Monday, July 28, 2008

pulled pork.


Up until a year or two ago, I had no idea that pulled pork existed. Just the name itself is kind of gross-sounding and weird, almost uh- kind of vulgar, if you know what I mean. When my husband mentioned "pulled pork" sandwiches, my reaction was one of mild disgust. I pictured meat all stretched out on something like a taffy pull. Of course, pulled pork is just a name for really tender pork that can be "pulled" apart. Still, it sounded weird.

Then, he made if for me.


As I may have mentioned- living in an upstairs apartment with no yard or patio leaves us little room to stretch out, let alone barbecue. When we have pulled pork, we make it in our trusty crock pot. Yes, we broke out the crock pot again, twice in a week! The meat simmers all day (after marinating all night in the fridge) and ends up moist and tender, perfect for little sandwiches. (Or big sandwiches.)

Here's how the hubby puts it together:

For a 2lb pork butt:

In a bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, a few generous pinches of salt, cracked black pepper, some chili powder, some garlic powder, and rub on the pork. Keep it overnight in the fridge letting the rub soak in.

In the morning, throw it in a large crock pot with one large white onion, diced, a few smashed cloves of garlic, and about 2 cups of apple cider vinegar. It smells kind of weird at first, but after the meat gets going, it's amazing. Plan to be out of the house all day or you're going to want to pick at it.

After simmering for many hours (we did ours from about 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.), the meat is easily fork-shredded (or pulled, uuugh) into bite-sized pieces.


I also busted out a big batch of fresh coleslaw. Tonight's dinner is going to feed us lunch tomorrow, and probably a late night snack, too. This morning when Jason was running out the door to work, I was all, "Yo! What do you want me to put in the coleslaw?"

His hurried response was:

"Uh, half a head of green cabbage, about a quarter of the red cabbage- a couple of carrots, some celery, and then a LARGE dollop of mayonnaise, thinned out with some apple cider vinegar and seasoned with salt & pepper."

So, that's exactly what I did. I sliced everything by hand, because I love to chop vegetables, but my husband pointed out he would have been lazy and used the food processor. Oh well! Shred cabbage, carrots, and dice celery (I did 2 carrots and 2 small celery stalks) and toss in a large bowl. In a small bowl, scoop a huge dollop of mayonnaise. (I'm guessing my "dollop" was really more like half a cup, if not a little more. I used the 'serving' spoon that came with our silverware set- not a regular table spoon.) Adding a splash of apple cider vinegar at a time, whisk until the consistency will coat a spoon, but flows freely. Season with salt & pepper, and toss to coat chopped veggies. I couldn't believe how perfect this came out- it was my first time making coleslaw from scratch and I was immensely pleased with the results. I can't wait to have it for lunch tomorrow.


I felt compelled to edit my post to tell you all about the leftovers I had today. Hella good! Hubby and I each had a sandwich for lunch, and then there was still enough left over for dinner. According to our list (yeah, we do a list, haha) it was "taco night" so I chopped up the rest of a red bell pepper I had in the fridge, half an onion, and sauteed them in a hot pan with some oil, cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder. Then I added the rest of the pork and let it simmer for awhile. Very tasty pork tacos! I love it when my leftovers are actually appetizing the next day.


Manger La Ville said...

I loved pulled pork. Carnitas, is like Mexican pulled pork, at least in some taco establishments. Using a crock pot is a great way, instead of smoking it, which would take a lot of equipment and space.

porter hovey said...

Growing up in Kansas City, we know good BBQ and pulled pork is a must! YUMMY!

Coley said...

Ooooooo.. its only 11am and I'm drooling. My boyfriend loves pulled pork and slaw. I'm going to have to try this next time pork roasts go on sale!!!

ThePeachTree said...

Mmmm, my favorite way to do pork :) It's amazing how every pulled pork sandwich I've had has been unique unto its own. I love the cole slaw topper!!

Pam Dover said...

I have never thought about putting pork in the Crockpot. What a good idea! Not to mention the leftover idea as well. My fiancé makes fun of me because I always try to make last night's meal into something new the next night; it is more like a challenge than anything.

d0cchuck said...

When at home in Houston, or in Mountain Home, Arkansas, we do our pork shoulder in the Big Green Egg. The "pulled" pork turns out magnificent, especially with some great cole slaw, like yours.

But when in our apartment complex in Columbia, Maryland, we have to rely on other means, as you suggested.

One can roast a magnificent pork shoulder in the oven. There are tons of recipes/methods out there on the internet for doing it that way.

Personally, I think my wife's oven roasted pork shoulder makes "pulled pork" that rivals that of any smoker.

I would be happy to email you a copy of our recipe/method, if you like.

Loved your post. GREAT blog.

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

Classic. Love this meal.

Alicia Carrier said...

pam, i have to say i consider it a miracle that we plowed through that pork so fast. usually our leftovers fester in the fridge, because they're either unappetizing, or because we're too lazy to do anything with them. so i was super pleased to be able to fully reincarnate this pork the next day as something totally different but still delicious. i really need to do this more often, for the sake of our pocketbook.

Oakley Rhodes said...

Wow. Ok, so, confession: this is my new favorite blog!

My housemates want to eat raw for a week, but I might quit early and seduce them back to cooking with this recipe. Bonus, they're all from North Carolina and hardly ever get the pulled pork they miss.

I've linked to you!
Oakley Rhodes @ lemonbasil

Holly said...

for a hawaiian flavor/tropical theme, you can nix the apple vinegar and pour in a bottle of honey bbq sauce, a can of crushed pineapple (add water as needed) and serve with coconut jasmine rice. it is uh-mazing.

cathy gee said...

Ok, I can't wait to try this one. Spent some time this morning googling pulled pork recipes and stumbled upon this hooked, got reading, read more than this recipe and loved the food photos...anyway, have used the dry ingredients as you have suggested (and added a bit of my husband's blend of "mexican seasoning") and the pork (although pork loin as that's what I have to work with) is lying in the fridge overnight, thoroughly rubbed, have washed out the trusty old crock that I haven't used in years. Had the husband pick up the apple cider vinegar after work as we only had various balsamics on hand and so am looking forward to tomorrow. Start up the crock first thing in the morning, and give explicit instructions NOT TO TASTE until I say its finished. Will report back :)