Food Porn – Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Josh PalmerKnowledge Is Power, Nutrition

PulledPork-Mixed2

Last week I made a trip to Aussie BBQ in Dublin with SBG Ireland coach John Kavanagh (more on that trip to follow). One of the excellent BBQ items on offer was pulled pork…proper pulled pork. As one of many meaty concoctions John as seen on my twitter feed, I promised I’d write him a proper tutorial on how to cook a simple version of it. Coincidentaly, large chunks of pork were half price in Tesco this week…so here it is.

Real pulled pork is hard to do well and quite frankly, you really need a smoker and about 14-16 hours without taking your eyes off it. That’s quite a burden, so here’s my slow cooker version which I make 8-10 times a year.

This recipe is so very easy and so very damn tasty. Try it once and I guarantee that it’ll become one of your go-to meals for parties or when you want some solid comfort food. Although to be honest I also use it as a bulk cook to last me a weeks worth of dinners. No, I don’t get bored of it!

This works with a bunch of different spice rubs and different cuts of pork. This example just happens to be what I had with me at the time.

01: Paprika

The base of any BBQ dry rub is nearly always paprika…and lots of it. Smoked paprika if you’re feeling fancy.

PulledPork-Paprika

02: Sea Salt

A decent fine grain sea salt – I use this one in nearly everything.

PulledPork-SeaSalt

03: Onion Granules

PulledPork-OnionGranules

04: Garlic Granules & Garlic Powder

PulledPork-GarlicGranulesPowder

05: Basil

Basil or Oregano works well here. I’d run out of Oregano.

PulledPork-Basil

06: Ceynne Pepper

You need a bit of a kick. There’s lot’s of differnet dried chillis you can combine. Typically I’d use Ceynne mixed with Chilli Powder but on this occasion I’d run out of basic Chilli Powder. Mustard Powder is also an awesome addition I use a lot.

PulledPork-Ceyenne

07: Black Pepper

Good cracked black pepper. Also you can add white pepper here too which I’ve also run out of..not very organised on this occasion!

PulledPork-BlackPepper

07: Brown Sugar

I’m using Muscavado here but yu can use Demerera or even straight up white sugar. I apprecite this really isn’t Paleo so you can omit it if you’d like. You aren’t using much after all.

PulledPork-BrownSugar

08: Mix the Dry Rub

PulledPork-DryRub

09: The Pork

Pulled Pork is ideally made with a pork shoulder, hock end removed and the blade bone left it (Americans call it a Pork Butt…I’ve no idea why). However, the beauty of this recipe is that it also works with other cuts so you can use whatever is cheap and available. Here I’m using a big cut of boneless leg as it was on sale for half price. This will make a lot of food for less than £10.

PulledPork-PorkLeg

10: Trimming the Fat

You’re slow cooking at alow temp for a very long time and as such the fat won’t really render down as it would under high heat. So it’s best just to remove it. Pretty easy to trim and peel with a sharp knife.

PulledPork-FatTrim

11: Rub that Sucker!

Coat liberally..and I mean a lot with the dry rub. Smother it in to every bit of the pork you can. The upside of this different cut is that it unfurls with huge surface area, far more than a normal shoudler would. I actually think it works better in a slow cooker than shoulder because of this.

PulledPork-DryRubVignette

12: A Base for the Slow Cooker

Slice an onion or two and line the bottom of the slow cooker just to keep the meat off the base and let the juices get right underneath the meat.

PulledPork-Onions

13: Add the Meat

PulledPork-InPotDry

14: Add Stock

Ham stock, vegetable stock and chicken stock all work perfectly well here. You want it to get down behind all the meat and up the sides.

PulledPork-Stock

15: Turn the Slow Cooker On

You can do a few hours at high then don to low but to be honest I just use low now and let it go for ages. This is zero hours which was 21:30 at night!

PulledPork-0Hours

16: 11 Hours Gone

This is after 11 hours (the next morning), notice that not all the stock has covered the meat. That’s OK but be aware that the texture will be different on that chunk. You can always turn the pork over now…my piece was just too big hence it barely fit!

PulledPork-11Hours

17: 20 Hours – All Finished!

I basically left this till I returned from work the following day. Anything over 16 hours is good. I find on low that 18-20 is perfect.

PulledPork-20Hours

18: Lay it Out

Use foil or baking parchment along your countertop and decant the pork pieces on to it. Discard the onions and fat/juice left in the slow cooker.

PulledPork-OnParchment

19: Chop!

Now shred that stuff! You can see I don’t even use a knife…just a novelty karate lettue chopper. lol

PulledPork-Chopping2

PulledPork-PulledOnParchment

PulledPork-PulledCloseup

19: BBQ Sauce

Again this isn’t paleo but it can be if you make your own BBQ sauce. This is a less time consuming option. I’m using an American sauce and to treat myself I’m using one with a higher sugar conent hence the ‘honey’ label. Use as much or as little as you want. You actually don’t need much.

PulledPork-BBQSauce

PulledPork-Sauced1

PulledPork-Sauced2

21: Mix it Up

PulledPork-Mixed1

PulledPork-Mixed2

22: Serve & Gorge!

Trust me this is a very big serving bowl and the yield is something like 2.5Kg for this piece of pork and it hasn’t cost much more than £10…can’t argue with that for value.

PulledPork-BowlOfHappiness