Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

by Beth on June 17, 2011

I’ve already confessed my love of cooking related catalogues, especially the ones with recipes. I think it’s completely an offshoot of my love for magazines. And the catalogues are actually a really good thing, because then I get a hit of glossy love without the guilt of an actual magazine, which I feel compelled to hang on to for a few months (or longer it seems, from the stacks of magazines in my living room). I can flip through a catalogue and then toss it in the recycling, guilt free!

So it should not come as any surprise that when I sorted the ginormous pile of mail that waited for us after our return from VA Beach (seriously how many credit card solicitations do two people need over what was essentially a long weekend) I pulled out the Williams Sonoma and King Arthur catalogues for later perusal.

When going through WS, I was intrigued by how many of their recipes used this, my ultimate crockpot love and all time most ridiculous kitchen purchase. It’s not ridiculous because I don’t use it, but more because we often don’t use it to it’s fullest potential. Like direct oven to crockpot action.

I made a mental note of the pulled pork recipe, but no actual plans to cook it. And then suddenly it was sunday and I was at the farmer’s market. I wandered over to Truck Patch Farms to buy some bacon, and suddenly I was asking the lady manning the coolers what cut of meat I should buy to make pulled pork. She pulled about the appropriate cut and soon I was walking away with it. Less than 12 hours later, I was eating a delicious pulled pork sandwich. Perfection in a sunday!

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
Adapted from Bryan Voltaggio’s Recipe in the Williams Sonoma catalogue

I made a lot of adaptions to this recipe because 1) I only had 6 hours to cook 2) I was missing a bunch of the spices needed for the rub 3) I had no apple juice. But this still turned out amazing, so I think I’m keeping my alterations!

1/4 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
2 Tbs. kosher salt
2 Tbs. paprika
1 Tbs. freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 Tbs. cayene pepper
2 tsp. caraway seeds
1 pork shoulder, 3 to 4 lb.
6 garlic cloves, peeled (we used the chopped up refrigerated garlic)
1 1/2 cups beer (we used Clipper City’s Heavy Seas)
1/2 cup water
Dinner Rolls or baguette for serving
barbecue sauce for serving

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

In a bowl, stir together the brown sugar, salt, paprika, pepper, thyme, coriander, dried mustard, fennel and garlic powder. Score a diamond pattern on the fatty side of the pork. Generously rub the pork on all sides with 6 to 8 Tbs. of the spice mixture; reserve the remaining mixture. Place the pork in the bottom of an oven safe dish (or crockpot insert) fat side up. Cover with garlic.

Transfer to the oven and roast until the top of the pork starts to crisp, 45 to 60 minutes. Transfer the insert to the slow-cooker base and add the beer and water. Cover and cook on low according to the manufacturer’s instructions, turning the pork occasionally, until the meat pulls apart easily with a fork, 6 to 7 hours.

Transfer the pork to a deep bowl. Using 2 forks, pull the meat apart into large shreds or, using a cleaver, chop it into large chunks. Strain the cooking sauce into a bowl. Ladle 1/2 to 3/4 cup sauce over the pork. Stir in 1 to 2 tsp. of the reserved spice mixture. Serve immediately with rolls and barbecue sauce. Serves 6 to 8.

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Jen @ My Morning Chocolate June 17, 2011 at 7:27 am

I’m so excited to see the recipe you use to make pulled pork in your slow cooker. I’ll have to make this for Kenny; he would love it!

Also, I hang on to my magazines for way to long too, especially the ones that have recipes. I just can’t throw them away.

Beth June 17, 2011 at 8:08 am

Jen, my main magazine problem is thanks to the New Yorker, which comes 50 times a year. That’s a lot of really long, really dense content. But I can’t bring myself to cancel.

This is actually the first time I’ve attempted pulled pork, but it won’t be the last–this was amazing!

Elizabeth June 17, 2011 at 11:29 am

How smart is that! Use the high heat to get a good sear and then whisk it away to easy land! I think I need to get a bigger crock pot… Usually the pork shoulders I get from the store are like 8 lbs, they have 4 lb versions??

And thank gosh I’m planning on taking my buddy to Black Hog tonight! It’s been too long since I’ve had pulled pork! (so glad we got to go the last time I had my fix!)

Beth June 17, 2011 at 11:37 am

Elizabeth, mine was about 4 pounds, bone in. I know farmer’s market cuts tend to be a bit smaller than grocery store cuts.

Maris (In Good Taste) June 18, 2011 at 6:23 am

I don’t use my crock pot to its fullest potential at all. I will be using it soon after seeing these photos! Have a wonderful weekend!

Kristen (swanky dietitian) June 20, 2011 at 12:34 am

I haven’t had pulled pork in such a long time.
This looks delicious!

Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon June 20, 2011 at 8:24 am

I did some pork over the weekend also. FYI, leftovers freeze beautifully and let you prolong the pork love.

eileendv June 20, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Leftover pork sandwich was amazing when I was baking the most recent wedding cake at your house! Total life-saver! :)

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