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Pulled pork crockpot recipe?

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  • z4fox Jun 23, 2012 06:05 PM
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[We've moved this post from the thread at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/501615 -- The Chowhound Team]

I'm looking for a pulled pork recipe for 16 people. With appetizers & salads this just might do it. I'm thinking of spilitting the 10 lbs into two crock pots (mine plus a borrowed one). Any comments?

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  1. This is a take on Shirley Corriher's pulled pork in the oven but made in a crockpot.

    Coat a 3-4 lb pork shoulder blade roast with Worcestershire Sauce (quarter to half a cup, enough to make a small pool in the bottom). Crust said roast up with brown sugar (half a cup to a cup) by just smooshing the sugar into the meat. Cook roast all day (7-8 hrs min) in the crock pot on high, with the roast's layer of adipose fat down on the tiny rack on the bottom of the cooker (makes it easier to pull apart later). Once the roast has turned into loosely connected meat fibers ("pull apart" texture), take a fork or two and pull out all the meat to a bowl, separating it from the remaining fat. Ladel a bunch of the molten gelatin and other roast drippings from the bottom of the crock pot onto the meat and stir until you get a really unctuous consistency (just a pile of meat strings held together with pork jell-o). Now this is important: add enough salt to make your cardiologist scream. This dish really needs a healthy dose of salt to bring out the good flavors. I'm not going to say how much, just keep pinching it on and stirring it in until you come to that really delicious flavor you are looking for.

    A few drops (and no more!) of a good quality liquid smoke probably wouldn't hurt here. No mesquite though. Apple or pecan if you can get it, hickory if you can't.

    1. A friend who is of Cuban descent makes an awesome Cuban-style pulled pork in her crockpot by just putting the seasoned (s&p) pork butt in a crockpot with an entire bottle of mojo criollo and just cooking that. It really is great. May not be what you're looking for though...

      1 Reply
      1. re: Leepa

        I make something I called Pulled Pork (just made it yesterday as a matter of fact) I guess it is really Cuban Pernil. Very simple, cook low and slow in the oven; I do it a couple of times a year when the pork shoulder goes down to $1.39 or under ( a few years ago i would have said under $1). It will last us awhile.

      2. Have you considered doing it in the oven?

        You'll get better results in my opinion.

        1. I make my pulled pork in a crock pot. I use a rub on the meat comprising of salt, chili powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, granulated garlic and pepper. I chop 2 medium onions into large pieces and put it on the bottom of the crockpot. I add the meat. Then I add a 12 ounce bottle of beer, a 16 ounce bottle of barbecue sauce (make your own if you like), and 8 ounces of pineapple juice.
          Put a lid on the crockpot and cook on low for 8 - 10 hours. Remove the meat and let cool. Take 3 - 4 cups of the braising liquid out of the crockpot. Strain it and defat it. Reduce braising liquid to half the volume and add a tbl of cornstarch slurry to thicken a little. Season to taste. I usually add some salt, black pepper, thyme.. maybe a tiny bit of liquid smoke.

          Use 2 forks to pull the pork. Discard excess fat. Add a little of the reduced bbq sauce (braising liquid) and mix. Serve on hamburger buns with relish and sweet onion. I usually put a little more bbq sauce on the sandwich, too.

          The pineapple juice adds a very nice flavor. My family loves this stuff.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Hank Hanover

            You had me at pineapple juice, man I'm hungry now!

            1. re: HillJ

              It's sort of reminiscent of tacos al pastor. In fact, I'm sure this would be great in a tortilla.
              You can add up to about 4 more ounces of pineapple juice but after that the bbq sauce/braising liquid starts getting pretty sweet.

              I suspect you could go with an Asian/ Hawaiian theme by substituting some of the beer with sake. Adding some garlic and ginger and putting them on Hawaiian sweet rolls.

            2. re: Hank Hanover

              Hank, think I'll call British Airways for a ticket to your place. Yum.

