This recipe is perfect for lazy cooks like me =). Start with pork shoulder or pork butt from your local grocery store. I purchased 5.5 pounds at Grand Central Market. Here it is covered in the dry rub mix, which is a combination of a few different recipes I looked up and some substitutions based on whatever I had available in my pantry. I used to obsessively follow recipes, but then I realized things came out so much better just thrown together. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
The dry rub is a mix of the following ingredients whisked together in a bowl and then hand rubbed on the pork generously:
paprika, kosher salt, black pepper (heavier on these)
garlic salt, tarragon and cayenne pepper (lighter on these)
I chopped one medium yellow onion and one medium carrot into chunks and layered them across the bottom of the slow cooker. My slow cooker is 3.7 quarts, this is only half the meat stuffed in here.
Place both pieces of meat across the bed of veggies. I admittedly goofed a bit and bought more meat than what is techincally allowed in my cooker (a 3.7 quart cooker should have been topped off at about 4 lbs of meat). A lot of forums online say that your slow cooker shouldn’t be more that 3/4 full including liquids (eek), so I clearly went way over that and filled mine to the brim. I am happy to say though that it worked out, so if you feel the need to overstuff that cooker, stuff away at your own discretion!
Once your meat and veggies are nicely tucked into the cooker, drizzle red wine vinegar (heavier on this), worcestershire sauce, honey and olive oil (lighter on these three) over the contents of the cooker. Just an FYI, when using a cooker, the liquid has nowhere to evaporate so don’t overdo it on the liquid. The pork itself will release quite a bit of liquid and if you use too much liquid to start, your cooker might overflow and the point of the slow cooker is to come home to a nice smelling kitchen, not huge mess you need to clean! =) So be wary. I’d say I used around a cup of liquid ingredients, and that’s combined.
Close that baby up and set it on low heat for 8-10 hours. I walked out the door at 8am and came home to turn it off at 6:30pm and it was perfect. When I got home, I checked the meat with a thermometer just to make sure it was at a safe temp (200 degrees is where you want to and should be).
If you need it to be done faster, you can cook it on high for less hours, between 4-6 hours. I did not try this method though so I cannot vouch for it, but mathematically, it makes sense. Either way, your result should be tender, tasty, falling apart pork. See exhibit below:
I used a slotted spoon and fork to pick out the pork and separate it. I tossed out any fatty parts and connective tissue parts that didn’t break down correctly so I was left with tender chunks. Save a cup or so of the vegetable and pork fat liquid to add to the pork if you think it needs some extra moisture. Mix well. The great thing about this pulled pork is the versatility of the cooked meat. It is virtually unseasoned, a blank slate of sorts, so you can freeze what you don’t need for up to three months and simply thaw it out when you decide to create a dish. My first dish using this pulled pork is a classic, sweet BBQ pulled pork sandwich. Check out my next post to see how I did it!