These pulled-pork sliders get their deeply savory flavor from pork in two forms: bone-in shoulder and smoky slab bacon.
- 1 bone-in pork shoulder (8 to 10 pounds), skin on
- 4 ounces slab bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon packed light-brown sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsulfured molasses
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 3 tablespoons white vinegar
- About 4 cups water
- 60 mini brioche buns, split
- Sliced pickles (optional)
Allow pork to come to room temperature, about 2 hours. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cook bacon in a Dutch oven or other large ovenproof heavy pot over medium-low heat until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate. Season pork generously with salt and pepper, and sear, skin side down, in pot until golden, about 5 minutes. Flip, and repeat.
Return bacon to pot. Stir sugar, molasses, ketchup, and vinegar together, and add to pot. Add water to reach three-quarters up sides of pork. Cover pot, and bring to a simmer.
Transfer to oven, and braise pork, basting every hour, until liquid is thick and syrupy and meat is falling off the bone, about 6 hours.
Transfer pork to a rimmed baking sheet; let rest 20 minutes. Meanwhile, skim fat from braising liquid, and discard. Remove skin from pork, and discard. Shred meat, and return to pot with braising liquid. Serve on buns with pickles.