You’ll have to wait through hours of gorgeous smells…but the end result is succulent, tender and delicious meat with this Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
I know some of you will think I’m crazy, but I’ve never been much of a crock pot person. My parents always cooked on the stovetop, and I learned from them. Plus I cook for just me, and I’m not a fan of leftovers, so it didn’t make sense to buy a big slow cooker. About 4 years ago I bought a mini crockpot, but only because I needed to make queso for a party. I planned to use it regularly, but once I put it away, that’s where it stayed…until the next party.
I’ve recently considered buying a slow cooker, because I’ve seen so many delicious recipes on Pinterest. But then I go back to the same thing…what to do with the leftovers? I certainly don’t want all that food to go to waste, and I know that if I portion and freeze it, I’ll forget about it forever.
I needed to create a grilled cheese recipe over the weekend, and decided to do Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese. Great idea, but that meant making pulled pork. And I had no idea where to start. Thankfully, Pinterest came to the rescue with dozens of recipes. Little did I know, though, that the grocery store doesn’t believe in pork butt in small portions; initially I couldn’t find anything smaller than 6lbs. I considered buying the pre-made pulled pork instead but everything already had sauce, it limited my recipe options, and it was’t worth it for the price. Finally I found a 3 1/2lb pork butt.
Still a lot of meat, but at least it was manageable. The recipes I found covered every end of the spectrum: seasonings, no seasonings, Dr. Pepper, water, no extra liquid, beer. You name it, I found it. I can’t imagine cooking meat with no seasonings, so I combined some of my favorite meat seasonings, liberally applied the mixture to all sides of the pork, and put it into the fridge for 4 hours. Overnight is better, but I was on a time crunch.
Before I went to bed I seared the pork butt, cut up 2 onions, and added a Coke to the slow cooker. Why Coke? Because I already had it in the house, didn’t have Dr. Pepper, and had no desire to go back to the store.
I turned the slow cooker on low, set the timer for 8 hours, and went to bed. I worried the liquid might evaporate and scorch the meat, so I set my alarm for 6am (7 hours later) to check. Nope, not burnt, not evaporated…instead, I found a glorious pot of deliciousness
Unfounded disaster avoided, I went back to bed. Next, how to get the pork out of the pot to shred it. I used the 2 biggest forks I could find, worried that I might drop the pork and cause a huge mess. Nope. It absolutely fell apart before I could even lift the meat out of the liquid.
I don’t know if everyone keeps the juices, but I cannot imagine throwing away that gorgeous flavor. I transferred the juices to a pot, cooked it down for about 30 minutes, and added it back to the meat.
The last step is to shred the pork. The pork is incredibly tender and shreds easily with 2 forks.
Most recipes I found online call to add BBQ sauce to the whole batch of pulled pork for sandwiches. That’s great when you’re making it for a party or a group, but I plan to use the pork for a variety of recipes. So now I can sauce/season each portion as needed, and it opens up a world of possibilities.
Yes, of course, pulled pork will be a staple in my recipe rotation. It is so simple, the slow cooker does all the work, and you have wonderfully delicious meat at your fingertips.
- Combine all spice ingredients, and apply liberally to entire piece of meat. Cover, and let sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours, up to overnight
- Remove pork from fridge, and set on counter for 20-30 minutes to come towards room temperature
- In large skillet over medium-high heat, sear pork. Sear 4-5 minutes per side
- Add onions, pork, and coke to slow cooker. Turn on low, set timer to 8 hours
- After 8 hours, check to make sure pork is done. Take a fork, pierce the thickest portion, and turn. If the meat flakes easily, it is done
- Using large serving forks, remove pork from liquid and allow to cool for about 10 minutes
- Add liquid, onion and bone to a medium saucepan. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes
- Add pork and liquid back to slow cooker, and let sit for about 30 minutes. At this point you can refrigerate, freeze, or add your favorite sauce