I love a GOOD pulled pork, but I hate an overcooked, dried out, too fatty, or too bland one. I guess I’m a little picky when it comes to pulled pork. After eating my share of good and not-so-good pulled pork sandwiches from bbq restaurants, I decided to try my hand at making pulled pork. After a couple attempts, I’ve got the recipe for the perfect pulled pork. I’m serious. Just try it. Best news is, you don’t need a smoker or bbq pit, just a slow cooker/ crock pot for the most tender and juicy, flavorful pulled pork around.
To get started, you need a bone-in pork shoulder/ pork butt. I got a big 6 lb one from Sam’s club, but you can go smaller. Just make sure it will fit in your crock pot.
Next, you need a rub. You can use your favorite or go with mine. Honestly, I don’t believe it is the rub’s ingredients that give this pork its magic, but rather the process for cooking it. Though, I do love this rub- it gives the pork enough flavor without overpowering it.
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon ground cayenne
1 tablespoon ground mustard
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
You want to “rub” the rub all over the pork, and you want it slathered on thick. Then, place it in the refrigerator for a few hours. I always do mine overnight. While this step isn’t critical and if you’re in a hurry, you can skip it, letting it rest while “rubbed” lets the rub really penetrate the meat, giving it better flavor.
Next, you want to sear all 6 sides of the pork in a cast iron skillet. Make sure to get the skillet hot, on medium high heat, before adding the pork. You want a brown crust on all sides (about 2 minutes per side) to help seal in the juices. This step gives the outside pieces great crust and depth of flavor.
Next comes the easy part! Place your pork in your crock pot. I then put 2-3 tablespoons of minced garlic on the top of my pork for a little extra punch of flavor. Put your lid on, turn it on low, and don’t peek at it for 7 hours.
Remember, my pork was 6 lbs, so if you’ve got a smaller pork shoulder, it may only need 6 hours. To make sure it is done, test its internal temperature, it should be 190 degrees.
Once the pork is cooked, remove it from the crock pot and let it sit for 20 minutes. This baby is HOT! Then, use a couple forks to pull the pork apart and make sure all the bones are removed. Then, you’re ready to eat! Feel free to take some of the juice in the crock pot and add it to the pulled pork if you want it extra decadent.
Need ideas for what to eat this with? (tho it tastes great just on its own)
-Add to salad
-Add to pastas
-Eat as a sandwich, with added coleslaw.
-I take it from a “Southern” dish to more of an Asian one by putting it on top of rice, then topping with a hoisin-based sauce and adding pickled spicy cucumbers.