Crock Pot Pulled Pork (or…I’m back!)

February 17th, 2010 by megan · 17 Comments

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Pulled Pork

Hi everyone. I’ve missed you. I’ve been gone for a long time. A digital detox is what I’ve been on. Sometimes you have to step back in order to move forward. Right? But I’m back! And with my return I thought I’d share with you a very easy recipe for pulled pork made in a crock pot. Is there a better way for me to celebrate my return to blog-dom than with pork?? I think not!

A few necessary items about pork, to begin. I used a beautiful bone-in pork shoulder from a local farm. I like to eat meat from local farmers because it’s easier to find out about the way the animal was raised. I get really freaked out about factory-farmed meat, and importantly, I think meat from commercial factory farms tastes different (in a bad way). The only problem is that locally-sourced meat tends to be a lot more expensive than commercial meat. My solution is that I just eat less meat! Less meat, but better quality, more delicious meat. It’s a compromise I’ve made in my life despite my abiding love for all things pork. So. That’s that.

You’ll notice that, aside from the spice rub, this recipe has very few ingredients. Essentially, I’m a lazy cook and I gravitate towards recipes that don’t require a huge amount of prep work, especially on week nights.  I call for 1 1/2 cups of “cola” in the recipe – I used China Cola because it doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup, which is another food-like product that I just don’t fancy. (Do I sound neurotic?) In some places, you can get the big-named sodas with sugar, although you’ll probably have to look hard. The same principle holds true for the barbecue sauce. You can make your own (I like the looks of this recipe) or find good quality, high-fructose corn syrup-free (it’s in everything, seriously) sauce, which is what I did. I usually doctor commercial sauce with extra vinegar because I like a combination of ketchup-based sauce and vinegar-based sauce. A sweet-and-sour approach, if you will. (There are so many schools of barbecue out there – all of them delicious….I don’t want to start any wars here. I think of myself as embracing a pan-barbecue outlook, having lived or spent time in many top-notch barbecue states, such as Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Kansas, and North Carolina.)  You can also vary the spice rub to your liking – I think fennel and sage would be nice additions.

If you don’t have a crock pot, you can put the pork in a low oven (300°F or so) for 4-5 hours (or more, depending on how big your pork shoulder is). Check the meat after 4 hours – if it’s falls apart easily, it’s ready.

Ingredients:
(Serves 6-8 as sandwiches; slightly less as a platter)

For the Spice Rub
:
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon maple sugar (or substitute additional brown sugar)
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Pork:
One 2 1/2 to 3 lb. bone in pork shoulder
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
One 12 oz. bottle cola (1 1/2 cups)
1 cup barbecue sauce (plus extra vinegar to taste, if necessary)
Salt

Special Equipment: a crock-pot that can accommodate the meat

Procedure:

For the Spice Rub:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Place pork in a glass or ceramic baking dish.
  3. Rub half of the mixture all over the pork, covering all sides evenly. (You’ll have leftover rub mix. Just cover tightly – it will save indefinitely.)
  4. Cover the pork and refrigerate for 3 hours or longer, preferably overnight.

For the Pulled Pork:

  1. Layer the onion slices on the bottom of the crock pot.
  2. Place the pork on top of the onion slices.
  3. Pour in the cola.
  4. Cover the crock pot. Set the crock pot to “high” and let cook for 4 to 5 hours, or until the meat is falling apart. (Start checking the meat after 4 hours. It should start releasing a lot of liquid fat after a couple of hours.)
  5. Once the meat is done, remove it from the crock pot and let cool slightly. Pour off accumulated fat, onions, and liquid and discard. Give the crock pot a quick wipe with paper towels.
  6. Once the meat is cool enough to handle, shred into “pulled” pieces using your fingers or a fork, discarding bone and gristle as you go.
  7. Return meat to cleaned crock pot. Add the barbecue sauce and optional vinegar, to taste. (Chile flakes would also be nice if you like it spicy.) Set the crock pot to warm.
  8. When meat has re-heated, serve on buns or as a platter with collard greens, biscuits, or cornbread.

