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Slow Cooker Pulled Apart Pork



I am so thankful for a slow cooker. It is one amazing invention and I wish I used it before. Even though I work from home, this is a life saver on a busy day. My meal gets done without me standing over it, and I can finish pretty much all my errands and have the time to workout while lunch or dinner is cooking.  How freaking awesome is that?
BBQ food is my favorite from the food pyramid. Joke on the side, my love for BBQ shredded pulled apart pork or any meat is not even funny. It's right up there with bread and pasta.

So, I've been using this recipe for a year now. Slow cooker came to be a much easier solution for me when I have to leave my house, which is quite often these days, however, if I am home all day, I like using trusty Xtrema Ceramic Dutch Oven, which is absolutely fantastic. Also, I experimented with this recipe; I added cumin before, brown sugar, allspice, and cinnamon, and let me tell you, I really didn't like the aroma nor the taste. This recipe is what my family prefers. You can use it with BBQ sauce or without.
At the very end when you finally shred pork, (or chicken if you do not eat pork) I like poring mixture of BBQ sauce with hot sauce such as Sriracha. If you like a bit spicy use it and you will see what I am talking about. It is fantastic!
Slow Cooker Pulled Apart Pork 
Makes about 10-12 pull apart, shredded pork cups
INGREDNETS
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 3 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup Chicken Low Sodium Stock or Broth
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried Parsley
  • 1/2 tablespoon Chili powder or flakes
  • 1/4 tablespoon Salt, more if needed later
  • 1/4 tablespoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 4 to 6 pounds boneless pork shoulder or butt (or 5 to 7 pounds bone-in)
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
Optional
2 cups Barbecue Sauce (your favorite sauce)
1 tablespoon Sriracha Sauce (or any hot sauce)

DIRECTION
  1. Trim off any large pieces of fat from the outside, but leave small pieces and the interior fat. If using boneless pork, cut the pork into several large fist-sized pieces. If using bone-in, leave the pork as is, on the bone. You will take the bone out later when it's cooked. 
  2. Place chopped onion, garlic and celery in an even layer in the slow cooker and pour in the stock or broth. Combine the sugar, chili powder, salt, ground pepper and parsley in a small bowl. Pat the pork dry with paper towels, then rubs the spice mixture all over the pork and place the meat on top of the onions, garlic, and celery. Cover and cook until the pork is fork-tender, about 7 hours on high or about 9-10 hours on low.
  3. Turn off the slow cooker and remove the pork to a large cutting board. Set a fine colander/strainer over a medium bowl (not plastic). Carefully pour the liquid mixture from the slow cooker through the strainer and return the solids to the slow cooker. Use a spoon to skim and discard the fat from the surface of the strained cooking liquid. Set the strained liquid aside - explanation at number 6.
  4. If the pork has a bone, remove and discard it. Using 2 forks, shred the meat into bite-sized pieces, discarding any large pieces of fat. Most of them do have fat, so remove it. 
  5. Return the shredded meat to the slow cooker, add the barbecue sauce, and a bit of hot sauce if you desire, mix to combine. 
  6. If you’re not using BBQ sauce, then add 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid at a time in the slow cooker until the pork is just moistened. Taste and season with salt as needed.

NOTE
  • You may use buns to serve shredded pork or just serve on the plate. 
  • You may use a tablespoon of liquid smoke, although I never used it in my cooking. You may read this interesting overview about liquid smoke HERE 
  • I like using less salt when I am slow cooking pork or chicken. Keep in mind that if you are going to use BBQ Sauce you really do not need more salt. If you are not going to use BBQ Sauce you can add up to 1/2 tbsp. Salt. 
FOR COMPLETE MEAL - POTATOES AND BROCCOLI 
INGREDIENTS 
  • 1 pound broccoli florets, frozen or fresh + salt
  • 2 pounds young/new yellow potatoes, or as much as you can fit in one layer in a large skillet 
  • 2 tablespoons Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Direction
  1. Wash potatoes, then season with salt and pepper 
  2. Turn the oven to 400F. 
  3. Heat skillet on the stove top with oil. 
  4. Add potatoes to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes, turn at least one time. 
  5. Transfer a skillet to the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes, until tender and cooked through. 
Broccoli:
  1. If the broccoli is fresh, then cut the florets off and wash throughout. 
  2. Boil 2 cups of water with 2 teaspoons of salt and place broccoli in the boiling water. 
  3. Cook for 60 seconds, and rinse out with cold water. 
  4. If the broccoli is frozen, and if the bag is not for microwave steaming, then open the bag and drop in hot water and cook for 15-20 seconds, and wash under cold water. Otherwise, place the bag in the microwave and steam according to the broccoli package. 

NOTE
  • Before cooking potatoes, I measure potatoes by placing them in the skillet and use that amount. You may use a large baking pan and use more potatoes. 
  • Also, I always heat the skillet on the stove top to get it started. 
  • You can use a mixture of yellow/gold, red and purple potatoes. They all taste amazing. I just had these golden so that's what I used.
  • Cook pork first and an hour before pork is done, start cooking potatoes if you are going to serve it that day, if not, just store the pork in the fridge after it is fully cooled. 
  • Of course, you would cook broccoli at the last minute. They are not very good when standing too long, so cook them at the very last minute before you would serve a meal. Also, you can use any other vegetable as a side. 
Slow Cooker Pulled Apart Pork
   

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SANDRA

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