Pulled pork (and any kind of barbecue, really) is just not something I do myself because every time you see a Food Network special on good barbecue there’s some toothless guy in denim overalls talking about how he’s been slow cooking his meat for 23 hours in a home-built smoker that requires 4 cords of wood a night to run smoothly. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
But…the slow cooker! The things you can do with a slow cooker never cease to amaze me. My aunt used to cook pork like this so I finagled the “recipe” from my mom and went to town. Guys, if you need to feed 18 people with very little prep for about $20, this is your recipe. Are you listening, Michelle Duggar?
Not only does this method produce the most tender meat ever, it’s so stinking easy and pulled pork leftovers are ridiculously versatile. You can turn them into a corn casserole bake or you could make adorable little puff pastry pulled pork pockets because they’re delicious and also, alliteration!
Dust off that slow cooker. (No, seriously, dust it off. You haven’t used it in a while.)
SLOW COOKER PULLED PORK
makes 6-8 lbs.
serves 10-14 people
6-8 lb. pork shoulder or pork butt (bone in or bone out)
12 oz. bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 whole onion, sliced up
8-14 oz. chicken stock (whatever size can you have)
2. Place half the onions and both garlic cloves on the bottom of the slow cooker. Add the meat – no need to trim or remove the bones – and be sure it all sits low enough that the lid of the slow cooker will close. Add the remaining onions on top of the meat then pour the BBQ sauce/chicken stock mixture on top.
3. Set the slow cooker on low and cook for 7-10 hours. If you can, turn the meat about halfway through to be sure all sides get a soak. Before you serve, remove any bones with tongs as well as any big fatty chunks (the fat’s what makes it delicious! Learn to love it!) Use tongs or a big fork to “pull” the pork apart into slivers and ribbons. Use a slotted spoon to remove to a serving bowl as there will be a lot of residual liquid in the slow cooker. Serve as is or mix more BBQ sauce into the meat.
Put on buns with more BBQ sauce and cole slaw, if you hate things that taste good.
PUFF PASTRY PULLED PORK POCKETS
Leftover pulled pork
1-2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
BBQ Sauce of your choosing
Any cheese you like
flour for dusting
1. Lightly dust a flat surface and roll the puff pastry out as thinly as possible. Be sure to keep the pastry as cold as you can, so work relatively quickly. Each sheet will make about 4 pork pockets. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut each sheet in half each way to make 4 equal pieces.
2. In a separate bowl, combine pulled pork with as much barbecue sauce as you like (you want it relatively wet) and use a spoon to scoop pulled pork in the corner of each pastry square, leaving about a 1/2″ border. Use a pastry brush to lightly wet all the borders of the puff pastry squares with water so they’ll seal properly. Top each pile of pork with cheese if you like. Fold the other corner of the pastry over to form a closed triangle. Use a fork to press the edges together forming a tight seal. Poke each pastry pocket a few times with the fork so it can release steam. Brush the tops of the pastry with a little olive oil so they’ll brown.
3. Bake for about 20-25 minutes at 425 degrees until the puff pastry is browned (or follow the directions on the back of your puff pastry box.) Serve with more BBQ sauce for dipping.