19 October 2012

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork - perfect for winter!

I've been eyeing up various recipes for pulled pork for a very long time.  The reasons I hadn't got around to making it until now, were firstly because we didn't have a barbecue to cook it on and secondly, when we did have a barbecue, it rained.  And rained.  And threw it down - repeatedly.

Then, however, I saw a blog posting from a lady (forgive me, but I've forgotten who it was and on which blog I saw it - should've made a note!) who had experimented with cooking pulled pork in the slow cooker, with amazing results.

Bing!  Genius.

Now I'd have thought that the slow cooker would have resulted in the pork becoming too soft and not having that roasted flavour that is essential to a good pulled pork recipe.  How wrong was I?

So this Pulled Pork recipe was a bit of a major production in time, if not in effort.  Nope, it definitely didn't involve a lot of effort.  I simply prepared the pork by trimming it a little bit, then rubbed it with a whole heap of spices and flavours (chipotle chilli, English mustard, smoked paprika, garlic, brown sugar) and left it to marinate overnight.

What started out as one piece, fell into four after 12 hrs!
The following day, first thing in the morning, open up the slow cooker, open up the plastic bag in which the pork was marinating - and bung the contents into the cooker.  Tip half a jar of Mic's Chilli El Loco BBQ sauce over the poor confused piece of piggy - turn the cooker to low - and forget about it for the rest of the day.

Some 12 hours later, put some chips on to cook (deep fry them if you must - but oven baked curly fries did the job for us) and prepare your sub rolls.

Lift the pork from the slow cooker and pull it apart with two forks - just like you've seen them do it on the t.v.  Now - this is the tricky bit.  Try, really really hard, not to eat too much before you can get it onto the sub rolls.  Yes, I know it's difficult - so, so difficult - but this was intended to be a meal for the whole family with leftovers - remember?

See that apple sauce peeking out?  Yum.
Because I'm a rampant traditionalist at heart, I gave my sub rolls a liberal coating of apple sauce - and not the American type of apple sauce that is nigh on liquid, the type that has chunks of apple in it and is closer to a tart jam.  The pulled pork then went on top, with a scoop of the liquid from the slow cooker on top (and boy, that "sauce" was amazing!).

My menfolk eschewed the apple sauce version and went for a liberal coating of the El Loco BBQ Sauce on their rolls, with pork on top and the slow cooker juices poured on.

Oh my gawd, but it was good.

Now okay, I'll accept that it didn't have the charred flavour that you would have got from the barbecue, but there were so many deep and meaningful flavours going on there anyway, that we really didn't miss it.  I'm sure that, had we have finished the pork on the barbecue, it would have taken on a completely sublime flavour - but just straight from the slow cooker was pretty darned awesome.

So for people who don't have a garden, or a barbecue, you too can have pulled pork!  Either cook it - well wrapped - for 12 hours in an extremely low oven, or break out the slow cooker.

Oh my - just the memory of this pork is making my mouth water.  The weekend is coming - hi thee down to your local butcher and get a pork shoulder.  You'll be glad you did!


Ingredients :

1kg boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of extraneous fat
1 chipotle chilli
1 tbsp English mustard powder
1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
half a tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 clove of garlic, grated
around 200ml of prepared BBQ sauce (as in Mic's Chilli El Loco BBQ Sauce).

Method :

1.  Into a large freezer bag (one large enough to take the pork as well), add all the dry ingredients and the garlic.  Mix well.

2.  Add the pork and seal the bag.  Then massage the meat through the bag, ensuring that the rub ingredients reach every single little bit of the meat.  Once well covered and well rubbed in, leave to marinate in the fridge for around 12 hours (overnight is best!).

You may well find it necessary to double bag the pork, to resist your fridge contents smelling of BBQ garlic!

3.  Take the pork out of the fridge and allow it to return to room temperature (around 30 minutes).

4.  Decant the pork straight from the bag into the slow cooker - along with any juices.

5.  Pour the barbecue sauce over the pork, ensuring it is well covered.

6.  Turn the slow cooker for low and leave for 12 hours.

7.  When done, remove from the cooker and cover with silver foil.  Allow to rest for 15 minutes or so, then pull apart with two forks to create the classic "pulled pork" look.

8.  Serve in baps or sub rolls, with apple sauce, additional BBQ sauce, some salad or anything you fancy additionally.  Don't forget to add a spoonful or two of the juices from the slow cooker on the top of the pork once it has been laid into the roll.


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