Monday, October 5, 2009

Slow-cooked pulled pork sandwiches

A while ago, my girlfriend found this recipe for pulled pork sandwiches that just really captured my attention. I've made this recipe several times now, but last night became the topper. I've made a few modifications to the original, but now that I've got a winning version, I'm sticking to it.

The key alterations involved:
  • Replace half the coriander with cumin
  • Replace the paprika with chili powder
  • Use all apple juice, or half apple juice & half cider vinegar for the sauce
  • Crock pot with a steaming basket does a great job with this dish
So, for your eating delight, here's my winner recipe for slow-cooked pulled pork (edits highlighted):


  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 tbsp kosher or coarse salt
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard (found in spice section)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 boneless pork butt, about 3 pounds (also called pork shoulder)
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 package plain soft white rolls or other bread

Tip: You can buy bone-in or boneless pork butts. Both have their benefits: Cooking bone-in will contribute some flavor (and increase the cooking time slightly). But if you have your butcher take out the bone, you can rub the spice mix into the incisions where the bone was removed — a great way to get the flavor deep inside the meat.


Mix brown sugar and dry spices together in a small bowl. Rub all over pork, cover, and let sit in the refrigerator for as long as you have time for (as little as 1 hour or up to overnight - time in fridge not necessary when using crock pot). Pour the juice and vinegar into your crock pot. Set a vegetable steaming basket inside the crock pot and set the roast on top. Cover and cook on low for at least 8 hours or overnight, or on high for 5 hours (crock pots may have different temperatures - your mileage may vary), until pork is brown outside and meat is very tender, basically falling apart.

Remove steamer basket from crock pot, letting the meat fall into the juice. While still warm, shred pork into small pieces using 2 forks or 10 fingers. Transfer to bowl for serving, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. To reheat, just transfer to shallow baking dish, bring to room temperature, and place in preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Best served on toasted kaiser rolls with a little mustard and mayonnaise. Spicy wasabi or chipotle mayo works great too.

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