Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pulled Pork

If you hand me a plate of any type of slow-cooked meat, you can be pretty sure I’ll polish off the entire thing. Pit beef, ribs, brisket, pot roast and especially pulled pork. We have a few good barbecue restaurants by us but, even so, I like having the option of making it at home some days. I think I also feel better because I trim most of the fat off of the roasts before slow-cooking them, and I know exactly what is in my spice rub. I can tailor the rub to suit our personal tastes, and the leftover pork freezes perfectly for another, even faster meal in the future.

Making delicious pulled pork at home is easier than most people think. You can slow cook it in your oven at about 220 degrees as per the original recipe, but I use my crock pot. I feel a lot safer leaving for work with my pork roast in a crock pot instead of leaving my oven on all day. I’ve tried several different spice rubs, both homemade and pre-packaged, and my husband and I both agree that the current mix I’m using is a winner to both of our taste buds. The cinnamon adds unique, but subtle warmth to the pork and a little punch that really accentuates the natural flavors nicely.
We use a bottled sauce because we have yet to find a recipe we both like as much as Famous Dave’s Rich and Sassy sauce, a variety of Open Pit sauces or KC Masterpiece’s options. I may have to try the recipe my parents were raving about from the Neely’s on Food Network, but sometimes, especially on a work night, simple is better. It takes practically no time at all to get the pork seasoned and in the crock pot, and after cooking all day, the shredding process is incredibly easy, the pork practically falls apart before I can get to it with a fork.
A few buns, some sauce, and we’re in business. With a good sauce, this pork doesn’t need much else. If you really wanted to sauté some veggies to put on your sandwich, you could easily do that, but I like mine plain. And if pulled pork isn’t classy enough, we really like to up the ante with a side of tater tots.
If that doesn’t convince you to give it a try, think of this – at one of our local barbecue places, a barbecue pork sandwich for lunch costs $5.49. This recipe yields about six servings. The picnic roast (or pork butt/shoulder) was 8 dollars for about 3 pounds, buns were about 50 cents each at our grocery store bakery and the barbecue sauce was 6 dollars (but of course we didn’t come close to using all of it). Assuming you already have the other ingredients in your pantry, this meal costs approximately $2.83 per sandwich. For six servings, that’s a savings of just under 16 dollars. It may not seem like much, but add that up over a period of time, and you could have some pretty serious savings. I think it makes the sandwich taste that much better when I realize just how much we can save making some of our favorite restaurant foods at home.

Try it out, you won’t regret it!
Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Serves 4

Adapted from
Chocolate Shavings

3 lbs of pork Shoulder, or pork butt
1 tablespoon of paprika
A pinch of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup of low sodium chicken stock
2 bay leaves
Small ciabatta breads
1/2cup of your favorite barbecue sauce

In a small bowl, add the paprika, onion powder, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Using your hands, rub the mixture on all sides of the pork. Set to marinate in the fridge for an hour.

Place in a slow cooker. Add chicken stock. Cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours, until the pork is very tender.

Remove the pork from the slow cooker and discard the remaining liquid. Shred the pork using a couple of forks. Place the meat back in the slow cooker along with the barbecue sauce and continue to cook for another 20-30 minutes until the pork is hot again. Serve on buns with extra barbecue sauce.



oneordinaryday said...

Love that pinch of cinnamon. Bet it kicks the whole thing up a notch, to coin a phrase. Looks delicious.

Shelby said...

I LOVE pulled pork. As a matter of fact, I made pulled pork for Grumpy's birthday party this year! Your sandwich looks yummy!

Caroline said...

The cinnamon really is one of our favorite parts of the rub. It's just enough to give it a 'warmth' without tasting all-out cinnamon.

I'm sure Grumpy loved his pulled pork! I've made it several times now for the hubby and he's said this is definitely his favorite recipe - and it's the only one I've made more than once for him, so I know he likes it!

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