              1. re: pine time

                pine time, I hop in your suitcase! Thanks for HH!

                1. re: HillJ

                  From what I have seen of your posts over the years, you are a hell of lot better cook than I am.

                  Oh, I just got a very nice digitally controlled smoker, today! I'm looking forward to putting some smoke on my pork butt.

                  1. re: Hank Hanover

                    HH, old dog, new tricks! Life long learner. Keep em coming! And, smokers are da bomb. I smoke turkey's pretty often and need to experiment with pork butt more.

            3. Old Carolina Barbecue Co. Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork
              http://www.recipesecrets.net/forums/c...

              Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork, Rub & BBQ Sauce
              http://www.recipesecrets.net/forums/c...

              Slow Cooker Carnitas
              http://www.recipesecrets.net/forums/c...

              1. well, the beauty of pulled pork in the crock is that it's nearly impossible to mess it up. Just put yr favorite seasoning in and concentrate on making an awesome coleslaw to top it with.

                1. I just made the Splendid Table recipe http://www.publicradio.org/columns/sp...
                  but reduced the liquid smoke (I used 2 TB versus the 1/2 c). I could do without the liquid smoke, but the rub was really nice. I used smoked spanish paprika for half of the paprika. I always think pulled pork in the crockpot is the perfect do ahead and forget it kind of meal, but I haven't found "the one" yet. I'll have to try some of the suggestions here!

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: cookingofjoy

                    Try doing it in the oven. It's easier and I think it yields better results.

                    1. re: 1POINT21GW

                      Considering how hot modern crockpots cook now, that's a pretty good idea. You could set the oven for 200 degrees and actually braise.

                      1. re: Hank Hanover

                        I simply treat the oven just like the smoker. I'll brine the pork butt, put a dry rub on it, then put it directly on the oven rack and roast it at 250 degrees F until it pulls.

                        A pan on the rack below catches any drippings from which I can make a sauce.

                        I find that this method yields pulled pork that's much closer to the texture it should be rather than the pot roast texture that I often have gotten from a Crock-Pot.

                        1. re: Hank Hanover

                          I agree 100% with Hank and 1point121GW.

                          i have two pro smokers, a Webber kettle, a gas grill , a std indoor oven and a crock pot.
                          Too hot for the oven, break out teh grill.

                          Unless I have absolutely no alternative, my pork butt does not go in the crock pot for unless for a specific recipe that calls for it and I can tell you why.

                          As pointed out above, modern crock pots often do not get into the lower 250 to 275 degree cooking ranges that work best. Blame the USDA food safety police. I have several modern crock pot and when bought new, I filled the crock 3/4 of the way with water than set to lowest temp. After a stable temp has been reached (usually 4 hours), measure temp and record. Do same for all knob or button settings. Now you have a temp baseline for each crockpot. And I mean REAL cooking temps.Not ranges like the manual states.

                          I bet most will be in the 325 to 350 range, even on low. or warm.

                          For BBQ pork, i like a bark. Rubbing the pork with spices and then essentially "braising" it in the crockpot loses that potential for flavor and texture. That's where your oven shines. Plus you can control the temp.

                          Last is fat rendering.

                          If you've ever smoked or oven cooked low and slow a pork but , a LOT of fat is rendered out during the cooking process. A LOT. And oddly, even when cooked, it still has a ton of fat left in it. So where does that fat go when you cook in a crockpot?
                          It certainly does not drop to teh pan below , but it still renders out and goes somewhere. That leads to a lot of skimming and added fat (gravity vs a spoon) and often to a greasy product in teh end as i have found out.

                          As for holding the oven cooked butt in the crockpot for warming after shredding---- brilliant!

                          Now I'm not poo-pooing crockpots. i have several and they have many uses. If time is at a minimum, crockpot away with your butt, but for the same amount of time , I've always got a much higher quality pulled pork cooking with dry heat. No matter the heat source.

