I made my very first batch of pulled pork this weekend! HOORAY!!
I know, it’s not very exciting news, but it’s fun to celebrate new things.
I am not a big pork eater. Hubby likes it a lot more than me. In fact, I often skip pork chop night and just eat something else. As for pulled pork, I only tried it for the first time a few months ago. Some friends invited us for a casual dinner, and they served BBQ pulled pork on a bun. I have to admit, I wasn’t really looking forward to dinner. I figured if worse came to worst, I’d have an extra helping of salad… Much to my surprise, the pork was actually quite tasty. Although, at the time, I made no plans to actually try cooking it myself.
Fast forward a few months, and I am reading a cooking blog – with a recipe for Rootbeer Pulled Pork. This sounds intriguing (and very easy). I do some reasearch and read different variations of this method. Although the ingredient list is very short (I’ll post the “recipe” below), there are a lot of different opinions on the best cut of meat to use, which seasonings to add (if any) and what kind of BBQ sauce to add. Many keeping it as simple as “a bottle of your favourite BBQ sauce”.
When it comes to sauces, I tend to lean towards the sweeter rather than the tangy or spicy. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Hubby is the “sauce king”. He is always trying new ones, and experimenting with combining a variety of them to get a new taste. He does this with salad dressings too! Anyway, Hubby is kind of picky about his BBQ sauces, and always avoided buying Kraft. One day, he noticed them on sale for $0.99. There was a new brown sugar flavour (also contains molasses), which he decided to give a try. It turns out he doesn’t mind “some” of the Kraft BBQ sauces after all. I tried using it in my homemade hamburgers a few times, and quite liked it. I figured this was a perfect match to go with Rootbeer! It also would go perfect with a batch of Boston Baked beans (which have no tomato/ketchup, but also use brown sugar and molasses).
As for the pork, many recipes use pork tenderloin, but a lot of people recommended using a less lean cut (with more fat and bones) such as pork shoulder because it will have more flavour. My friend makes it with something called a Picnic ham (but if I recall, that one might need to be boiled first). As for my choice of meat, it turned out I was at the mercy of the grocery store. They had run out of the tenderloin that was on sale, so I ended up buying pork shoulder. I honestly don’t think I’d ever looked at pork shoulder in the store, let alone cooked one.
As much as I love eating (cooked) meat, I sometimes get queasy at the sight of bones, hunks of fat and skin on my meat. It’s even worse when I have to touch raw meat, let alone cut it up. BLECH!! Some days I can “just do it”; other days is when Hubby comes to the rescue. I admit if I had to raise my own animals for food, I’d probably starve.
Rootbeer Pulled Pork
- 2-3 lbs of Pork
- a bottle of your favourite BBQ sauce
Place the pork in your crockpot.
Optional: I am not sure how much this helped the flavour, but based on some internet advice:
- Poke the meat all over with a fork. This is supposed to help the liquid absorb into the meat more.
- Sprinkle garlic and onion powder all over the meat.
Pour Rootbeer over the meat. Most recipes call for 1 can of Rootbeer (which is about 14 ounces). I bought a 2 litre bottle, and used 2 cups.
Cook on low for 6-7 hours.
If you’re really hungry, at this point you can drain the meat (remove bones/fat if applicable), shred, stir in your bottle of sauce and serve.
Optional: I again followed another suggestion:
- Remove any bones and visible fat etc.
- Shred the meat. I used two forks, and it basically just fell apart.
- Let shredded meat sit in cooking “juices” for about 10-15 minutes to absorb more flavour.
- Drain off cooking liquid/juices.
- Stir in BBQ sauce, and simmer on low in the crockpot for another 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
It turned out delicious and even tasted great reheated the next day.
I also read pulled pork freezes really well (up to a year), so you can always make up a big batch and save some for another day. Personally, I think I’d freeze the meat with some of the juices (without the BBQ sauce), then drain after it’s thawed and warm up with the BBQ sauce before serving. Of course, that’s only if I was batch cooking, and not actually planning to eat any at the time and/or just freezing left-overs.
Unfortunately I don’t have a picture right now, but I’ll try to get one when we have left-overs tonight.
Have you loved your Crockpot lately?