Monday, August 29, 2011

Quick Eats: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Today's post is brought to you by the letter F, for Fire Marshall. (I'd tell you the whole story, but let's just say our oven at work was disconnected and we had no way of making our usual Friday frozen pizzas.) So in order to make sure we could maintain a happy office I offered to make one of my favorite things: slow cooker pulled pork.

This is probably one of my favorite recipes, only because of its simplicity. It's a great way to make a lot of food with little effort. Pork made like this comes out juicy, flavorful, and best of all reheats well for a lot of leftovers. You'll need to make a brine, very similar to the stuffed pork chops, and let it sit overnight.

For the brine:
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar (substitute with brown sugar, honey, molasses, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup vinegar (apple cider vinegar works best)
  • 1 tray of ice cubes

For the meat:
  • pork shoulder (Boston butt)

Depending on the size of your pork you'll need to double the amount of brine.  Heat in a saucepan until the salt and sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, add the tray of ice cubes (which is typically about 2 cups of water, giving you 1 quart of water total) and allow to cool to close to room temperature.

Place your meat in a pot then pour the brine over. Top off with a little water to make sure it's covered and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, remove the pork and discard the brine. Rinse the meat and place in your slow cooker and set it to low. (If you have a large piece of pork you may want to set it on high.) With brined meats there is little chance of drying out. After about 8 hours of cooking a good amount of liquid will have accumulated and the meat should fall apart easily.

Remove meat from the slow cooker, taking care to separate out the bone and any large pieces of fat. Using two forks, pull apart the pieces of meat.

You can eat this as is: if you like the taste of pork, you'll love it. I like to mix in enough barbeque sauce to give it some color and a little flavor, then leave extra sauce on the side for people to "fix" it themselves.

Any meat will work for this as long as it has a good amount of fat. Something like turkey breast or a very lean roast would need some sort of added liquid, such as stock, broth, beer, etc. Anything with a good amount of fat or connective tissue would work well.

One final tip! For leftovers we like to use our vacuum sealer and create little pouches of meat. To reheat, all you have to do is boil it in water for a few minutes.


  1. **heaven** i've found your food blog!


  2. Hi Anthony!

    I love using my slow cooker for beef and pork. You might enjoy putting an al pastor twist on this. Add a couple of dried chiles to that brine, then place sliced onion and fresh pineapple on top of the meat in the cooker. The pineapple tenderizes the meat, besides lending a nice flavor. I like that in a tortilla with some chopped cabbage, cilantro and squeeze of lime. But it's also good on a bun with pickles and slaw.

  3. YUUUUUUMMM! I have always wanted to try this! I used to work for a recipe website and there were TONS of slow cooker pulled pork recipes floating around. They all looked amazing. What do you put in the sandwiches? I like mine with cole slaw.