Edible Bozeman

Slow Cooked Pulled Pork

Pulled pork practically makes itself in a slow cooker. The key is having a pork roast on hand, so pick one up and stash it in the freezer. To thaw, set it on a dish and leave it in the refrigerator for a day or two: When it’s time to cook, either braise with a couple beers or take the sweeter route with cider or a barbecue sauce (or, really, any other bottled sauce, like teriyaki marinade). See the matrix below for three spice and braising combinations to get you started—but as always, have fun experimenting!

To make pulled pork in advance: After cooking, cool the pork to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight, or up to three days. (This will make it easy to remove and discard the hardened fat from the surface before reheating.) Before serving, simply heat the pulled pork on the stovetop, in the slow cooker, or in an oven-safe serving dish covered with foil (300°F for 30 minutes).

To make the sandwiches pictured, you’ll need some toasted ciabatta buns and coleslaw. I suggest the Modified Memphis Coleslaw on my blog, RIPE Food & Wine.

PULLED PORK

1 pork shoulder roast (2–3 pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Spices and braising liquid (see matrix)

BEER BRAISE

Spices
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cumin

Braising Liquid
2 beers (12 ounces each)

CIDER BRAISE

Spices
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon chile powder (Montana Mex red is good)

Braising Liquid
1 beer or hard cider (12 ounces)
1 cup apple juice or cider
½ cup apple cider vinegar

BBQ BRAISE

Spices
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cumin
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Braising Liquid
1 beer (12 ounces)
1 bottle (12–18 ounces) barbecue sauce (Stubb’s Sweet Heat is good)

Dry the roast with paper towels, then cut off and discard any large pieces of fat—you’re not going to get it all, and you don’t even want to. Cut roast into 3 or 4 pieces. Season with salt and spices.

Heat the oil in a slow cooker insert (make sure it’s safe for the stove top) or Dutch oven. Add meat and brown on all sides. Take the time to develop a dark brown color—this adds great flavor to your braise. Transfer the pork to a slow cooker, add the braising liquid, and set to low for 6 hours.

When the meat is cooked, pull it apart gently with a wooden spoon and fork. If there is a lot of liquid left, I suggest removing the meat to a plate and reducing the sauce by about a third to thicken slightly, then transferring the meat back to the sauce. Serve with coleslaw and toasted ciabatta rolls or other buns.

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