Thursday, July 9, 2009

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Slow cookers came onto the scene in the early 1970's. Yet, for some reason, I'm still not sure about them. What do I mean by that? To answer that question, we must take a little trip down neuroses lane. First stop: Natalie.

I realize that I'm quirky (or as Joe puts it: insane). I might just be a *little* obsessive about certain things. Like how I like right angles- only. You will find very few circular things in our house. Or, how I need symmetry in my life. Not figuratively, literally. I can't deal with things not being symmetrical. While we could go on and on...and on about my little tendencies, I will get to the point: what's wrong with a slow cooker?

First of all, I feel like it's cheating. I love to start something as soon as I get home from work, and let it cook all evening, stopping every few hours to stir or smell the lovely scents. But, there are some recipes that just take too long. So maybe it's worth it. But is it safe? Since slow cookers have been around for so long, they must be safe. Surely, they would have pulled them off the shelves if houses were burning down..right? But, I take issue with plugging in an appliance-then leaving my house for the day. I realize that I'm over analyzing, but I would really hate to burn down my house because of a pork craving. So, I compromised. I borrowed my mom's old crock pot (I didn't even know she had one!) and used it on a day that Joe would be home to supervise.

I'm happy to report that (a) we are all still alive - burn free and (b) the pork was friggin awesome. I'm keeping that crock pot!

Pulled Pork Sandwiches
6 lb Boston pork butt
1 qt chicken broth
1 qt water
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp. whole peppercorns
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. allspice
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. mustard powder
salt and pepper
your favorite barbecue sauce

First, I cut the pork butt in half so that it would fit into the slow cooker. I then liberally coated the pork with salt and pepper on all sides. The pork went into a frying pan over medium-high heat so that I could brown the meat on all sides.

In the slow cooker, I put the onions and garlic in, followed by the pork. I covered it with the remaining ingredients and stirred everything around. You want to make sure that the meat is mostly covered, so adjust the liquids to fit your needs. Turn the cooker on, and walk away!

I cooked my pork for 10 hours, but just cook it until the meat falls apart after you poke it with a fork. It all depends on the amount of meat you are cooking.

Take the pork out of the slow cooker and allow it to cool a bit. Using two forks, shred the pork.

Here is where we come to a crossroads. I don't like fat in my meat. I know, I know- I'm picky. But, this is why I made pulled pork at home: so that I could control what goes into it. I chose to throw away the fat (GASP!) but please, feel free to include it if you so desire. Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Place the shredded pork in a small pot and add your favorite barbecue sauce. Since this was a weeknight, my favorite barbecue sauce came out of a bottle. If it were a weekend, I would have made my own. If you would like to make it yourself, here's a pretty good recipe. Mix the pork with the barbecue sauce and cook just long enough to heat the mixture.

Serve on hamburger buns.

note: While I cooked all 6 lbs of pork in the slow cooker, I only served half of it. This made 4 sandwiches. I shredded the rest of the pork (without sauce) and froze it for future purposes. So, pictures you see above of shredded meat only depicts half of the entire amount cooked.

This pork would also be a tasty option for preparing most Mexican or Cuban dishes. Carnitas anyone?

Also, I apologize for the bad pictures, but my camera is still on the fritz...

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