Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Pulled-pork-sandwich-499x446This has been a year of cookouts for us. Ironically, one of the most popular things I make for our cookouts are made in the house: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork. There’s nothing like it. This is one of three recipes I will put on this blog in the next few days. I also have one for pulled chicken and pulled beef.

There are several trains of thought on pulled pork. One is that you need a “basting” sauce if you cook it in the oven, but all you need to do is put a “rub” on the meat if you’re making it in a slow cooker. My train of thought? Why not both? It only adds to the incredible flavor. So, that’s the recipe I’m giving you.

Forget about using an “lean” pork cut for this dish. What you need is pork butt. Yes, it has fat in it, but there’s plenty of opportunity to get rid of the excess fat once the meat is cooked and easily separated. Frankly, there isn’t much to remove once the cooking is complete.

Ingredients for the Rub

1 boneless pork butt, about 3-4 lbs

2 tbsp dark brown sugar

6 garlic cloves, cut in half

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp paprika

1 tbsp coriander

1 tbsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp dried oregano

1 tbsp dried thyme

Directions for the Rub

First, make slices in the pork butt and insert the half garlic cloves. Then mix the rest of the ingredients together and rub all over the pork butt, top, bottom and sides. Place the pork butt in a dish, cover with plastic wrap and allow this to sit in the refrigerator overnight.

Directions for the Cooking Sauce (also known as Mop)

1 cup white vinegar

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp dark brown sugar

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp salt

2 tbsp red pepper flakes

Whisk all of this together the night before you put the pork in the slow cooker so that all the flavors meld together. Refrigerate overnight.

Directions for the Main Event

Remove the pork butt from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. This takes about an hour. Place the pork butt into a slow cooker, add the mop, and cook on “high” for 8 hours. The meat will be tender and will easily fall apart. Keep an eye on the pork. As it becomes tender, break it into several smaller pieces. This helps to enhance the flavor.

When done, separate the rest of the pork with two forks. This is the perfect time to remove any pieces of fat that may be present. Move to a serving dish with sides, and spoon the mop over the pulled pork to keep the meat moist. Serve with sandwich buns (not burger buns; too small) and top with a nice North Carolina barbecue sauce (recipe follows).

North Carolina Vinegar-Based Barbecue Sauce

barbecue sauce squeeze bottlesI am definitely not a fan of traditional ketchup-based barbecue sauces. I also do not like the barbecue sauces that you can purchase prepared from the store. I prefer the vinegar-based sauces that you make yourself.

Invest in some barbecue squeeze bottles. They are not difficult to find, and they are not expensive.

Here’s my recipe.

Ingredients

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup white vinegar

1 tbsp Kosher or Sea salt

1 tbsp light brown sugar

1 tbsp Tabasco sauce

1 tbsp Ketchup

1 tbsp Dijon Mustard

1 tsp ground black pepper

Directions

Place all ingredients into a small, non-reactive pan and bring to a boil. Whisk until the salt and brown sugar dissolve. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cooled, place into a barbecue squeeze bottle and refrigerate overnight before using.

Cook’s Note: By the way, my homemade baked beans make an ideal side dish for pulled pork sandwiches.

 

 

 

 

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