Perfect and Nearly Effortless Pulled Pork (a Crock Pot Recipe)
Last month I worked on a barbecue piece for the Brooklyn-based print journal Remedy Quarterly. The barbecue sauce recipe included hails from my stepmom’s side of the family; the recipe dates to the Civil War from the Arkansas-Texas border. Since writing the article, I’ve wanted barbecue in a bad way. Last Sunday, despite having tons of food in the house (including a whole smoked chicken from Marczyk’s Fine Foods), I decided to make some pulled pork in the crock pot and try out the sauce. It was a resounding success, and some of the best pulled pork I’ve ever had.
Crock Pot Pulled Pork
1 cup of water or broth of your choice (I used chicken)
1 pork shoulder
salt of your choice (I used Savory Spice Shop’s Red Rocks Hickory Seasoning –it’s mostly salt and paprika)
Add water or broth to crock pot and set on high to heat up. Season pork shoulder and sear on all sides in a lightly-oiled skillet. Add pork to crock pot when the water’s as warm as you can get it/have the patience for. Cook on high for about 30 minutes then turn to low. Make sure the cover is as tight as possible. The one I used was disturbingly uneven so I also covered it with a kitchen towel.
After six or seven hours, take the utensil of your choice (preferably a knife or fork) and test the pork. If it’s as tender as you could ever hope for, turn it over, cover for ten minutes or so, and move pork shoulder to a large enough casserole dish. Remove the fat and use two forks to shred. Add your sauce, heat up again, and serve on the bun of your choice with or without cole slaw.
Barbecue Sauce for Pork*
1-2 tablespoon(s) of butter (or margarine, for authenticity)
2 cups of your favorite ketchup
2-3 tablespoons or more to taste of white vinegar
2-3 tablespoons of white or brown sugar
1 wedge of lemon or more
2 teaspoons of Worcestershire or A1 sauce
and, if you’re me,
2 teaspoons of Sriracha
Add the butter to a sauce pan heated to medium-low. When butter is foaming, add the rest of the ingredients in the order listed. Stir well and adjust the vinegar to sugar ratio to suit your tastes. You’ll know you have the recipe right when the vinegar burns a bit when you taste it. I thought pulled pork was best with a pure vinegar-mustard sauce until I made this just right. Perfection.
* Use less sugar when dressing other meats besides pork.