home cooks, and the answer is not always clear.
In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of leaving the string on your pork shoulder, as well as tips for removing it if you choose to do so.
So grab a fork and let’s dig in!
Do You Take String Off Pork Shoulder Pulled Pork?
When it comes to cooking a pork shoulder for pulled pork, you may notice that it often comes with netting or string around it. This is meant to help the meat retain its shape while cooking, but many people wonder if it should be removed before cooking or after.
The answer is that it depends on your personal preference and the recipe you are using. Leaving the string on can help the meat stay together while cooking, which can make it easier to handle and serve. However, some people find that the string can affect the texture of the meat and prefer to remove it before cooking.
If you choose to remove the string, it’s important to do so carefully. Use a sharp knife or kitchen scissors to cut away the netting or string without cutting into the meat. Once the string is removed, you can season and cook the pork shoulder as desired.
What Is The String/netting On Pork Shoulder?
The string or netting on pork shoulder is there to help the meat maintain its shape while cooking. It prevents the meat from falling apart and becoming unappealing. The netting is made of food-grade material and is safe to cook with. It is an updated version of butchers string and is designed to withstand the heat expansion in the oven.
Leaving the netting on can make the meat more presentable when serving, as it helps to keep it together. However, if you prefer to remove it, you can do so carefully with a sharp knife or kitchen scissors. It’s important to note that boneless pork loins may not have netting, but they may not be as moist or flavorful as pork shoulders due to their lower fat content. Ultimately, whether or not you choose to remove the netting will depend on your personal preference and the recipe you are using.
Why Is The String/netting Left On Pork Shoulder?
The netting or string on a pork shoulder or other pork roast is typically left on to help the meat retain its shape while cooking. As the meat cooks, it can separate from the bones and become unappealing in appearance. The string or netting helps to keep the meat together and presentable when it’s time to serve.
Some pork shoulders may also come with netting or string because they have been deboned and are in an odd shape. In this case, the netting helps to hold the meat together and keep it from falling apart.
While leaving the string on can be helpful, there are some drawbacks. When the netting is removed after cooking, some of the meat may stick to it, which can be frustrating for those who want to present their pulled pork in a certain way. Additionally, some people find that the string can affect the texture of the meat and prefer to remove it before cooking.
Ultimately, whether or not you leave the string on your pork shoulder is up to personal preference. If you prefer to remove it, be sure to do so carefully to avoid damaging the meat.
Reasons To Remove The String/netting Before Cooking
There are a few reasons why you might want to remove the string or netting from your pork shoulder before cooking. Firstly, leaving the string on can cause the meat to cook unevenly, as the string can act as a barrier and prevent heat from reaching certain areas of the meat. This can result in some parts of the meat being overcooked while others are undercooked.
Another reason to remove the string is that it can affect the flavor and texture of the meat. The string can create pressure points on the meat, which can cause it to cook unevenly and result in tough, chewy sections. Additionally, the string can prevent seasoning and rubs from penetrating the meat, which can lead to a less flavorful end result.
Finally, removing the string or netting can give you more surface area to work with when seasoning and rubbing your pork shoulder. This can help to create a more flavorful end result, as the seasoning will be able to penetrate more deeply into the meat.
How To Safely Remove The String/netting From Pork Shoulder
If you decide to remove the string from your pork shoulder before cooking, it’s important to do so safely in order to avoid damaging the meat. Here are the steps to follow:
1. Wait until the pork shoulder has finished thawing, if it was frozen. Trying to remove the string while the meat is still partially frozen can be difficult and may result in tearing or damaging the meat.
2. Place the pork shoulder on a clean cutting board and use a sharp knife or kitchen shears to carefully cut away the netting or string. Take care not to cut into the meat itself, as this can cause it to lose moisture and flavor.
3. If the string is tightly wound around the meat, you may need to use a little extra force to remove it. However, be careful not to pull too hard or you may damage the meat.
4. Once the string is removed, season the pork shoulder as desired and cook according to your recipe.
By following these steps, you can safely remove the string from your pork shoulder and ensure that it cooks evenly and retains its flavor and moisture.
Tips For Cooking Pork Shoulder With Or Without The String/netting
If you decide to leave the netting or string on the pork shoulder, there are a few tips to keep in mind for successful cooking:
1. Cook to the right temperature: It’s important to cook the pork shoulder until it reaches a safe internal temperature of 150 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature will rise to 160 or 165 degrees while it rests.
2. Use non-stick cooking spray: The mesh bag can sometimes stick to the meat and cause some of the seasoning to come off when you remove it. To prevent this, spray the roast and mesh bag with non-stick cooking spray before seasoning and baking.
3. Loosen the bag: Before adding any seasoning, loosen up the bag all around. By doing this, you can reduce the amount of meat that sticks to the bag after cooking.
4. Sear with the bag on or off: You can sear the meat with the bag on or off, depending on your preference. If you choose to sear with the bag on, make sure that the cotton string can hold up to being seared prior to being put in the oven.
If you decide to remove the netting or string from the pork shoulder, here are some tips:
1. Remove carefully: Use a sharp knife or kitchen scissors to cut away the netting or string without cutting into the meat.
2. Tie with kitchen twine: If you’re worried about the meat falling apart without the netting or string, you can tie it up with kitchen twine before cooking.
3. Cook to the right temperature: Like with leaving the netting on, it’s important to cook the pork shoulder until it reaches a safe internal temperature of 150 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Let it rest: Once cooked, let the pork shoulder rest for at least 10-15 minutes before pulling it apart for pulled pork. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and make it more tender and flavorful.
Final Thoughts: To String Or Not To String?
After considering the information above, it’s clear that leaving the string on the pork shoulder can be beneficial for maintaining the shape of the meat while cooking. However, if you prefer to remove it, there are ways to do so without damaging the meat.
Some people also suggest using alternative methods to keep the meat together, such as using kitchen twine or caul fat. Ultimately, it’s up to personal preference and the specific recipe being used.
It’s important to note that while some people may argue that leaving the string on can affect the texture of the meat, this is not always the case. In fact, many successful pulled pork recipes use pork shoulder with the string still intact.