Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
I know I promised you a recipe using chicken stock, but I have something special in mind, and I haven’t yet had a chance to make it. So, while we’re waiting, something else warm, yummy, comforting, and pretty much the perfect thing for these shorter, colder days.
I love this recipe because it takes a minimum of effort, and is ridiculously cheap. This is one of those recipes where buying an expensive cut of meat does not necessarily make the final result better. Pork shoulder works great or a pork butt, don’t worry about a little marbling, the fat adds to the flavor.
You’ll need your handy slow-cooker for this one, and the slow-cooker is the perfect tool for low-and-slow. This method of cooking makes a final product that is incredibly flavorful, tender, and there is almost no work involved.
I started out with a pork roast. This one was under $5. Tenderloin is lovely, but save it for something else. All you’re looking for is a big hunk of meat (Sigh. Aren’t we all???!) Start by searing off the meat at a relatively high temperature in a frying pan with a little oil. Liberally salt and pepper the meat before you put it in the pan, just a few minutes on each side, until it gets a bit caramelized.
An optional additional step you can do before this is to create a rub and give your roast a nice massage with it a few hours prior to searing. I used something very similar to Guilty Kitchen’s rub that she puts on her baby back ribs here, but I added a couple tablespoons of brown sugar to mine. After giving your meat the spa treatment, put it back in the fridge for a few hours, or even better, overnight.
In the morning, sear the meat off, and fire it into the slow-cooker on low heat. This in and of itself could make a really tasty roast, but to add yet another layer of flavor, add some barbeque sauce. My fridge is never without Bull’s Eye Old West Hickory BBQ sauce, but I thought, to keep it all authentic-like, I’d make one up from scratch.
- 1/3 c. onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 c ketchup
- 1/3 c vinegar (cider vinegar if you have it, it’s slightly sweeter)
- 1/4 c brown sugar
- 1 tbsp mustard or mustard powder
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce (or some combination of the two)
- 2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
- salt and pepper to taste
Fire all ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Pour over your roast in the slow cooker, put the lid on, and leave it to go on low for about 6-8 hours.
And it will look something like this:
Remove the roast from the crock-pot and put it on a large cutting board. Pour the leftover BBQ sauce into a saucepan and allow it to thicken by simmering it for about 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, using two forks pulling in opposite directions, shred, or “pull” the pork. It should shred very easily.
You can mix the thickened BBQ sauce back into the pork at this point, or you can serve it on the side.
Pulled pork is traditionally served as a sandwich, in a nice, soft, large bun, with a cabbage slaw, the BBQ sauce, and dill pickles, but there are many other ways to enjoy it. I had the leftovers on a pizza a couple of days later.
UPDATE: I served this as tacos, in small corn tortillas that I just kissed on the grill, with slaw on top dressed with a nice sesame Asian dressing, and it was also very, very good.