Thursday, June 10, 2010
Does everyone get a slow cooker when they get married? I think slow cookers are like fondue pots that way. I seem to use mine in fits and spurts, but at the moment it is back in my regular dinner rotation. Why? Pulled pork! I love getting pulled pork sandwiches at pubs and restaurants. When we were down in Palm Springs this past winter it seemed to be the thing to have on every happy hour menu. There's a good reason for that, it's cheap and delicious!
The hardest part about this is just remembering to take a pork shoulder out of the freezer, and putting the slow cooker on the counter so that when you wake up you remember to pop the roast into it. Pork shoulders are fantastically inexpensive and manage to produce a huge amount of meat. The best part is that left over meat makes excellent sandwiches/wraps/quesadillas etc.
I generally do the pork roast in one of two ways. The first is to pop it in as is, turn it once or twice during the day if I have time, and just leave it cooking on low for 8-12 hours.
If I feel a bit more ambitious, I throw the roast in a freezer bag overnight with a rub of about 1/4 cup sea salt, 3/4 cup brown sugar, a couple of tbsp of cumin and one tbsp of chilli powder. Other than tossing stuff in a bag, it is the same as above in terms of preparation.
When the shoulder is all cooked, you just pull it out and use a couple of forks to "shred" it. It pretty much falls apart as soon as you touch it. I do get rid of a little of the outer fat if I see any big chunks, and I take off the skin. Some people might be a bit put off seeing the skin, but the skin and fat are where all the flavour and moisture come from. If you are a bit more adventurous, you can make crackling with the skin (we did this once, but over did it sadly). Cooked pork skin is tasty, but not exactly diet friendly. Also, if I don't do the rub, I will sometimes make a pan gravy from the drippings. If I use the rub, the drippings are a bit too salty to make a usable gravy.