‘get sauced’ pulled pork

Things are getting saucy in the kitchen today, dears!

I don’t know about y’all, but one of my most favorite meals to enjoy during the summer months is pulled pork. Tender and succulent, full of flavor, it’s a great meal that is easily adaptable to any palette. Prefer using chicken breasts and thighs over a pork shoulder? Go ahead and make the swap! Or are you a red meat lover and want to use a chuck roast? Go right ahead!

In addition to being a multifaceted meal, it’s great for summer because we get to use our trusty crockpot. By now, everyone knows that I have a {not-so-secret} love for this great kitchen tool. It keeps my kitchen cool {because I have yet to turn on the air conditioning}, it requires minimal prep work, and I can simply toss it in and set it before heading to the office in the morning. Does life get any better?

I am particularly fond of this recipe because it makes use of some of my favorite herbs and spices. But don’t think of this as a set in stone recipe! It is not that in the least. As I talked about above…just like you meat preference, feel free to swap out any of the ingredients listed below. I promise…you won’t hurt my feelings! You can take a “tex mex” twist on this recipe by subbing in some cumin, adobo spices, and a Mexican beer {I think a Negra Modelo would be fantastic} for the more traditional BBQ spices I’ve outlined. Feeling a little fancy? Throw in other root vegetables {potatoes, etc.} and sub out the beer for a bold red wine. Not a big fan of cooking with alcohol? Simply use a good, quality beef stock {or chicken if you’re cooking with white meat}.

It’s versatile dishes like this that keep me coming back in the kitchen. It makes for a wonderful al fresco dinner, sitting outside and enjoying the summer air, candles lit and music playing. Good food, good company, and good weather is perfection on said days.

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Oh…and it’s absolutely delicious. Enjoy!

~~~

‘Get Sauced’ Pulled Pork {adapted slightly from 100 Days of Real Food}

Ingredients:

3 tbsp. paprika

1 tbsp. salt

2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper

1/2 to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper {I used closer to 1/2}

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 C. honey

1/4 C. red wine vinegar

1 bottle beet {I opted for a Newcastle, which paired extremely well with the flavors of the pork and spices}

3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced

4 lbs. pork shoulder, trimmed of any excess fat

 

To Prepare:

In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix together the first six ingredients {all of the spices} with a fork.

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Pour in the honey, vinegar and olive oil. Stir to form a paste.

Place the onion in the bottom of your slow cooker, making sure to create a nice bed for the pork to rest on. Place the pork atop the onions, and then pour the spice/honey paste over all the sides of the pork. Expect some to drip down the sides  – that’s ok! Coating the onions slightly with it will only enrich the flavor.

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Pour in the bottle of beer and mix around to coat the pork. It will come about halfway up the sides of the meat, give or take the height of it. I made sure to place a good amount of the sliced onions on the top of the pork.

Turn the slow cooker on to low and cook for at least 8 hours, or until the meat is tender enough to pull apart with a fork. Mine cooked from about 8am until 4:30pm, there upon which I lowered the crokpot to ‘warm’.

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To Serve:

{optional} Scoop the majority of the cooking liquid, onions and all, into a small sauce pot. Mix well with about 1/2 to 1  C. of tomato sauce {I used homemade marinara because it’s what I had on hand, but ketch up or BBQ sauce would work great too…really anything goes!}. Cook over medium-high heat until bubbly and slightly reduced in volume.

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Served atop toasted buns and pass around coleslaw, shoe string potatoes, salad, etc.

 

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