This is officially the summer of crafted from scratch oven-less meals. The best yet was shared last weekend after a day of lazily browsing the SoWa open market in Boston. Pastries were eaten. Deals on fresh fruit were had. When we returned the slow cooker gave us tender and juicy pulled pork, ready to be topped with a do it yourself chipotle barbecue sauce and a spicy slaw. We sandwiched it all (producing not many beautiful pictures, sadly) inside warm toasted buns.
Slow cooker pulled pork is a no-brainer. It may not be the kind of shredded pork you get at a real barbecue place with a smoke pitt, but I’m willing to compromise in life. Since the slow cooker is perfect for tender and juicy meats, I essentially (with the input of others) crafted the recipe on a whim. Luckily, it worked out deliciously. The shredded pork disappeared once it hit the table.
The steps are super easy: First, buy a cut of boneless pork shoulder and place in a slow cooker. Then, add the desired mix of seasonings and top with about a cup or two of liquid to keep it moist. Beer would work really well here, but I just didn’t think of that then. Darn. Cook on high for 4-6 hours. After we drained and shredded the pork, I thickened up some of the leftover liquid with butter (mmm) and flour, making a delicious gravy of sorts. The pork was then doused in this sauce and served. Viola!
This time around for seasoning we decided on a chopped onion, adobo spice and a few tablespoons of my homemade barbecue sauce.We kept the heat minimal because Brian isn’t up to spice the way I am. But I can imagine many possibilities for spicing this in the future. I bet this recipe would also work for a variation of carnitas if the pork were fried or broiled right at the end.
The spicy slaw and barbecue sauce were great layered on top. I’m addicted to chipotle flavor. The sauce also packed real heat, the kind I strangely crave in the humid summer. I’m also a big fan of no-mayo salads and slaws, so red cabbage with a spicy vinaigrette was right up my alley. I adapted the slaw recipe from Julie Shani. It ended up being a pretty versatile salad. I’d even top tacos with this slaw. In fact, the leftovers in the fridge might just be used for that tomorrow night.
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
A Made by Frances Original
4 lbs of boneless pork shoulder
seasonings of choice like onion, garlic, etc.
barbecue sauce, to taste
cooking liquid (stock, beer, water, etc)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Place the pork, seasonings and barbeque sauce in a slow cooker.
2. Cover with enough liquid to give about an inch of cover.
3. Cook on high for 4-6 hours.
4. Drain the pork while reserving the cooking liquid. Shred the pork with two forks.
5. Thicken some of the reserved cooking stock into a sauce. Toss the shredded pork in this sauce before serving
Red Cabbage Slaw with Cumin-Herb Vinaigrette
Adapted loosely from Julie Sahni’s Savoring Spices and Herbs
1 head of red cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
1 chili, seeded
1/4 cup water, stock or white wine
1/4 cup wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil or canola oil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1-2 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1. Combine the cilatnro, parsley, and seeded chili in a food processor. Add the water, stock or wine. Process until the leaves are roughly minced.
2. Add in the vinegar, oil and spices. Process just until mixed. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
2. Toss the shredded red cabbage with the vinaigrette.
Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
Adapted from Mark Bittman
Makes about 2 Cups
2 cups ketchup (homemade is preferable, but I didn’t have the time to do that)
1/2 cup dark beer
1/4 cup wine vinegar or rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder (or more!)
a dash of cayenne
2 minced chipotles in adobo, plus some of the adobo sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Combine all the ingredients except the salt and pepper. Let this cook for 10 minutes so that the flavors mix.
2. Salt and pepper to taste once it is ready. Chill the sauce before serving.