Sometimes you just want Pulled Pork. If you’re me, you might not mind having it every chance you get. Even though I’m not from the South and I don’t have a meat smoker on my fire escape (though I fantasize about that set-up often), I am borderline obsessed with Pulled Pork. How could you not love tender succulent meat drenched in a tangy rich BBQ type sauce? Here is my super simple Pulled Pork recipe–all you need is a quality piece of pork butt, a few simple spices, and enough counter space to fit a slow cooker. Though my slow cooker is probably older than I am (I put it’s origins in the mid-to-late 70s), it is one of my most prized kitchen possessions. This recipe is adapted from a slow cooker pulled pork recipe I bummed off Adam (Mr. Strictly Nutritious) after I had his pulled pork at one of our many Prospect Park eat/drink/hang events of the past years. All of the steps are easy to follow, but the marinating/cook process takes about 24 hours (if you start with thawed meat), so just be sure to give yourself enough time to execute without skimping on inactive (marinating and cooking) time.
2-3 pounds of Boston Butt, mostly trimmed, but leave some fat on it (bone-in butt also works). My amazing hunk of pork came from Lewis Waite Farm, in upstate NY. I get all of my pork and beef products from this farm in Greenwich, NY.
6-8 large cloves of garlic, sliced in half the long way
12 oz brown beer/ale (New Castle or Heineken Brown works well, anything with a stronger slightly hoppy flavor—nothing too dark)
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons paprika (or 1 tbs paprika & 1 tbs smoked paprika)
1 tablespoon Himalayan rock salt
2-3 ladles of jous (from slow cooker)
1/8-1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2-3 tablespoons of Stubb’s original bbq sauce
2-3 tablespoons of ketchup
2-3 tablespoons Red Devil
Salt & pepper to taste
Mix dry rub ingredients and set aside.
To Marinate: Using a small paring knife, cut 1 inch wide slits of various depth distributed evenly throughout the pork butt. Insert garlic slices into slits. Coat butt liberally with rub, and be sure to cover all of the nooks of the meat. Store remainder of the rub in an airtight container. After putting the meat in ziplock bag and pushing all of the air out, let sit in the refrigerator for 12+ hours.
Let pork cool enough that you can take it out of the slow cooker and put it on a platter. There should be a lot of liquid (it’s now technically a jus) left in the slow cooker, with a good amount of fat on top. Try to skim the fat off the top of the jus, and reserve the rest of the liquid for the sauce.
Pull pork using two forks. Meat should fall apart and be very tender. Remove all extra fat and connective tissue, leaving only the meat of the pork. The meat will lose a lot of juices as you pull it, so once pork is pulled dump juices back into jus.
To Finish: Wisk sauce ingredients together to make sure they are thoroughly incorporated. Sauce should be very thin, and should have a really smooth tang and be rounded out with a little sweetness from the ketchup. If you like a thicker sauce you can cook this down on low heat for about 30-45 minutes, which will concentrate the flavors and add a bit more sweetness and less acidic bite. Add sauce to pork and mix thoroughly to coat meat, but don’t drown the meat–you still want to be able to taste the pork.