Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter
SUBSCRIBE

One of Al Roker's favorite types of food is barbecue. In fact, he loves it so much that he makes his own rub and vinegar sauce. And lucky for us, he's sharing his recipes for a barbecue rub that he uses to season his pulled pork, plus a vinegar sauce for the pork and his signature baked beans.

Samantha Okazaki / Today

Al's BBQ rub

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne 

Mix together all ingredients and set aside.

Al's vinegar sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon Louisiana-style hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

Mix together all ingredients and set aside. 

Samantha Okazaki / Today

Oven-made pulled pork

Ingredients

  • 6 pounds boneless pork shoulder or butt, with a thin layer of fat left on
  • 3/4 cup Al's BBQ rub
  • 3 tablespoons neutral cooking oil (such as canola)
  • 1 cup Al's vinegar sauce
  • 1 cup water

Chef's note: Pork can be made 1-2 days ahead, and re-heated before serving.

Place the pork onto a work board fat side up and spread 1/4 cup rub over the surface. Turn the pork over and spread it out as far as it will go. With a sharp knife, slice halfway down through the thickest portions of the meat. Apply remaining rub evenly over the entire surface of the meat, rubbing it into the sliced areas.   

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place the oil into a thick-bottomed pot or Dutch oven and heat on a burner over medium-high until oil is hot. Add the pork, fat side down, and let sear for 3-4 minutes, taking care that the spices get browned, but not burnt.

Mix together 1 cup vinegar sauce and water, then pour into the pot to the side of the pork, not over it. (Reserve remaining vinegar sauce to serve with pork later.) With tongs or a large fork, lift the edges of the pork to let the liquid settle underneath. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot and place into the oven for 3 hours. 

Remove the pot from the oven and increase oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Transfer the pork to a wire rack set over a sheet pan. Place in oven for 25-30 minutes, until surface is browned and crisp. While pork is in the oven, simmer the liquids in the pot to reduce. Transfer to a gravy separator and let sit about 5 minutes for the fat to rise to the surface. Pour the sauce into a serving bowl, stopping before the fat pours out.

Once pork is out of oven, let sit for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Place pork onto a work board and 'pull' the meat apart into shreds, or slice thinly with a sharp knife. Serve as desired, with both the reduced sauce and the remaining vinegar sauce on the side.  

Samantha Okazaki / Today

Baked beans

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried Navy beans, picked over and rinsed
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, or 6 slices regular bacon
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark molasses
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ to 2 ½ cups apple cider or water

Put the baked beans in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover them by 2 inches. Soak the beans overnight in a cool place. Drain the beans and return them to the pot. Add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Cover the pot, set it over high heat, and bring the water to boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the beans, covered until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the pot from the heat and drain the beans in a colander. Dry the pot.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Put the bacon in the pot, and put the pot over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon for a couple minutes or so until it releases about 1 tablespoon of fat. Remove the bacon from the pot using a slotted spoon- reserve the bacon fat in the pot- and chop half of the slices. Set the chopped bacon and while strips aside for the moment. Add the onion to the pot with the bacon fat, and sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft but not browned. Return the beans to the pot, and add the chopped bacon, brown sugar, molasses, ketchup, mustard, and salt. Stir well. Top with the remaining whole strips of bacon.

Pour in enough cider or water so you can just see it seeping through the top of the beans. Bake covered for 2 hours. Remove the cover and bake an additional 3 to 4 hours, or until the beans are dark and very tender. If the beans seem to be drying out, add more cider or water as needed. Serve the beans hot, from the pot.