Pulled pork is one of the more popular dishes out there. Every food blog and cooking show has their own version and everyone claims theirs is the best. I attribute this dish’s popularity in part to the various food networks’ shows about barbecue and the fact that it’s an inexpensive and tasty way to feed a crowd.
The secret to a good pulled pork dish is 3 things: A tough cut of pork like shoulder or butt, a whole lot of time and patience, and an amazing sauce. Tougher cuts of meat require more time to cook, but they’re way tastier and cheaper than pricey cuts like loin and filet and the fat gives them extra moisture.
When it comes to pulled pork sauces, everyone seems to go the Southwestern route so I’m trying something different. This version combines the sweet, sour, salty, spicy flavors of Asia, and like most modern pulled pork recipes, I’m doing mine in a slow cooker, not the barbecue. The advantage to the former is that you can walk away and live your life while the cooker is gently cooking and tenderising your meat! No slow cooker? No problem! I’ve included instructions for making this in the oven too.
Try it! It’s heaven in a sandwich or on a bed of rice or noodles and a side of stir fried veggies!
2 Pounds Bone-in Pork Shoulder with fat and skin removed – you can do this yourself or get the butcher to do it
1 Cup of Water
1 Teaspoon of Garlic Powder
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Chinese Five Spice Powder – Available in the spice section of your grocery store
1 Tablespoon of Korean Chili Powder or Regular Chili Powder – The former is spicier and can be found in Asian markets, but use what’s easiest to find
2 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil
¼ Cup Soy Sauce
½ Cup Hoisin Sauce
½ Cup of Ketchup
2 Tablespoons of Honey
2 Cloves of Grated or Crushed Garlic
1 Teaspoon of Peeled and Grated Ginger
½ Teaspoon of Sesame Oil
1 Tablespoon of Vinegar
¼ Cup Sriracha (Thai Chili Sauce) – This may seem like a lot, but the other ingredients will dull its potency quite a bit. If you can’t handle ANY heat, leave it out.
½ Teaspoon of Wasabi paste or powder (Optional)
1 Frying Pan
1 Sauce Pan
2 Small Mixing Bowls
1 Slow Cooker or Deep Pot with lid
Mix the vegetable Oil and other rub ingredients together and rub all over the pork.
Heat your frying pan on high and sear on all sides until the very outside layer of the pork is brown.
Put in your slow cooker or pot with lid.
Add a cup of water.
IF USING A SLOW COOKER, turn it on low, put the lid on, and walk away for 6 to 8 hours or until the meat falls off the bone.
IF USING A POT, put the lid on, and stick it in the oven on the lowest temperature possible. Walk away for at least 4 hours or until the meat falls apart when you try and pick it. DO NOT LEAVE THE HOUSE. You don’t want to burn it down. This is a good time to do all the at home chores you’ve been neglecting.
When the meat is ready, turn off the heat and using your trusty ladle, scoop any accumulated liquid into a small saucepan.
Add all the sauce ingredients and bring it to a boil, simmering and occasionally whisking until at least a third of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce has thickened.
Using a couple of forks, shred the meat, making sure to remove the bone and any cartilage.
Pour the sauce in with the meat and stir everything to combine.
Put the pot back on medium heat for 5 minutes so meat and sauce have a chance to really come together.
Serve and Enjoy!
-Samantha R. Gold
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