Monday, June 7, 2010

crock-pot pulled pork, and what to do with it

Mmm, pork! I love it, any which way it's prepared. This is one of my favorites - BBQ-flavored, loaded with onions and garlic, smothered in sticky sauce. It doesn't necessarily look pretty but the smell while it's cooking will drive you nuts, and it tastes hell, it tastes like BBQ pork...what's better than that?!

To make pulled pork, I use my crock-pot. I know it's not technically barbecue as such, and I don't claim that it tastes quite the same as real smoked pork shoulder (excuse me, I'm drooling at the thought), but it's super easy and nearly entirely hands-off. I use pork tenderloin because it's leaner, but you can just as easily do this with pretty much any type of pork roast. Boneless is easier to shred later on, but bone-in will give you a little more porky porkness. Oink!

I threw 2 tenderloins in the crockpot, then pretty finely chopped one large yellow onion and threw that on top. Next came 6 cloves of garlic, chopped. I took half a bottle of prepared barbecue sauce and slowly whisked in 1 12oz bottle of Long Trail Double-Bag beer. I like the Double Bag because it has a bitterness to it that cuts through the sweet of the barbecue sauce nicely. To the sauce / beer mixture, I added 3 TBSP of brown sugar, 3 TBSP cider vinegar, and a dash of cayenne pepper. I whisked that till it was combined, then dumped over the meat, onions and garlic, and shook the crock a little to coat everything. The lid went on, I put it on high for 4 hours (though you can put it on low and leave it for as long as 8-10 hours with absolutely no fact it will likely taste better if you leave it that long), and I walked away.

Four hours later, I opened it up and pulled out the chunks of pork. It was falling apart every which way, and that's perfect. I shredded the meat with two forks and put it aside in a bowl. I wanted as much of the onion and garlic out of the sauce as possible, so I placed a mesh strainer over a pot and dumped the sauce through it. All the strained out onions and garlic went directly back into the shredded meat, while the pot of sauce was set on medium-high to reduce down for about 10-15 minutes (and for the love of all that's holy, make sure you use a big enough pot because if that stuff boils over you're going to have the mess to end all messes. Just sayin'!).

Once the sauce was to my liking, I took it off the heat and added a few ladles of it into the shredded meat and onion mixture. I mixed thoroughly, and kept adding more sauce, a little at a time, till I got the consistency I was looking for (shown in picture above, of course).

I decided as I was finishing the pork that I wanted to make tacos with it. I laid out some tortillas, smeared them with a little sour cream, plonked a few spoon fulls of the pork onto them, then added strips of green pepper, some roughly chopped cherry tomatoes, and a sprinkle of extra sharp cheddar. It could have used some chopped avocado, but I didn't have any.

I served these with nice cold bottled of Double-Bag. YUM!