Friday, July 11, 2014

Easy Crock-Pot Pulled Pork

Of all of the recipes I've ever written and posted on this blog, I'm thinking this one has the least ingredients.  Just a handful in fact, and that's because I got some serious help from Trader Joes.  I purchased their BBQ/Coffee rub with the intention of trying it out on steak, but then, when I decided to make pulled pork for my 4th of July cookout, it was put to good use sooner than planned.

See, I've made pulled pork in the crock-pot before.  I've tried a couple different recipes.  One where I've made my own rub (meh).  Another time, I simply seasoned the pork with salt and pepper and threw it in the crock-pot with 1 liter of coke (tried and true southern method I found on the net).  Both times, the pork came out fork tender, but I must say that when I made it this way, using the TJ's rub, it was tender and flavorful.

I believe that the flavor not only came from the rub but the onions and garlic I decided to add as well as the fact that I seared the meat first before adding it into the crock-pot.  Also, I didn't use as much liquid as I did when I used coke, because I remembered how much liquid the pork produces on its own.  These subtle choices resulted in excellent pulled pork that got rave reviews at my cookout!  And whenever I get raves, I always feel compelled to share the recipe.  This one is definitely full proof and definitely "semi-homemade."  Like I said, I added fresh onions and garlic to a store bought rub AND I also bought the barbeque sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's for the win!).  So literally anyone can make this.  It's cheap and easy! It would be perfect for your next cookout.  Feed a crowd on a dime!

Ingredients: (feeds 6-8)
5 lb bone-in pork shoulder or pork butt
1 extra large white onion or 2 medium onions
4 cloves garlic
½ cup Trader Joes BBQ Rub, or your favorite (McCormick Packets are great, purchase 2)
1 ½ cups chicken stock or broth, divided
¾ cup vegetable or canola oil
2 cups store bought barbecue sauce, plus more for serving


Preheat cock-pot to low.  Slice the onion and arrange on the bottom of the crock-pot.  Roughly chop the garlic cloves and sprinkle over the onion.   Pour one cup of the chicken stock over the onions and garlic.

Next prepare the pork by placing it on a large plate or cutting board and trim off any access fat.  Rub half the spice rub into one side of meat, flip and rub the other half of the spices into the other half of the meat.  Be sure to cover every inch with the spice and press onto the sides as well.

Allow the rub to set while preheating a dutch oven or large cast iron skillet to  high.  Add in the oil and then gently add in the pork.  Sear for a few minutes or until a golden crust has formed.  Then rotate until browned on all sides.

Once completely seared, quickly transfer meat to the crock pot, placing the meat on top of the onions.  Then, use the remaining ½ cup of stock to deglaze the pan, scraping up all of the bits from the bottom.  Pour the stock into the crock pot, cover and cook on low overnight or for 8-9 hours.

Once cooked, transfer meat to a bowl or deep container.  Pour everything from the crock pot into a strainer to separate the juices from the onions.  Discard the juices, add the onions back to the pork and using two forks, shred the meat.  Mix in the two cups of BBQ sauce and serve with buns, coleslaw and additional sauce.  Enjoy!  

Meat removed from crock-pot.

Strained juices.

Used 2 forks to shred the meat. Though I barely had to. So tender!

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