Pulled Pork with the Slow Cooker

Last night I tried my luck at making pulled pork in the slow cooker. While I was excited about the recipe, I’d never made anything like it before and wasn’t even sure what proper BBQ was supposed to taste like. I’ve always wanted to take a road trip through the south to sample all sorts of Southern delicacies like BBQ, grits, fried green tomatoes, seafood creole, and an authentic bananas foster. Someday…

One ingredient on the list perplexed me. Have you ever heard of liquid smoke? Yeah, me neither. Lucky for me, it wasn’t all that difficult to find. However, it was recently listed “potentially toxic” by the European Food Safety Authority (the EU version of the FDA and probably a lot more trustworthy as they aren’t married to industry like the FDA). So maybe this dish isn’t meant to be made on a regular basis. Fair enough.

Onto the good part… Our apartment smelled as though there was a mesquite BBQ blazing in the living room all afternoon. This is reason enough to make it again. The pork was very tender and pulled apart with minimal effort. We layered the meat on one half of a toasted wheat hamburger bun and added some of the juice and BBQ sauce to the top. In this way, we were able to eat two open-face pulled pork sandwiches. Divine! And now we have enough pulled pork to make sandwiches for days. Enjoy! (the original recipe can be found on the link at the beginning of the blog.)

Makes 12 to 14 servings

  • One 5- to 6-pound boneless Boston butt pork roast or same weight of boneless country-style pork ribs
  • 1/4 cup Cheater Basic Dry Rub (recipe follows)
  • 1/2 cup bottled smoke
  • Barbecue sauce of your choice

1. Cut the pork butt into medium (2- to 3-inch) chunks (the ribs don’t need to be cut up).

2. Put the pieces in a large slow cooker (at least 5 quarts). Sprinkle the meat with the rub, turning the pieces to coat evenly. Add the bottled smoke.

3. Cover and cook on high for 5 to 6 hours or on low for 10 to 12 hours, until the meat is pull-apart tender and reaches an internal temperature of 190 F.

4. Using tongs and a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a rimmed platter or baking sheet. Let rest until cool enough to handle. Pull the meat into strands. It should shred very easily. Serve the barbecue piled on buns with your favorite barbecue sauce.

5. To serve the barbecue later, cover and refrigerate the meat when it has cooled. Pour the meat juice into a separate container and refrigerate. Before reheating the juice, skim and discard the congealed fat layer on the top.

6. To reheat the barbecue, place it in a saucepan moistened with some of the reserved juice. Gently heat the meat on medium-low, stirring occasionally. Or, place it in a covered casserole with some of the reserved juice and heat in a 350 F oven for 20 to 30 minutes.

7. While the meat warms, combine the barbecue sauce and some of the additional reserved meat juice in a saucepan. Heat through and serve with the barbecue.

For the rub:

Makes about 2/3 cup

  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard

1. Combine all the ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake to blend.

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