Stir-Friday! Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork

Awww, yeah. I love pulled pork.

It’s that time again.  It’s Stir-Friday! For an intro to this series see the first post.  Today’s recipe is a gem.  Pulled pork is definitely a comfort food, and this recipe is super easy.  Also, it’s pretty cheap to make if you happen to catch pork shoulder or boston butt on sale, which I did ($0.98/lb?  Yes, and please).  Sweet!  As the title suggests, you will need a slow-cooker (you might call it a crock-pot) to cook this recipe.  Luckily if you don’t have one, you can get a brand new one for about $30 (or score a used one off craigslist for super cheap), and then you can make all sorts of stuff with it.  Anyway, on to the pulled pork.

Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork

Let me start with a couple of comments that are relevant.  The first is that any time you cook with a slow-cooker, you want the cooking vessel to be at least half full.  I have a 5 quart slow-cooker, and the weight of the meat I recommend is for a similarly sized cooker.  If you have bigger or smaller one, you will need to use an appropriately sized hunk of meat.

Second, there are two cuts of meat that I use to make pulled pork, and they are basically the same thing.  You can use a pork shoulder roast, or a boston butt.  These are really just two names for the same thing, since boston butt refers to the upper portion of a pork shoulder.  Whichever is cheaper at the store will work just fine.

Also, the measurements are all sort of imprecise because it just depends on the size of the meat you use.  I have found that for my 5 quart slow-cooker, I need to stick between 4 and 7 pounds to keep the cooking vessel half-full, but still have the meat fit.  Below I’m just going to give you the proportions I used for this particular chunk of meat.

Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork (serves about 6-10 depending on the amount of meat)

  • a 5.25 lb boston butt (or pork shoulder roast)
  • about 1 Tbsp-ish of kosher salt
  • about 1 and 1/2 tsp of ground mustard
  • a few cups of vinegar (either white or apple cider)
  • a couple Tbsps of your favorite barbeque sauce, plus some more for saucing*

Sprinkle the salt and ground mustard over the meat, and then gently rub it in to even the seasoning.

Seasonings, check

Place the seasoned meat into the slow-cooker, and fill the vessel about half-way up the meat with vinegar.

Getting ready for a vinegar bath

Kind of hard to tell from this picture, but it’s about halfway up the meat

Add a couple of Tbsps barbeque sauce to the vinegar and gently mix to combine.

Had to use the flash to get the liquid to show up better

Cook on low for about 7 hours, or high for about 4 hours, until meat is tender and bone can be removed easily, and comes out clean (I did low this time, but I did high last time and it was still awesome).

And now we play the waiting game

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After 7 hours on low… smells amazing

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That’s the bone sitting on top, nice and clean

Pour off the liquid and rendered fat into a glass jar or bowl (don’t put fat down the sink!).

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Oops.. spilled a little

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Vinegar and fat

Put the meat onto a platter, 9×13, or baking sheet, and ‘pull’ the pork using your hands or two forks.  Be sure to remove any large pieces of fat or cartilage you come across.

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A big ol’ hunk of fat

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Done pulling. Looks and smells awesome.

Add a little barbeque sauce and mix well, then put back in the slow-cooker on warm to serve.

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I adapted this recipe from one that my dad uses, so thanks, Dad!

A couple of notes on this recipe.  Even though the meat is cooked in vinegar, very little of the tangy-ness actually transfers to the meat.  The acid in the vinegar just helps makes the meat a melt-in-your-mouth consistency.  Also, you may have noticed that the dry rub is pretty plain.  This pork does not have a ton of spice flavor by itself, and that is by design.  I like my pulled pork with a fair amount of sauce, so I keep the meat pretty simple and let the sauce add the spice.

As a side note, I have some family in North Carolina, so I tend to like my pulled pork a little more on the tangy side vs the sweet side, but that comes through in the sauce, rather than the cooking method.  Mmmmm…. vinegar.

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Seriously, you should make this as soon as possible.

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The full plate. Maybe the slaw and bean salad will get their own Stir-Friday! one day.

Did you try the pork?  How did it turn out?


2 thoughts on “Stir-Friday! Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork

  1. B

    I have made something very similar to this and it is awesome! Sometimes I do it in the oven without the vinegar, but save all of the liquid from the meat and de-fat it and make a homemade sauce with it. Yummy! How about that slaw recipe? M commented the other day that it is one of the only ones she likes!

  2. Pingback: Stir-Friday! Sandwich Rolls | The Happy Potamus

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