I’ve been slowly reducing the amount of meat we eat, and replacing it with food that is “enhanced” by meat, or excludes meat. This is easy to do in the winter with soups and stews, and in the summer it’s easy to make fruit and vegetables the focal point of meals.
But, for this past father’s day, I broke down and made my husband one of his favorites – pulled pork.
Probably in part because I don’t make this too often, this was well received. If you’ve never had this dish, it’s like pork rib meat that has fallen off the bone. Moist, tender, sweet, and tangy.
Like brisket recipes, this is a great way to take an inexpensive cut of meat and turn it into a group meal, with leftovers. And it’s so easy and low maintenance. I slow-cook this in a crock pot, but you can use a dutch oven or large saucepan with a lid as well. The goal is to cook it slowly, until the meat falls apart and is soft to chew.
This recipe goes great with confetti coleslaw, rolls, biscuits, and greens. I added a recipe for barbecue sauce as well, but feel free to use your favorite sauce. You’ll need to set aside 4 hours plus another 15 minutes for the total cooking time.
Note My photo shows the pulled pork being quite moist, however if you want it drier, just leave it in a bit longer with the top off (about 30 minutes or so) to get that guey, slightly burnt taste of the tomato and honey on the verge of burning.
- 2 cups of water
- 2 to 3 pounds of pork shoulder (trim off excess fat)
- 1 large, or 2 small onions, diced into small pieces
- about 2 cups of barbecue sauce (or more, to taste)
- 1 medium size onion, sliced and diced
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons of chili powder
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon of paprika (or smoked paprika)
- 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup of ketchup
- 1/2 cup of honey (or other sweetener)
- 2 tablespoons of Dijon or other mustard
- optional heat: 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, chipolte pepper, or jalapeno pepper
You can make the barbecue sauce up to 30 minutes before the slow-cooking is complete. Blend all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Heat this mixture in a saucepan over a low to medium heat for about 30 minutes.
- Place 1/2 the onions on the bottom of the pot, then the pork shoulder on top, and finally the rest of the onions on top.
- Pour the water in the pot, and slowly cook it for about 4 hours on a medium or high cook setting.
- Separate the onions and pork from the water and then place the pork and onions back in the pot.
- Break up the pork into shredded pieces and add the barbecue sauce, stirring until the pork is well coated. Cook for another 15 minutes.