Tag Archives: pulled pork

New Gadget, Same Pulled Pork

I had a nice Cuisinart slow cooker for a long time, but the removable crock got a hairline crack, and eventually it leaked badly into the cooker. I don’t use a slow cooker very often, especially now that I’m retired and can cook as much as I want, so replacing it hasn’t been a priority. Then there’s the grill, which can act like a slow cooker itself. More about that later. I looked at reviews and also considered my wallet when deciding on the Hamilton Beach® Stay or Go.™ At under $60, and even less with a coupon, it has a number of features for the price that make it desirable: (1) the lid clamps down, so there’s no bubbling steam around the edges to gather and drip; (2) it’s programmable, so I can pick a time and know that it will shut off if I’m out longer than expected; (3) it has a probe that you can insert into a large piece of meat to register the temperature and prevent overcooked meat, a common complaint about slow cookers.

I’m christening the new gadget today with our favorite pulled pork recipe, made specifically for a slow cooker, although I have made it in the oven and on the grill: Chowhound‘s “Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork.” The best part of the recipe is the dry rub, which I only slightly modify and have used on country style spare ribs, and even liquefied into a wet barbecue sauce. I’ve referred to Chowhound‘s recipe at least four times on this blog:

I find it to be a versatile rub that I have varied only slightly, until settling on my favorite variation that adds smoked paprika and increases the cumin and cinnamon.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Adapted from Chowhound‘s “Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork.

Place in the bottom of a slow cooker, a bed of 3 large thick sliced onions and 4 large slivered garlic cloves.

Pour in 1 cup of chicken broth.

Remove the plastic netting from a boneless pork shoulder (3-5 lbs) and rub all over with the following dry rub (use a large bowl, so you don’t lose any rub):

  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Place the pork roast on top of the onion bed, close the slow cooker and set to low. Cook for about 8 hours, without peeking.

Pull the meat apart with forks and stir into the onions and juices. Serve on buns with coleslaw. You just won’t believe how moist and flavorful this pulled pork is until you try it.

Pulled Pork Two Ways

Beyond pulled pork in a bun with coleslaw—and it is one of my favorite ways to eat pulled pork—what else can you do with that lovely pile of meat that is generally way too much for one meal? Yes, there are a lot of Mexican dishes that use pulled pork, and one of those is my second recipe here, but first, let’s do something savory that doesn’t involve peppers and melted cheese, followed by heartburn.

Pork and Sweet Potatoes

Pork and Sweet Potatoes with Thyme

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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This is a kind of a hash in appearance, but without poached or fried eggs on top. I’m kind of over the meme of the egg thrown on everything edible.

Let’s assume you have roasted a pork butt or shoulder and have about 1-1.5 lbs of the meat sitting around for one recipe. I didn’t immediately pull the meat off my roast, because I knew I wanted other options; I broke it into large chunks and divided it in half—one half to chop into rough cubes, the other to shred for the second day.

1-1.5 lbs roast pork butt or shoulder, seasoned in roasting with garlic, salt, and pepper, cut roughly in medium cubes or shredded

3 cups sweet potatoes, cut in medium dice

1/3 cup shallots, in small dice

Olive oil and butter for sautéing

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (more if using fresh thyme)

  1. In a large skillet, heat about 2-3 tablespoons oil and an equal amount of butter over medium to medium-high heat, until hot but not smoking. I’m nuts about the combination of these two fats.
  2. Add the sweet potatoes and stir to combine with the fat. Cover for about 5 minutes to steam them a little, then uncover and add the shallots and thyme. Keep stirring until the potatoes are tender. They will brown lightly with this method, but you could fry them uncovered for more browning. Basically, you want the potatoes to cook through without overcooking or burning the shallots and thyme, so hold off on adding them too soon.
  3. At the last, stir in the diced pork and heat through. If your pork is like mine, there should be some juices from the roasting, which will be gelatinous if you have refrigerated it, and that flavor needs to be combined with the potatoes.

I say it serves 2-4, because my husband finished it off, so it was two in our house, even with a side vegetable.

Pulled Pork Enchiladas

On day two, which was the day before Cinco de Mayo, the remaining pork was pulled into shreds for enchiladas. I made them rather simply this time to highlight the meat.

Pulled Pork Enchiladas

  • Servings: 8 enchiladas
  • Difficulty: easy to moderate
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Preheat oven to 350°

1.5 lbs pulled pork, seasoned in roasting with garlic, salt, and pepper

2 4.5 oz cans diced chiles

1 large onion, diced

1 lb Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded

8 tortillas—I used whole wheat flour tortillas in a soft taco size to fit crosswise in a 13″ x 9″ baking dish

3 cups enchilada sauce—I made my own, but you could use canned sauce

  1. See my enchilada sauce recipe here, increasing the ingredients to make 3 cups. It will take about an hour to make. Otherwise, this recipe is just a quick construction with pre-cooked meat.
  2. Place pulled pork in large skillet with the canned chiles and heat over medium heat until warm.
  3. Stir in the raw onions.
  4. Spread 1 cup of enchilada sauce on the bottom of your baking dish.
  5. Place about 1/2-3/4 cup of the shredded meat mixture in a tortilla and top with 1 oz of the shredded cheese. Roll tight and place in dish, seam side down. Repeat to fill the dish.
  6. Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over the top of the enchiladas—I like to see the ends of the tortillas sticking out, but it’s not written in stone.
  7. Top with the remaining 1/2 lb of shredded cheese.
  8. Bake for about 25 minutes or until cheese begins to brown.

This made enough that we could still have some for Cinco de Mayo.

Link: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

My first choice for the slow-roasted flavor of a pork shoulder or boneless butt is roasting it in the oven, and I told you about that in July, but this is my second favorite way to cook it, not least because it frees up the whole day to do other things and then just eat. I looked at a lot of web recipes for slow-cooker pork before I found this gem at CHOW: Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork.

slow-cooker-cuisinart-csc650uFollow their directions, especially including the terrific rub with brown sugar, cumin, cinnamon, and chili powder. And they even have a short three minute instructional video. The only change I make is in step 3, where instead of using either the meat juices or barbecue sauce, I use both. My Cuisinart® slow cooker has a timer that switches over to a warming stage, so I set it for 6 or 8 hours, depending on the size of the roast. Eight hours for a whole shoulder, bone-in; 6 for a boneless butt, 3-5 pounds.

Slow in the oven or slow in the slow cooker—it’s all good.