It also is great for feeding a crowd, as I recently did at my house warming party to celebrate me finally becoming an adult (well, in theory anyways).
I do already have a pulled pork recipe on the blog, and while I love it and totally recommend that you should try it out... it's not the most convenient of recipes. It calls for a homemade rub and wrapping the rubbed pork in plastic wrap overnight and it also calls for a homemade BBQ sauce. Neither are particularly labor intensive, but when you are looking for an easy weeknight dinner, you want to eliminate as many steps as possible.
Enter this ridiculously easy (and ridiculously good) pulled pork recipe.
I did throw together a quick rub for this one using a ratio of 2:2:1:1 of the 4 "S's"... sugar, salt, spice, savory. This allows you to use whatever you have in your pantry as long as you use salt and sugar. You could also sub with a pork rub that you probably got for a gift at some point that is just sitting in a drawer. If you don't, then try this: 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons kosher salt, 1 tablespoon black pepper or chile powder, and 1 tablespoon total of whatever else you like. I kept it simple with garlic powder. But you could use any type of herb you fancy!
Trim the fat and rub the pork liberally with the spice mixture. Heat about a tablespoon of cooking oil in a large pot (or if your slow cooker insert is cooktop safe like mine, you can do it right in the insert) and brown the pork on all sides. I should note, that I doubled this recipe in order to feed more people. It made A LOT of pulled pork. I'm listing the normal size recipe, which will still make a healthy amount of food.
Then for the secret ingredient: ginger ale! In all honesty, you can use any type of soda (just not diet!), or even beer. I generally go with whatever I have in my fridge, though I try to avoid traditional soda on account of the high fructose corn syrup (I don't drink that anyways). I used about a half cup of Fever Tree ginger ale (no HFC), but I have had good luck with beer in the past as well and I considered trying a hard apple cider, though I didn't have any on hand. You don't really need more than about a half cup, as the pork will generate a lot of liquid on its own.
Set slow cooker to low and let it simmer for about 8-10 hours, depending on your slow cooker. Remove pork to a large bowl. If you are serving immediately, shred with two forks, discarding any fat. If you are not, I would recommend allowing it to cool until it's tolerable to shred with your hands, which will allow you to remove more of the fat. As for the cooking liquid, that's up to you. Most of this is fat, so I generally toss it. But if you want to keep some of it for flavor & moisture, I would recommend skimming the fat off the top OR... putting it in the fridge and once it cools, you can scrape the fat off the top.
The other shortcut: Store bought BBQ sauce. I often make my own sauce as it's not too hard... but as I said, sometimes you just don't have time for that! And honestly, when you can buy a grilled pineapple moonshine BBQ sauce.... you should just do that. Every. Single. Time. Seriously, I'm obsessed with this stuff. It's available at a limited time from Whole Foods, so definitely do yourself a favor and go buy yourself a bottle. Or four. (Whatever you do, AVOID sauces with high fructose corn syrup).
Once the pork is done cooking and you're getting close to wanting to serve, dump in about a half a bottle of the BBQ sauce and as much of the cooking liquid as you want and cook on low for another hour. (You might have to do longer if you cooled it first). Serve with more BBQ sauce, coleslaw, sliced red onions and Hawaiian sweet rolls (which pair perfectly with the pineapple in the BBQ sauce.)
Pulled Pork Sliders
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 9 hours
Keywords: slow-cooker appetizer entree pork BBQ sauce American fall winter
Ingredients (24 sliders)
- 3-4 pound pork butt or shoulder
- 1/4 cup of pork rub (if you don't have any, mix: 2 T brown sugar, 2 T kosher salt, 1 T black pepper, 1 T garlic powder)
- 1-2 Tablespoons cooking oil
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup ginger ale, other soda or beer (do not use diet soda)
- 1 (16 ounce) bottle store bought BBQ sauce (no high fructose corn syrup)
- 24 Hawaiian sweet rolls or slider rolls
- coleslaw & thinly sliced red onion (optional)
- Liberally rub pork with pork rub and allow to sit at least 15-20 minutes at room temperature.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of cooking oil to large pot such as a dutch oven (or if your slow cooker insert is cooktop safe, use that). Sear pork on all sides until brown and crispy. (This will take about 15-20 minutes.)
- Transfer to slow cooker if you weren't using the insert and add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of ginger ale, soda or beer. (If using soda, look for ones without high fructose corn syrup and don't use diet.)
- Cook on low for 8 hours or until pork is falling apart.
- Remove meat from slow cooker to a large bowl and cool (unless you are serving immediately.) If you would like to use some of the cooking liquid, skim fat off top or cool in refrigerator and scrape off fat once cooled. Otherwise, discard. Shred meat with your hands or two forks.
- Return meat to slow cooker, along with up to 1/2 cup of skimmed cooking liquid and half the bottle of BBQ sauce. Cook for another hour on low or until everything is warmed through.
- Serve on rolls or slider buns with additional BBQ sauce (if desired) and coleslaw and red onions.
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