Monday, February 24, 2014

North Carolina Influenced Pulled Pork

In case you haven't been counting, this is pulled pork recipe #5. Why so many pulled pork recipes? Well, it is easy to assemble and make. The recipes make a lot of pork for fairly cheap and the pork freezes well. 

Types of Pulled Pork
There are many different types of pulled pork due to the regional differences (North Carolina, Memphis, Texas, and Kansas City). Differences include tomato based, vinegar based, dry rub, etc.The slow cooker pulled pork is also different than actual pulled pork which can change based on the wood used while smoking/barbecuing. The type of meat is also influenced such as using pork butt, pork shoulder, or the whole pig!

Cut of Pork
Now that I am getting more familiar with pulled pork recipes, I go for the cuts of meat with the names: Pork Shoulder, Pork Butt, or Boston Butt. 
Bone in cuts are good and will give more flavor but you do have to make sure you wait for the pork to be cooked enough. The pork is done when the bone slips right out and no need to cut it or hack away. If you have hack at it, put the pork back into the cooker and let it go for another couple hours. 
You can cheat and use pork tenderloin that has no bone and is often leaner. This is a more expensive cut but will cook faster.

Size of Cut of Pork
I generally pick between 6-8 pounds of meat since I know that will fit in our 6 quart slow cooker. This will make about 6-10 lunch/dinner servings.

Cooking of Pork
6 pounds will take about 10 hours on low. 2 options of preparation: 
1) I prepare the pork the day before and let it marinate in the fridge over night then turn it on the in the morning before work. The pork is ready to go once I'm home!
2) I also have assembled it and let it cook over night then when I wake up I can pull it and toss it into the fridge. 

I actually prefer to let it chill before using. This way the fat will solidify at the top and I can scrape it off and toss it. 

Serving Pork
Now that you have made this grand amount of pork, how do you serve it? Some options include: over rice, with slaw, with corn bread, in quesadillas, in burritos, on pizza, in eggs, on sandwiches, etc

Reheating Pork
Store in an air tight container in the fridge. If I can't finish it in 3 days, I package it into 1-2 serving containers and freeze. Pork will contain a lot of water when defrosting. You may want to add bbq sauce or ketchup once its heated up.

To thaw the pork, I let it thaw in the fridge overnight, heat over low on the stove, or microwave using defrost setting. 

Check out my other pulled pork recipes:

This is a North Carolina influenced recipe as it has a vinegar base. The recipe comes from 100 Days of Real Food, the blog has easy recipes and tries to cut out and cut down on processed foods. 

Recipe Idea: Pulled Pork Pizza using the No Rise Pizza Crust. Roll out dough. Cover dough with a thin layer of olive oil and minced garlic. Add a layer of sliced red onion, pulled pork, cheese, fresh cilantro, and a drizzle of bbq sauce.

pulled pork pizza!

pulled pork nachos! 
North Carolina Influenced Pulled Pork
Adapted from 100 Days of Real Food

6 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
3 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried thyme
¼-½ cup honey
½ cup apple cider vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil 2/22/2015 - Omit, the fat cap keeps it moist enough
1 onion, peeled and cut in half (optional)
6-9 lbs pork butt

In a bowl, mix together all of the spices with a fork. Pour in the honey, vinegar, and olive oil and stir until combined.
Place the onion in the bottom of the slow cooker. Put pork on top (fat cap on top) and then pour the spice mix over the pork. A lot of the spice mix will drip to the bottom of the cooker.
Set the slow cooker to low and cook for 10 hours -15 hours or until the meat is tender enough to be easily shredded with a fork.
Refrigerate or freeze the leftovers.

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