Sunday, January 29, 2012

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork

Growing up in Michigan and then moving to North Carolina I never got much of a chance to follow a football team to the Super Bowl. This year being a fan of the Lions and the Panthers was kind of like Charlie Brown kicking the football. Every year Lucy convinces Charlie to kick the football, even though it is against his better judgment and old Charlie falls flat on his back. This year the Lions and the Panthers actually showed signs that they might be able to at least make it to the playoffs, but at the last minute they both ended up falling flat on their backsides. But if I did have a team that made it to the Super Bowl this would be a great tailgate dish for the party.

This recipe is based on Cook's Illustrated's North Carolina Pulled Pork from Slow Cooker Revolution. I could not find smoked ham hocks so I substituted the bacon for the hocks, hoping to keep the pork flavor but add some smoke flavor. The bacon had completely disintegrated, during the long cooking time. I also switched paprika for smoked paprika to give it a smoked flavor. Remember true NC pulled pork sandwiches are served with coleslaw on the bun with the meat.

North Carolina Pulled Pork
6 tbs brown sugar
1/4 cup smoked paprika (original called for regular paprika)
2 tbs chili powder
1 tbs ground cumin
2 tsp salt
1 tbs fresh ground pepper
1 5 pound boneless pork butt roast, trimmed and quartered
6 oz bacon (original called for 3 smoked ham hocks)
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup ketchup
1 1/2 tsp liquid smoke

Mix 3 tbs of brown sugar, the paprika, chili powder, cumin, 2 tsp salt and 1 tbs pepper in a large bowl. Poke the pork all over with a fork. Roll the pork in the sugar mixture until completely covered. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours.

Lay the bacon across the bottom of the slow cooker. Unwrap the pork and lay it on top of the bacon. Pour the broth over the meat. Cover the slow cooker and cook for 5 to 7 hours on high or 9 to 11 hours on low.

Remove the pork form slow cooker and let it cool. The bacon should have dissolved into the cooking liquid. Let the cooking liquid cool for 5 minutes then skim any fat off the top.

Pour the cooking liquid into a saucepan, skimming any bits and pieces out as you pour it. Cook until you have about 1 cup of liquid left, this will take about 30 minutes. Add vinegar, ketchup, liquid smoke and remaining 3 tbs of brown sugar to liquid. Whisk it and bring to simmer. Add salt and pepper if needed.

Shred the pork while the sauce is reducing. This should be easy as it will be falling apart as you touch it. Toss the pork with 1 1/2 cups of the sauce. Put the remaining sauce on the table, so people can add more if they like.
NC style pulled pork with the slaw on the sandwich.


  1. Looks and sounds great, Gary, we are only starting to catch on to Pulled Pork here. Must give this recipe a try :)

  2. This pulled pork is a little different than most. Instead of a traditional ketchup/tomato based sauce this is vinegar and spice based, but it does have a little ketchup. If you don't like it just mix the traditional sauce in with the meat after it is done.

    1. Thanks Greg, and apologies once again for calling you Gary ;)

  3. What a great photo again, man your getting this photography down to perfection, this sammi is drool worthy !!! How much you charge for lessons?

  4. Thanks Claudia. I have a friend who is a professional photographer, he showed me which macro lens to buy a few months ago and then for Christmas he showed me another lens I should use and Santa delivered. 2 weeks ago Annette & I took a class from him and then went on a photo shoot with him. It has definitely helped my photography. Before I took a lot of pictures on auto, now i venture into the manual settings sometimes. He just started a blog on photography and motorcycles his passions. Check it out. The article about the class is Annette and I, his wife and Wendy a friend of ours. We all went to Ireland together.

  5. this looks so good, love this dish in NC

  6. The Lions were pretty good this year! And besides... you had MSU ;). You could always become a Patriots fan! Or just relish is slow cooked goodness. One of my work colleagues told me that it's a good thing I've never had pork, because now I do not know what I'm missing! She said it's the best meat ever...I'm going to send this recipe to her!

  7. I was just looking for a pulled pork recipe, and this looks like it will fit the bill. I love the slaw you put on top. It's my favorite way to serve sandwiches!

  8. Oh yum! We make pulled pork on our smoker in the summer, but it's definitely much too cold to be smoking anything right now. :P This sounds like a great way to get my barbecue fix in the wintertime!