Like many American families, we have a love affair with the Crock-Pot.
Our love for the Crock-Pot grew even larger this year when we discovered Reynolds’ Slow Cooker Liners. Toss a liner in there and cleanup is an absolute cinch. Anyone who’s scrubbed on a stoneware pot knows that’s a pretty big deal.
Anyhow, a couple weeks ago, I was perusing the aisles of the Illinois Pork Producer Associations’ Pork Expo when I stumbled on a cooking pamphlet, made possible by the Pork Checkoff. A sucker for new recipes, I snapped one up.
At home, one particular recipe intrigued me: “Perfect Pulled Pork.” I’ve had some great pulled pork in my lifetime. In nearly all instances, it comes from a smoker. So, when I saw this recipe involved the Crock-Pot, I figured it wouldn’t be terrific, but would give it a try. At the very least, I could drench it in barbecue sauce and choke it down.
Back from the grocery store, I could see the doubt in my wife’s eyes when I flopped the 5-pound bone-in pork shoulder on the counter top. She’s not a fan of fatty meat. And this is a fatty cut. Not easily deterred, I seasoned it and dropped it in the slow cooker. (I might add that I did not trim any of the fat.)
After about four hours on low, her mood started to soften. “Hmm…that does smell kind of good.” Then she peaked in and saw hunks of white fat staring back at her and gave it a quick snarl.
After eight hours, it was ready. I popped the top and tried to hoist the whole thing out, but it fell to pieces. I resigned myself to spooning the excess fat out of the pot. She was really shooting me some skeptical glances at this point. With the fat and bones in one pot, I began shredding the meat. I tossed it with some barbecue sauce and spooned it onto a bun. Dinner was served.
My wife took a couple of small bites and said, “Well, this isn’t bad actually.” Then she commenced to eating the entire sandwich and proclaimed it “delicious.” After dinner, she admitted to eating last night’s leftovers at about 4 p.m. because she had so little faith in my recipe. Though, I noticed she’s taken a pulled pork sandwich for lunch the past four days.
So, apparently, you really can get amazing pulled pork from a Crock-Pot. Don’t believe me? Try it yourself.
Perfect Pulled Pork
1 5-lb boneless pork butt (shoulder)
1 ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup water
Combine all seasonings in a small bowl and rub evenly over roast. Place meat in a 6-quart slow cooker and add water. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high 4-5 hours. Remove pork to a large cutting board and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Pull, slice or chop and serve on buns with barbecue sauce. (I did a combo of slicing and chopping, and tossed in a bit of shredding to even up the consistency.) Makes 16-20 servings. (Don’t forget the barbecue sauce. That sweetness helps even out some of the spice that you rub on the meat.)
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