We tried the packaged Costco Pulled Pork (Kirkland Signature Brand) and my family did NOT like it at all. There is something strange/off/not quite right about the product.
The HUGE problem it that the meat has been cured but there is a second problem that I cannot put my finger on it. If anyone can help me figure this out then PLEASE leave a comment down below.
I am not hating on this product because it is “store bought barbecue”. I have eaten a lot of Kirkland brand barbecue products and usually enjoy them, especially the smoked brisket slices.
Everything About the Pulled Pork Looks Right
I checked out the packaging before I bought this stuff and everything looked on point. This was a Kirkland Brand product which, in my experience, has always meant high quality.
The label also tells a good story about how the pork is slow smoked for 10 hours over hickory logs. This is exactly what I wanted to see.
I figured that if Kirkland was going to smoke a pork butt for 10 hours then it could save me the time and hassle of doing it myself.
The product costs $5.49 per pound and you get two pounds of pulled pork per package. The pricing seems appropriate and by that I mean it is not priced so cheaply that it could only have been made from scraps.
The Pulled Pork is Not Right
The meat comes in a plastic pouch that you can heat up by simmering in a water bath for 15-20 minutes.
This came out of the water bath and, as soon as it was out of the bag I could immediately tell that the smell was wrong. The pork did not smell like it was “bad” or unsafe to eat. It just had an aroma that was inconsistent with smoked pulled pork.
I tried eating the pork plain straight off my fork and got confused. The meat was extremely smoky, greasy and salty and did not taste like pulled pork.
I was pleased with the smoke flavor but the greasiness was simply overwhelming. I am not complaining simply because the pork had some fat in it. This was a deep penetrating greasiness that almost makes you feel dirty.
The only way we could get through this was to cover up the meat in barbecue sauce and put it on a bun with a big pile of creamy coleslaw. Between the bread, sauce and slaw there was enough extra action going on to cover up the off flavors and greasiness.
I put the leftover pulled pork in the refrigerator and figured I could use it in some nachos or tacos. The next day I opened up the leftovers and as soon as the smell hit my nose I knew there was no way any more of that stuff was going into my mouth.
The leftovers went straight to the trash. I am not alone in saying that this product is nasty.
I didn’t even consider feeding the leftovers to my dogs.
The Pork has Been Cured
The first problem with this product is that the meat has been cured with nitrites. The use of nitrites is indicated on the label and you can absolutely taste it in the meat.
By curing the pork with nitrites the meat comes out tasting like a ham instead of pulled pork.
What has me confused is why the producers went through the trouble, and incurred the extra cost, of curing the meat. This makes absolutely no sense.
What is the Other Problem?
The fact that the meat has been cured does not completely answer the question of why this product is so bad.
I like ham. Cured pork, while unexpected in this application, is not a bad thing.
In theory this product should taste like a shredded ham which, while not traditional pulled pork, should still be tasty.
But that deep greasiness, smoke and off putting smell ….. it was just awful!
I am missing something here to explain why this product was so over the top bad. If you have any ideas as to what is going on then please leave a comment below!