Making Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker

>> Friday, November 25, 2011

There is nothing better than going home after a long days work. Period. Well…there is one thing. Going home, opening the front door, smelling delicious food stewing away and realizing that dinner is ready. Don’t have to cook and still enjoy an amazing meal because it’s been brewing away all day in the crock pot while I’ve been at work. That’s a pretty amazing feeling.

Lately I’ve found that I’m using my slow cooker more and more. I wonder if it’s because the cold weather is calling for that warmth and comfort or because I want to spend more time by the fireplace and less time everywhere else in the house. Either way, it works for me. I’ve been meaning to try a slow cooker pulled pork recipe for a while now, so I really didn’t need any excuse (who needs excuses for pulled pork?).

Nutritional Tidbit: The original recipe calls for the use of pork shoulder because it’s a bit fattier and will provide more flavor, but you could also use pork tenderloin. Tenderloin is the leanest cut of meat often touted to have less fat then chicken breast. So if you’re conscientious of the fat content (especially saturated fat) of the pork then go with the tenderloin. Definitely let the meat stew on lower heat and use a bit more liquid to ensure it doesn’t dry out.

The inspiration for this recipe was one that I stumbled upon online during the summer while I was craving BBQ. I figured it would work nicely when the BBQ is tucked away during the winter, but I can still get a BBQ styled dish without actually having to smoke anything for hours outdoors. You can find the original version of the recipe here. I’ve made a few adjustments to the recipe below and added notes where I found they helped me. Also instead of serving the pulled pork on a bun, I opted to go for little pulled pork tacos, allowing the pork to shine more without having to fight with the big burly bun.

Hope you enjoy the smells of yummy slow cooked pork as you walk in through the door this frosty winter!

2 – 3 lb pork shoulder blade roast (bone in) or pork tenderloin
1/2 tsp canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp garlic powder
3 bay leaves
1/4 cup favorite BBQ sauce (I found using a bit of the BBQ sauce gave it that extra smokey flavour that was missing when it wasn’t included)
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp packed brown sugar
Salt and Pepper

Heat oil in skillet over medium to high and sear pork until it becomes brown and caramelizes all over (really adds additional flavour). Transfer pork to slow cooker.

Mix together the chili powder, coriander, garlic powder, bay leaves, BBQ sauce, worcestershire sauce, cider vinegar and brown sugar. Rub it all over the pork.

Add in water until it just about covers the pork. Toss in the onions and garlic.

Turn the slow cooker to medium for a cooking time of roughly 5 hours or high for roughly 2-3 hours of cooking. (Low for overnight or all day).

To test whether pork is done, try to remove the bone (if bone-in pork shoulder used) or shredding off a bit of the pork for tenderness.

Once ready, remove the pork from the slow cooker and place in bowl, began to pull the pork apart. The meat should fall apart without much effort.

Empty the remaining sauce in to a pot and reduce to create the mop sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.

When ready, add the pork back in to the sauce and serve.

I served them with a vinaigrette based coleslaw (recipe here), cliantro and home made tortillas. You can opt to serve them on the traditional bun or just with the slaw itself.



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