Day 1: Crock Pot Pulled Pork

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Does anyone else feel like Toby when someone mentions pulled pork? I hope Toby and I aren’t alone! Oh well, moving on.

My idea this week is show how versatile and cost effective pulled pork can be! It’s less expensive  than many other cuts and depending on how you season it, it can be used in many different genres of food. It’s about an hour of labor upfront, but the end result is absolutely worth it! You’ll easily get a week of meals for two for $13-15.

Here’s what we used for our crockpot pulled pork! This is a very “-ish” recipe. Therefore, you can feel free to adapt it to your taste. We have friends who add whiskey to the Crock Pot. The sky’s the limit.

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Ingredients & Equipment:

Crock Pot & CROCK POT LINERS!!!! They are life savers. Unless they break. Then they don’t save much effort, but it’s worth the gamble!

5+ lb Bone-In or Boneless Boston Butt (I used a 7.5 lb Bone-In Boston Butt) Pork butt isn’t actually from the “butt” of the pig at all. It’s from the shoulder. TIL.

~4 cups of chicken stock (this will vary based on the size of your crockpot)

2 Tbs onion powder

2 Tbs of minced garlic or 5-6 cloves

1 Tbs cumin

1 Tbs oregano

1 Tbs coriander

1 Tbs crushed red pepper flakes

1 tsp cayenne

2 jalapenos

Juice from 2-3 limes (I know 4 limes are pictured, but I only ended up using 2)

Directions:

Here’s where things get a little messy. My awesome hubby offered to carve the meat for me today. This took him about 25 minutes. If you’re used to carving meats then this should be a good amount of time to allot yourself. If you’re more inexperienced at this, like myself, give yourself 45 minutes.  If you want to save some time, you can buy the boneless pork shoulder instead. If you can only find bone-in at your grocery store, you can ask the butcher to de-bone it for you. But, bone-in is cheaper. And if you cook the bone with your meat, you’ll have a very happy dog. Because you gave the bone to the dog.

  1. Make sure there is nothing in your sink that’s valuable. Now rinse the pork shoulder to get off all of the fluids. I know, It’s gross. Make sure to wash your sink well after this.

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2. Now it’s time to remove most of the fat that usually covers one side of the shoulder.  Remove any veins or bloody bits that you might see as well. Make sure your knife is sharpened before you start, it will make the whole process easier. Trevor uses two 1/2 inch wide knives that he sharpens right before.

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Don’t worry about removing too much external fat, there is plenty of inter/intra-muscular fat to keep the pork shoulder flavorful and juicy.

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It helps to have a grocery bag or trash can ready to throw the fat in as you cut it off.

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3. After removing most of the fat, feel around for the bone. Once you find it, cut the pork shoulder to separate the side with the bone from the side without it. You can also remove some more fat and veins if you see them.

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4. Now it’s time to remove the bone. This is easier than it sounds. You’re just going to follow the bone with your knife, and let your knife do most of the work. Trivia time! What’s that bone? I’ll give you a hint. It mostly rhymes with spatula.

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Don’t worry about leaving some meat on the bone. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

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There’s our stinker, patiently waiting for scraps to fall on the ground. Look at those bat ears!

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5. You’ll want to get a larger knife to cut the pork shoulder further. On your first half you removed (the piece without the bone), cut the pork shoulder into steaks about an inch to an inch and half. Then cut those steaks into chunks a little smaller then palm size.. Or however you prefer. Again, it is a very “~ish” recipe.

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6. Now add the cut up pork shoulder in your Crock Pot. USE a Crock Pot liner!! This is probably the most important tip of any crock pot cooking.  Crock Pots can be a nightmare to clean, especially after you’ve been cooking pork shoulder in it all day! Should you choose (against my advice) to not use a liner, be sure to wash the Crock Pot while it is still warm. Otherwise, you’ll have pork concrete in your Crock Pot.

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7. Now add your spices and stock. Make sure to add the chicken stock last. You want just enough liquid to nearly submerge the pork.

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8. After you add your stock, take a wooden spoon and mix the spices and liquid together.

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9. Cook the pork on high for 7-8 hours. This seems like a long time to cook, but pork shoulder can be very tough. So it has to be cooked long and slow. It’s worth it, I promise you.

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10. Relax, go to the store, have a drink, take a nap, have another drink. When your timer is done, proceed to step 11.

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11. (Change of scenery – 8 hours is a long time and we had a party to go to!) Using a slotted spoon or RUBBER COATED tongs, remove your pieces of pork from the Crock Pot and transfer them to your Kitchen Aid with the paddle attached. Of course, if you’re not in close proximity to a life-altering stand mixer, put it on your list for Santa. In the meantime, while you’re regretting your recent non-mixer buying choices, load your pork into a 9 x 13 glass baking dish and get two big forks. Shred the pork manually or simply turn on the mixer. The choice is yours. #nobias.

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12. Once shredded, your pork will look . . . shredded. I should have been a writer. If the meat appears a little dry, add a ladle or two of the cooking liquid back to the mix. It depends on your use. If you aren’t eating it all now, which we all hope you aren’t, set it out into the containers you want to divvy it up into for your weekly meals. Leave the lids off and the containers on the counter until the pork reaches room temp and then cover and fridge it up. Yay, food safety!

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Insert photo of finished taco here. This one was prepared with some cilantro, onion, and lime juice.

Whew, that was a long post, guys! I want to thank Trevor for helping me write this. If the voice is a little different, that’s why. Or if there are extra commas. That was him. It was a lot of information and I wanted to make sure I explained everything well. I’m excited for the beginning of pulled pork week and I hope y’all are too! 🙂 If you try this out or have any other ways that you make your pulled pork, please let me know! And as always “if I don’t see you: good afternoon, good evening, and goodnight!”

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