Main dish

Hatch chile pulled pork

Hatch chile pulled pork | Homesick Texan

Over the weekend, I went to a family barbecue at my Uncle Bubba’s house. He was celebrating a milestone birthday, and all his siblings, including my dad, and their spouses came into town to honor the occasion. There were cousins and grandkids on hand, as well. It was a fine time.

Bubba is quite creative and has built himself a beautiful pit to smoke pounds and pounds of meat. It’s made from cinder blocks and metal, which he welded himself, and it produced for the family a bounty of smoky proteins, including brisket, pork ribs, beef ribs, sausage, and chicken, along with a big tray of pulled pork.

When he and I were talking about his spread, he showed me some store-bought sauces he had for those who may require it, though he and I agreed that if properly done, smoked meat doesn’t need any enhancement. Indeed, I ate brisket, chicken, and ribs, and each bite was perfectly seasoned and tender and moist. I was satisfied.

The next day, we returned to his house and we enjoyed another round of the barbecue. I noticed that the pulled pork was simmering in sauce on the stove, though the day before it had been unadorned like the other meats.

I asked about it, and Bubba laughed and told me it had dried out from sitting over warmers, and the only way to resurrect it was to drench it in sauce. Curious how it tasted, I spooned some of the pork onto my plate, and it was still excellent with the sauce along with some pickles my cousin had made.


Hatch chile pulled pork | Homesick Texan

Now, I don’t have a yard so I haven’t taken on smoking my own meats yet (though with family members who do enjoy it, perhaps it’s time to learn!) but making a pork shoulder and saucing it is a good approximation of barbecue that can be done anywhere.

Bubba sauced his pork with a tomato-based sauce, which is a classic Texan flavor that’s delicious. Though El Paso-native John Lewis, who is a pitmaster that honed his craft in Austin with Aaron Franklin and at LA Barbecue before moving to Charleston and opening his own Texas-style place, serves a sauce made with his hometown’s green chiles instead of tomatoes. He’s shared his recipe with several publications, so I recently made a batch then applied it to shredded pork that I’d slowly roasted in the oven.

Hatch chile pulled pork | Homesick Texan

The sauce is a blend of mustard and green chiles, which goes very well with pork, along with seafood and poultry. It has a tangy kick that’s a touch sweet from honey and ketchup, though it’s not cloying at all. I applied it to an oven-based roast that had been pulled, though it would work well with one that had been smoked, too.

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Hatch chile pulled pork | Homesick Texan
5 from 2 votes
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Hatch chile pulled pork

Course Main Course
Cuisine Texan
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 8
Author Lisa Fain, with the sauce adapted from a John Lewis recipe

Ingredients

For the Hatch chile barbecue sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ¼ medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped roasted Hatch chiles
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch cayenne

For the pork:

  • 3 pounds pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • Hatch chile barbecue sauce (recipe above)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Water
  • Buns, for serving,
  • Coleslaw, for serving
  • Pickles, for serving
  • Sliced onions, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. To make the Hatch chile barbecue sauce, heat the butter in a skillet on medium-low and add the onions. While occasionally stirring, cook for 5 minutes until fragrant then stir in the garlic. Cook for 1 more minute then remove from the heat.
  3. Place the onions and garlic into a blender along with the Hatch chiles, vinegar, mustard, oil, honey, ketchup, salt, cumin, and cayenne. Blend until smooth then taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
  4. To make the pork, place the meat in a Dutch oven, and toss with 2 tablespoons of the Hatch barbecue sauce. Evenly season the meat with the salt, pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce. Add enough water to the pot to almost reach the top of the meat, without covering it.
  5. Place in the oven and cook uncovered until fork-tender, 2 to 2.5 hours.
  6. When the meat is done, remove the pot from the oven. When cool enough to handle shred the meat, stirring in some of the pan juices to taste, if desired.
  7. Toss the meat with ¼ cup of the sauce, then serve on buns with pickles, onions, and coleslaw with more sauce on the side.

Recipe Notes

While you may use any coleslaw that you prefer, I have found that 4 cups of shredded cabbage, 2 tablespoons of the Hatch chile barbecue sauce, 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, and sliced green onions, along with salt and pepper to taste, makes a fine coleslaw and topping. 

  1. Sarah G

    This looks amazing! For those of us who have a harder time getting Hatch chilis, what would you recommend as a substitute pepper? Can’t wait to make this!

    • Lisa Fain

      Sarah–Anaheim chiles will work. You can also used canned green chiles, which are made with Hatch or Anaheim. For that, I’d use two 4-ounce cans with the liquid. You could also roast poblano chiles instead.

  2. Jill Westwood

    Must be a family trait as I gave Dan a smoker and insisted that he learn. Bubba’s beef ribs were like Christmas in my mouth. Absolutely delicious. Hoping we can duplicate soon. It was so wonderful to spend time with you. You are such a joy.

    • Lisa Fain

      Jill–Weren’t they amazing? I loved everything about that meal and the weekend. And it was such a joy spending time with you and Dan. I feel spoiled that I got to see you two years in a row! Looking forward to our next gathering, and perhaps it will be a taco tour in your new hometown!

  3. Terry Mc

    I can’t wait to try this – it looks delicious and I’m a fan of your recipes and memories of growing up in TX. Can the sauce be prepared in advance? How long does it keep?

    • Lisa Fain

      Terry–Yes, you can definitely make the sauce ahead of time. It will keep for a week, refrigerated.

  4. stephanie

    5 stars
    i made this the day after you posted it and wow was it good. the “medium” hatch i had left in my freezer from last year’s crop were hotter than hell so i added a bit of extra cane vinegar to tamp down the heat slightly. the method for cooking the pork was also amazing – my usual oven pulled pork takes so much longer and doesn’t come out as juicy, so this will be my new go to! i also made a basic slaw (bagged slaw, mayo, mustard, sugar, salt, apple cider vinegar) and added some of the sauce to the slaw as suggested – out of this world! sounds crazy but i would make the sauce again even just for the slaw. enjoyed it with your blueberry cornbread which is also a staple here with or without the berries.

    thanks as always for another amazing keeper of a recipe. (really three in one!) can’t wait to make this again with a new batch of true medium hatch coming later this week.

    • Lisa Fain

      Stephanie–You’ve made my day! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed the recipes. And I agree, that sauce is definitely worthy of making for coleslaw alone!

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