I really love using my crockpot. I just love throwing something in & coming back to find my food already wonderfully cooked. Plus, the stoneware of the crockpot bowl is an easy cleanup even if the sides of the stoneware have the crap burned out of them. This pulled pork recipe is so easy to prep & then throw right into the crockpot.
First let’s talk about the pork. There are several cuts of pork that are suitable for pulled pork. Boneless Sirloin Pork Roast is what I usually use because I personally like leaner cuts, but most of the time pulled pork calls for the shoulder cut. Other names to look for in the meat department are pork butt, Boston butt, picnic roast, pork blade roast, or picnic ham. These cuts are great for slow-cooking because they are well marbled with fat & contain connective tissue. The fat is rendered which makes the pork juicy & tender. The connective tissue dissolves into gelatin during cooking which adds extra flavor & a delicate texture. Some of these cuts also come with the bone in. With the bone in, more flavor will be produced from the bone marrow that is inside the bone & comes out during the cooking process. Once the pork is cooked, the meat will be tender enough to just pull that bone right on out easily.
I learned about brining meats in culinary school. I am a huge believer in the brine. I also like a good dry rub. Both of these cooking methods give the pork so much flavor while keeping it super moist.
The brine process will take at least 8 hours. I usually keep my pork in the brine overnight & have had great results with it. The brine is really easy to make. I stick the pork in a 2 gallon Ziploc bag in a large bowl. I pour the brine into the Ziploc with the pork & then put the pork in the refrigerator for the brining time. The rub will be added to the pork in the crockpot bowl after draining the brine & patting the pork with paper towels. Next I add chicken stock. Then I put the lid on the crockpot & turn it on low for 8-10 hours &…Voila!
Once the pork is cooked, I incorporate all the goodness of the chicken stock back into the meat by pulling the pork with a fork for more moisture & more flavor. This thing is CHOCKFULL of goodness!!!
A few times I have also added in barbeque sauce, but it is not necessary. I usually try it & then decide if I feel like having barbeque in my pulled pork. I have a simple recipe for barbeque sauce for those who like to make it from scratch…like me! But, I have also used Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbeque Sauce when I already have it on hand.
To finish, I make a simple coleslaw to top the pulled pork on whatever buns I feel like having. Sometimes I have used white sesame seed buns or slider buns & when I feel like I need to be healthier, I have used whole wheat buns. There have been a few times I have just eaten the pulled pork with the coleslaw & no bun. I have tried it lettuce wrap style too. Whatever floats your boat…because TRUST ME this pulled pork can stand alone…it is soooooooo good!!!
- Dry Rub:
- 2 T Paprika
- 2 T Cumin
- 2 T Garlic Powder
- 2 T Chili Powder
- 2 T Onion Powder
- 2 T Black Pepper
- 2 T Salt
- 1 T Cayenne Pepper
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 4 bay leaves
- Brine Solution:
- ½ cup salt
- ½ cup white sugar
- 4 bay leaves
- 4 T dry rub
- 2 quarts water
- 4-8lbs Pork Shoulder (pork butt, Boston butt, picnic roast, pork blade roast, or picnic ham)
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 cup barbeque sauce
- 1lb bag coleslaw
- ½ cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 T sugar
- pinch of salt
- pinch of pepper
- Dry Rub: Add spices in the crock pot with a fork. Store spices in crockpot overnight while waiting for the pork to brine.
- Brine: Add 2 cups of the water to the Ziploc bag & add salt & sugar. Move the Ziploc around until the salt & sugar is dissolved. Place Ziploc in the bowl & add pork inside the Ziploc. Add the rest of the water. Add bay leaves & dry rub. Move the bag around to make sure everything is dissolved completely. Let sit for at least 8 hours or for best results overnight.
- Pulled Pork: Drain brine from pork. Pat pork dry with paper towels. Place pork into the crockpot to add dry rub to the entire outside of the pork. Make sure the pork is completely covered in the dry rub. Add 1 cup of chicken stock to the crock pot. Put lid on crockpot. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. With a fork, “pull” the pork incorporating all of the chicken stock into the pork. If desired, add barbeque sauce.
- Coleslaw: Mix all ingredients. Let sit for 15 minutes. Serve with pulled pork.