February 21, 2009

CrockPot Pulled Pork

Ummm. Pulled pork. One of my new favorite dinners to make. And yet, every time we have it, I fell like kicking myself for waiting 31 years before trying it because, damn, it's good!

I resisted the crock pot. "Put in on your wedding registry" People told me. "Not thanks!" I thought. I wasn't' going to be one of those stay at home moms who thinks far enough ahead about dinner that I can let it cook all day. No way! Hey, shut up! I'm not! I"M NOT! OK, so what, so I am one of those moms. What did I know. I was young, and stupid. And obsessed with my rice cooker which was, in my mind, the greatest appliance ever. I just didn't know.

Even after all this time of being a stay at home mom (who plans her meals a week in advance, boy, see how far I've fallen?) I've resisted. I had no use for a crock pot. I could make what ever it was in the oven or on the stove. I didn't kneed one more thing crammed under my counter that I didn't use.

And then, this summer, it all changed. I blame it on the pulled pork.

I'm not even a big pork fan. Other than bacon, I really don't like much in the pig department. it might be all those signs for BBQ places in Texas that feature a smiling pig on them, disturbing. Like Porkey's smiling out at me saying "Come on in and eat my sister! She's delicious!"

And then there were the vegetarian years when I didn't eat meat at all. I really wasn't a big fan of the taste, and I never craved meat...so why eat it. That came to a halt abruptly about half way through my first pregnancy when I came home from work sobbing because I needed ribs and I needed them YESTERDAY! What kind? Pork or Beef? Will asked, totally confused but thinking that finally he would be allowed to eat meat again. Poor Texas boy, the things I've made him suffer.

I didn't care what kind. Both, everything, just bring me more MEAT. When the hormones settled down and I stopped being the human equivalent of a T-rex (remind me to tell you about the time Will didn't order the steak at the fancy steak house because he though I wouldn't really ate mine. Watch me, I said. Again, poor Will) I decided that I loved BBQ beef, pork was ok, but given a choice, I'd pick beef.

Then, at a friends house this summer, I pulled the cover off of their crock pot and tried the pulled pork. Heaven. Will was even happier. I'm not exaggerating. The boy at four huge sandwiches and still went back for more. For the rest of the fall he peppered me with the question "Don't' you want a crock pot for Christmas?" No, but do you want one? The truth was, I did want one. BBQ is one of those things I prefer not to tackle at home. It's just so much better out at a real BBQ restaurant. But the pulled pork, well, I could do that.

Christmas came and went leaving us (Will) with a shiny new, fancy smancy, crock pot, and after some foodie blog trolling, I went out and bought a big old pork butt. And it turned out great. Ironically, we had the same friends who started the pulled pork crock pot thing over for dinner the night we christened the pot only to find out that they had actually made theirs on the grill and then served it in the crockpot. Oh well, we were hook already.

Since then we've formed our own version of pulled pork and make it every other week or so. I'm tempted to try brisket, but not yet, I'm worried that it just wont be as good as the pork, and then I'll have wasted a perfectly good opportunity to make my favorite crock pot meal. But maybe one day....

Pulled Pork in the Crock Pot.

3 lb pork but, fat left on
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
Apple cider vinegar

The bight before, mix the sugar and spices and rub them into the pork, pop it into the pot to marinate all night then first thing int he morning add enough vinegar to reach half the height of the meat. I like to put the meat in fat side up. It's easier to take it off later and I have a theory that it soaks a little of the fat through the meat as it cooks. You can throw a chopped onion in here to if you like. Cook it on low till an hour before dinner (or high if you forget and start it mid morning) then scoop off the fat, drain the liquid and shred the meat, adding back about 1/4 of the fat (more or less depending on how moist the meat is) At this point I usually scoop out a third of the meat and refrigerate it for taco's later in the week. To the remaining meat, add just enough of your favorite BBQ sauce to moisten then turn the pot on warm or low till you are ready to eat. Serve with extra sauce, coleslaw (on the bun, not on the side, I like to add horseradish to mine!) and beans. Yummm.

Oh, and the picture is blurry, it's not your eyes. I was just too hungry to make sure I got a good one before I dug in.