How to make the best slow cooker pulled pork It’s perfect for sandwiches, salads, and tacos. For a quicker version, we’ve also covered how to make this pulled pork using a pressure cooker (like an Instant Pot). Jump to the Slow Cooker Pulled Pork recipe
How to make the best pulled pork with a slow cooker
Pulled pork is perfect for the slow cooker. It’s easy to make and the best meal to prepare ahead of time. Our recipe makes the pork tender, full of flavor and juicy. Enjoy it neat or with some of your favorite barbecue sauce. The slow cooker shines in this recipe. We started with a pork shoulder, also called pork tenderloin or Boston butt.
It’s a relatively tough cut and does well when cooked over a long period of time. In addition, it is well marbled with fat, thanks to which the pork does not dry out during cooking. As the pork cooks, the fat is melted and basted as it cooks.
Cooking pulled pork in a slow cooker or slow cooker is easy, but we still have a few tips for you to make it the best it can be. [If you love cooking with your slow cooker, try our Ultimate Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken, it’s delicious.]
INSTANT POT© UPDATE: Since sharing this recipe, we’ve been testing it with a pressure cooker (we have the Instant Pot). See the recipe notes section below for our method. With a pressure cooker, you can prepare this pulled pork in under 2 hours.
Step 1: Season the meat
Pork seasoning is essentialespecially if you use a slow cooker. Once you start, you won’t want to lift the lid, so it’s a good idea to take the time to think about flavors and seasonings ahead of time.
We’re quite clumsy with salt and pepper to begin with and like to rub it into the pork and spread the salt over the meat. We also season for 15-20 minutes before putting it in the slow cooker.
Step 2: Bring the pork to a boil and cook slowly
After seasoning the meat, we prepare a mixture of boiled onions, garlic, tomato paste and spices. It is poured over the pork and we are ready to cook.
When I said the slow cooker shines in this recipe, I really meant it. It’s pretty difficult to overcook pork shoulder. For this reason, we like to cook pork for many hours.
In our recipe below, we call for a minimum of 8, but you really can go above that. The pork should be tender enough to cut through with a spoon. Doing all of this in a slow cooker makes it easy. Do it at night or when you are out.
Step 3 – Remove and reserve the cooking liquid
When the pork is done, you’ll have tender, juicy pork and a rich, flavorful broth.. It’s pure gold. Drain the cooking liquid from the slow cooker and remove as much fat as possible; Remember that the pork shoulder is well marbled with fat, so it all melts in the liquid. Scrape away excess fat (it will float to the top), then stir the liquid into the pork to keep it moister and tastier.
Another alternative is to refrigerate the pork in its cooking liquid. When it’s cold, the fat will solidify and be easier to scrape off with a spoon.
Step 4: Shred the pork and mix with the skimmed cooking liquid
After removing the cooking liquid, return it to the slow cooker. Then just shred the pork; I only use two forks for this. Because it’s so tender, the pork will literally crumble on you.
Return the pulled pork to the slow cooker with the skimmed cooking liquid and serve!
What to serve with pulled pork
We love pulled pork because it’s perfect for so many occasions. Here are some of our favorite side dishes to accompany tender and flavorful pork:
Homemade Coleslaw – I love the crunch of pulled pork slaw. If you don’t like salads with mayonnaise, try our coleslaw without mayonnaise.
Potato Salad With Herbs – This mayo-free potato salad is perfect served hot or cold. Here’s our classic creamy potato salad if that’s more your style.
Quick and Easy Pasta Salad – This fresh and easy pasta salad is packed with crunchy veggies, fresh mozzarella, and an easy homemade dressing.
Ultra Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese – You will love this ultra creamy mac and cheese recipe! With the perfect ratio of milk, cheese, and sauce, these mac and cheeses are at the top of my list of favorites!
More easy pork recipes
The ultimate slow cooker pulled pork
Pulled pork is perfect for the slow cooker. Cooking pork slowly and very slowly is the secret to the juiciest, most tender pulled pork. Serve the pork as is or add your favorite barbecue or other sauces after cooking.
Makes about 3 1/2 pounds, 10 servings
Watch us at the recipe
1 (4 1/2 to 5 pounds) boneless or boneless pork shoulder (also known as pork loin), without string or loin
2 teaspoons salt, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unflavored oil
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon ancho or sweet chili powder, see our recipe for homemade chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 cup of water
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fish sauce or 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Coleslaw, check out our recipe for Coleslaw with Mayonnaise or our Coleslaw without Mayonnaise
For BBQ sauce, see our Bourbon Bacon BBQ Sauce recipe
- Prepare the pig
- cook pork
Rub the pork with salt and pepper and set aside while you prepare the remaining ingredients. (See notes below if you want to brown the pork first.)
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic, then cook, stirring occasionally, until sweet and golden on the edges. Add tomato paste, chilli powder and cumin. Cook, stirring, until the tomato paste turns bright red to orange; about 3 minutes. Add the water, apple cider vinegar, and fish sauce and cook for about 1 minute, scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pan.
Place the seasoned pork in the bottom of a slow cooker, then pour the onion and seasoning mixture over it. Toss the pork onto the bottom of the slow cooker, allowing some of the onion and spice mixture to slide underneath. Cover with lid and cook until pork flakes break down slightly; LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 4-6.
Turn off the slow cooker and place the pork on a cutting board. If the pig contains a bone, remove and discard it. Use two forks to shred the meat, removing any connective tissue and large clumps of fat.
Drain the cooking liquid and trim most of the fat from its surface. Discard the fat and save the cooking liquid.
If using barbecue sauce, add it to the slow cooker and add the pulled pork. Add some of the reserved cooking liquid for even more flavor. If you’re not using barbecue sauce, return the pulled pork and cooking liquid to the slow cooker. Taste and season with salt, additional vinegar, or hot sauce as needed.
Advice from Adam and Joanne
- Can I cook this pulled pork in an Instant Pot© or pressure cooker? Yes! Cook the onions, garlic, spices, tomato paste, water, vinegar and fish sauce as directed in the recipe above. If you have an Instant Pot, you can use the Saute feature to do this. Place the seasoned pork and onion mixture into the pressure cooker/instant pot, secure the lid and cook on high pressure for 1 hour. Let it go naturally (this takes 15-30 minutes), shred the pork, skim and discard excess fat from the cooking liquid. To serve, mix together lean cooking liquid and pulled pork.
- Fish Sauce: You can find fish sauce in the international aisles of most grocery stores, in international markets, or online. It has a sour-salty taste and we use it to enhance the flavor of savory dishes or dishes with long cooking times. See how we use it in our homemade pho recipe over at Inspired Taste. If you don’t have it, Worcestershire sauce is a good substitute.
- Sear the pork: Some readers have asked why we don’t sear the pork first. We tried it and while it adds a bit more flavor, the difference in this case isn’t overwhelming. We skipped the step. If you’d like, you can sear the outside of the pork in the same pan you plan to use to cook the onion and garlic mixture. As it cooks, brown bits will stick to the bottom of the pan that you can scrape off when you add water later.
- Nutritional Information: The nutritional information below is an estimate. We use the USDA Supertracker Recipe Calculator to calculate approximate values.
If you make this recipe, take a picture and use the hashtag #inspiredtaste. We love seeing your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste
Nutritional value per serving: Part 1/10 of the recipe (for 10 servings) / calories 404 / protein 28 grams / carbohydrates 2 g / fiber 0g / total sugar 1g / total fat 31 grams / Saturated Fatty Acids 11g / cholesterol 109mg
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Source : inspiredtaste.net