Ugh, you guys. Nothing seems to be going right with this blog lately! First I lose all my photos (update: I’ve recovered most of them, thank goodness), and now WordPress is losing its crackers. Commenting was really screwy for a while (and flat-out turned off for a bit), so I apologize if you tried to comment and couldn’t get through; also, permissions and posting have been off and on. I’m hoping everything is back to normal now so regular posts can resume.
Anyway, enough of that nonsense. Back to the food! I saw this recipe on Eat Live Run and I knew immediately that I must have it in my mouth as soon as possible. Pulled pork sandwiches are one of my favorite things to eat; it’s by far my favorite BBQ dish and it’s pretty much the only thing I’ll order at a BBQ joint. There’s a local place that makes the best pulled pork I’ve ever tasted—they don’t even put sauce on it because the rub, the smoking process, and the quality of meat makes it so flavorful and tender by itself. I’m usually all about sauce on pulled pork sandwiches because it can be so, so dry and bland when done improperly. You really have to have a smoker and some serious ‘cue knowledge to make a good pulled pork.
I have neither of those things. I do, however, have a slow cooker and some BBQ sauce, so this version is a great at-home substitute. If you don’t have a smoker (and most of you don’t, I’m sure), slow cooking, whether in a slow cooker or on the stove, is the next best way to get a really moist, tender pulled pork. It really needs that slow cooking time to break down the fat and make that meaty deliciousness melt in your mouth.
This recipe couldn’t be simpler. You just need a couple pounds of Boston butt or pork shoulder (Boston butt is cheaper, but it’s also fattier…which makes for more delicious pork. Use your judgment! I went for cheap and fatty, so sue me.), a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce, a simple spice rub, and an onion. That’s seriously it. Rub your butt (yes, I am five years old), brown it on the stove, and pop it in the slow-cooker on high for six to eight hours. Seriously? That’s it. You can make this while you’re at work and come home to hot and fresh pulled pork and your house smelling like hog heaven.
My boyfriend made this (and took pictures) while I was at work last week. And again today (it was so good!). So, if he can do it, you can do it. No offense to him, obviously, but he tends to fear cooking. No fear with this recipe! As I said, you need some Boston butt, spices, an onion, and a bottle of BBQ sauce. I used this Stubb’s Smokey Mesquite, which is a sweeter sauce, and I loved it (I prefer sweeter BBQ because all my teeth are sweet teeth, but use whatever kind you like).
Cut off any wrappings or string on your meat. You may need to cut it in half to fit it in your slow cooker.
Mix up your spices: salt, cayenne, and ground mustard.
Give your pork a good rub-down with all your spices.
In a Dutch oven or large skillet, brown your meat on all sides. I just had Pranas spray the pan with some olive oil cooking spray, but you can also use canola spray or use a tablespoon or so of olive or canola oil. Just brown it; don’t attempt to cook it though please!
Peel an onion and chop it in half. You could also dice it up and throw it in—we did it this way because the bf is not an onion fan, so we could easily grab the onion and take it out when the cooking was done, but it would still impart its oniony flavor. Either way, throw the onion in the slow cooker with your browned meat. Pour in the BBQ sauce (yes, the entire bottle!) and set it on high for 6 or 7 hours. If you want to leave it in there for 8 or 9 hours, put it on low. When it can be easily shredded with a fork, you’re good to go. It should pretty much fall apart of its own accord at this point!
Aaand voila! I baked up some incredibly delicious whole wheat sesame buns that weekend, so we ate our pork on those. The soft, slightly sweet bun worked so perfectly with the meat. This week, we ate it on ciabatta rolls, which are tasty, but the heartier texture doesn’t work as well.
Served with sauteed rainbow chard and sweet potato fries, this was one of the most satisfying meals we’ve eaten in recent memories. Certainly not the healthiest way to cook pork, but definitely one of the yummiest! It’s moist, saucy, juicy, sweet, tangy, and just so flavorful. I highly recommend it for pulled pork lovers (however, if you’re a BBQ purist, you’ll almost certainly find this cooking method blasphemous—so I wouldn’t recommend it for you). So easy to make and so filling and hearty. Definitely a recipe arsenal keeper! Slow cook it up!
Saucy Slow Cooked Pulled Pork
Adapted from Eat Live Run
Serves at least 6 (we got more servings)
- 2 lbs Boston butt or pork shoulder (ask your butcher if you don’t see it on the shelf)
- 1 bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce
- 1 onion, peeled and cut in half (or 1/2 onion, chopped)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground mustard
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Rub the salt, ground mustard and cayenne all over the pork shoulder then brown the shoulder on all sides in a heavy pan on medium/high heat. This should take about 10 minutes.
Remove browned shoulder from the pan and place in a crock pot along with the onion and sauce. Turn crock pot on high and cook for 6-8 hours. You’ll know the pork is ready when it falls apart when stabbed with a fork.
Remove the pork from the crock pot and shred with a fork then place back in the sauce and serve.