Notes: This recipe is easily doubled or even tripled – if you have a big enough crock pot!

17 comments

nina Feb 18, 2010 at 3:34 am


I am glad you are back, but you are right sometimes it is just necessary to take a break, I think we are over-exposed as it is…

The pork looks amazing..almost like something caramelly and sweet!!! Yum!!

A Bowl Of Mush Feb 18, 2010 at 8:06 am


Oh wow, that looks fantastic!!
I’m really craving this pulled pork now! :)

5 Star Foodie Feb 18, 2010 at 10:37 am


Welcome back! The pulled pork looks awesome! I love the addition of maple sugar and smoked paprika!

heather Feb 18, 2010 at 6:06 pm


this recipe looks like a winner — can’t wait to see what more you have in store for us!

cheers and welcome back,

*heather*

Julia (Color Me Green) Feb 19, 2010 at 12:16 am


welcome back – crock pot pulled pork is the perfect easy dish for winter to ease you back in. when i make it i don’t even bother with a spice rub, i just throw it in the crockpot with homemade bbq sauce and onions.

Andy Feb 19, 2010 at 12:09 pm


I know that some of the Costco stores were carrying Mexican Coke, which uses real sugar. The only problem is justifying shipping cola from Mexico… Thankfully here in Seattle there are a few local made sodas that don’t use HFCS.

megan Feb 20, 2010 at 3:57 pm


Whoa Andy – thanks for the tip about Mexican Coke at Costco! I know it’s a little indulgent to drink Coke all the way from Mexico…but I LOVE Mexican Coke. We happened to find some today at Costco.

Laurie Feb 20, 2010 at 4:31 pm


I took a few month break from blogging too, and waited until I missed it too much to stay away. I think alot of bloggers get burned out.

I’m with you on the corn syrup! We’ve totally eliminated it from our diet – and I make homemade BBQ sauce too. Your pulled pork looks pretty awesome.

Local meat isn’t easy to come by on Cape Cod, but our local farmers are trying to bring some to us. It is expensive, though. I like your solution.

Carol Feb 20, 2010 at 9:37 pm


I couldn’t find the cut of roast recommended. Would a pork sirloin roast work? I am afraid it won’t shred.

megan Feb 20, 2010 at 11:45 pm


Sirloin roast wouldn’t be my first choice, no – shoulder, picnic shoulder, butt/boston butt (which is not actually the ‘butt’ of the pig but a part of the shoulder)…also, unfortunately, the way that cuts of meat are named aren’t always consistent. If all you can find is pork sirloin roast, you could try it…I think it’s quite a bit leaner, though.

Sivan Harlap Feb 21, 2010 at 9:53 pm


YAY! Welcome back!

Carol Feb 21, 2010 at 9:58 pm


Quick report back on the cut of meat: I made the sirloin roast tonight (it had bone in and more fat than I thought) and it pulled fine, much to my surprise. Of course, it was more expensive per pound than the Boston butt would have been — but my family loved it!

katiek@ kitchensidecar Mar 17, 2010 at 6:18 pm


so glad you’re back. i was starting to miss my brooklyn farmhouse updates. I also tried to make pulled pork the other day. I had a smoker that stubbornly would not pass 140F! THE NERVE. I had to make some critical decisions and finish it off in the oven which made me a little flustered. Next time I’ll get a bone in.

Bill Cowen Jan 14, 2011 at 3:32 pm


Stumbled across this and I’m sure glad I did! Made it last night and boy was it ever good!!! I’ll be trying more of your recipes!
Thanks!

Allen May 2, 2011 at 5:11 pm


this is a great pulled pork recipe. this is the 3rd time i cooked it and only tweaked it a tiny bit. the family loves it! and best of all, it is not a wad of mush at the end.

Susan May 7, 2011 at 2:01 pm


I am making this as I type… Will report back.

Katy Dec 6, 2011 at 2:59 pm


Making it tonite!!!

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