                          My $.02.

                          1. re: jjjrfoodie

                            jjjrfoodie: I second your every word. I love my slow-cooker for many things, including GREAT chicken wings (finish in oven). It is THE best way to produce intense chicken stock.

                            But our precious pulled pork does not go into the slow cooker. And that is because of an additional factor that you did not mention above.

                            Anything that contains vinegar, as an ingredient, has that become a 'top-note' when cooked in the slow-cooker. I don't know why from a technical perspective, but the same Adobe Pork and Pulled Pork Recipes that I use in the oven require drastic reductions of the vinegar content when adapted for the slow-cooker, if not to be over-whelmed with a 'pickled' taste.

                            So with that much adaptation, AND the fat issue, I say: why bother?

                    2. Wow, you've all offered so many good alternatives.

                      Ok, since I'm cooking 10 lbs, I'll go for the oven. However, here in Toronto we have time-of-use-power pricing. Using the oven during peak time is very expensive. Plus lately we've had outside air temps at 37 degrees C (99 F) and a humidex of 45C (115F). So, oven + airconditioning is crazy $$$. But costs for off peak evenings & weekends are about 50% lower . I'll do this on Saturday. My range is gas, which is fantastic and in my crystal ball I see a new "gas" oven.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: z4fox

                        If you're doing it the day before, take the juices that the pan below will catch and once they've cooled put them in a glass and put that in the refrigerator. The next day, simply lift off the fat that will have solidified at the top.

                        Taste the drippings to make sure they're worth using, then use that as an addition to your barbecue sauce to finish your pulled pork with.

                        To reheat your pork the next day, simply take your pulled pork and place it in a large disposable baking pan and pour over it your newly made finishing sauce. Seal with foil and reheat on 300 degrees F in your oven until just hot. You don't want to get it hotter than 150 or you'll start cooking it again which means it will begin rendering more gelatin and/or fat or even begin drying out - any of which will begin to degrade the texture you've worked so hard to achieve the day before as well and the flavor you worked so hard to get by mixing the de-fatted drippings with your barbecue sauce. Stir the reheating pork about every 20 minutes or so until it reaches 150 degrees. If you still need to hold the pulled pork longer until service just wrap the pan sealed with foil in two big towels and place this in a cooler. Your pork will stay hot and safe for hours like this.

                        Please post back how it goes!

                        1. re: 1POINT21GW

                          I've gotten in the habit of adding the drippings to rice (often leftover from Chinese takeout) and a half can of black beans, it's a nice side dish. But I actually braise my pork, more Cuban style, so there's lots of fruity juice.

                      2. z4fox, i understand your electricity cost dilemma and the great part about slow and low cooked pulled pork is it is usually done overnight being that it is usually a 8 to 12 hour process if not more. Win-win.

                        Kitchen heat buildup is the only downside unless cooked in the winter time.

                        Now keep in mind i do a lot of good unique crock pot recipes like a spiff on cochinita pibil (pork that is normally wrapped in a banana leaf to keep moist and then baked in a pot--voila'-just like the crock pot-and seasoned with a bunch of spices, achiote paste, orange juice and citrus, sliced onions and some chiles. Comes out perfect every time.

                        I don't use too fatty of a cut of pork and the dish turns out just as if baked with the leaf.

                        A crock pot is just a kitchen tool that has its sweet spot. Several friends have shared their crock pot pork with me. Good, yes. And most families or eaters out there would be very happy.. I share my smoked or oven done butts or ribs and I get a heavenly look. Then they get it.

                        Boosting flavor with bark and full rub intensity AND less fat is what dry heat give you in my opinion.

                        I've eaten and have mainly been served crock pot meals for over 30 years and the joys and the pitfalls still remain.

                        Do your research and know your crock pot's strength's and weaknesses. Remember, It's just food and a learning experience in the end. No biggie.