Monday, 9 July 2012

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Pulled pork is all the rage these days and of course true pulled pork is make in a smoker and can take 16-20 hours to cook. I actually have a smoker and when I cook using it I add the meat to the smoker for a short period of time and then finish it in the oven. I like a bit of smoke taste but I don't want it overwhelming.I also like to leave the pork with some bigger chunks instead of just letting it cook to death and have it all mushy shreds. You enjoy the way you like it. I will have to do something in the smoker one day to show y'all but this pulled pork is great for busy people. You make it in the slow cooker and can set it up the night before and just turn it on as you head out for the day. 

You will need:
  • pork shoulder also called pork butt (mine is about 3.5 pounds/1.6 kg)
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1-2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp paprika (hot or sweet)
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder mix
  • 1 tbsp your favourite bar-b-q seasoning
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup apple juice or beer for the bottom of the pot
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp natural smoke 
To finish
  • approx 1/2 cup your favourite bar-b-q sauce 
  • pan drippings minus the fat skimmed off
  • 1-2 tbsp bar-b-q rub mix (above)

Step 1: wash and pat dry a pork shoulder which is also called pork butt. This is a fatty meat but, once it is cooked I will go through the meat and carefully remove every spec of fat. I like to keep the fat on for cooking but I don't want to eat it and I hate getting a nasty piece in a sandwich so I remove every single bit of all the gross parts to make a lovely pulled pork sandwich.

Step 2: chop an onion and spread on the bottom of the pot. Add the apple juice or beer to the pot. You don't need too much liquid just enough to get it going.

Step 3: in a small bowl add all the ingredients for your rub and then spread all over the meat. be generous but make sure to reserve 2 tbsp for the final sauce. At this stage you can add the meat to the pot and store in the fridge overnight. It will allow the seasonings to marinate the meat but, if you want to just start the cooker that is also fine.

Step 4: before turning on your cooker make the wet drizzle in a small bowl. Since we are not using a smoker a small amount of liquid smoke will give it a nice flavour.Take half the drizzle and pour or spoon over the top of the meat. Start cooker I do 8 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low. At the halfway point you can pour the remaining drizzle over the meat. If you are out for the day then save the remainder drizzle and add to your final saucing with the bar-b-q sauce.

This is the pork with the rub on it.

Then I add the drizzle.

This is a natural liquid smoke.

Step 5: once it has cooked it will be very tender. Remove it from the slow cooker and let it cool until you can handle it. Pull off all the fat and connective tissue leaving just the perfect chunks of meat.

Step 6: strain the liquid in the bottom of the pot. I have a fat separator which allows you to pour off the juice and leave the fat. You can also put the container in the fridge until the fat hardens and you just remove it like wax.

Step 7: add the meat to a large pan. Add some more of your rub, your favourite bar-b-q sauce and the juices from the crock pot and heat on low for approx 10 minutes. The meat will start to fall apart even more the longer you cook it so I don't fuss with it too much because I like some bigger chunks still left in it. If you are serving a crowd you can also return all of this step to the slow cooker and set it to low or warm. People can then get what they want and the rest stays warm. 

I always serve mine with coleslaw on a soft squishy bun. I also add a spicy bar-b-q sauce to make a nice contrast. It is sweet, smoky, salty and the coleslaw is tangy and cold in contrast to the hot rich meat.

My coleslaw is some cabbage, a kohlrabi, a carrot and cider vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper.

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