Cookin’ with Condley: Something for the kids
Published 2:00 pm Tuesday, January 17, 2023
By Sarah Condley
Two of our kids and their families were coming for a visit, and I didn’t want to spend the limited time we’d have with them in the kitchen. I decided to prepare a few meat dishes ahead of time so that my time with the kids and grandkids would be better spent – with them. I knew immediately that I would prepare sloppy joes, crack chicken (both of which I’ve told you about previously), and some type of pork shoulder. I’ve done pork shoulder in a slow cooker before, but I wanted something new. I pulled out a small folder full of recipes clipped from magazines over the years and started thumbing through it. When I found a recipe for Perfect Pulled Pork, I decided to try it. The recipe was part of an advertisement for the National Pork Board “What’s for Dinner” campaign that appeared in the October 2010 issue of Food Network Magazine.
A couple of days before the family came, I removed the biggest pork shoulder from the freezer so it would thaw in time. The kids and grandkids were set to arrive on Saturday between 10:00 a.m. and noon, and we were going to eat around 12:30 p.m.
I gathered the seasoning ingredients, the thawed pork, and the slow cooker on Friday night. I sprayed the inside of the cooker with non-stick spray. After removing the pork from the packaging, I patted it dry with paper towels and sat it on a large cutting board. Because the pork shoulder was almost twice as big as the recipe called for, I doubled all of the seasonings and combined them. The rub smelled pretty good as I rubbed it all over the pork. The large pork shoulder just barely fit in the biggest slow cooker I have, and after pouring in 1 cup of water, the pot was full (so I didn’t add a second cup of water),
Before going to bed, I turned on the slow cooker and looked at the clock. The pork would be ready to come out around 6:00 or 7:00 the following day.
Sure enough, when I got up on Saturday morning, the pork smelled wonderful. I turned the slow cooker off and started removing the pork from the pot; it was so tender it was falling apart.
I let the pork cool for about 15 minutes before I started pulling it apart. Since the meat was still very hot, I put on a pair of rubber dishwashing gloves to shield my hands from the heat (the gloves were washed with soap and water before I started). I started pulling the pork apart and removing all of the fat and the large bone that was in it. As I pulled the pork, I put the wonderful meat into a smaller slow cooker that I have.
When I finally finished pulling the pork (9 pounds of pulled pork is a lot of meat), the smaller slow cooker was full. There was plenty of broth left in the larger slow cooker. To keep the pulled pork moist, I strained and added a good amount of the broth to the cooker.
I turned the smaller cooker on to “Warm” and went about getting ready for the kids to arrive.
Once everyone was at the house, and it was time to eat, we gathered in the kitchen so Brad could bless the food and our time together.
I wanted to have options for eating the pork (by itself, with BBQ sauce, or as a taco), so I heated some tortilla shells on top of the stove, and they were waiting by the pork with all kinds of toppings (tomatoes, lettuce, onion, cucumber, cheese, black olives, etc.).
Everyone served themselves, and to my surprise, the pork was the biggest hit of the day. I thought the three grandkids would go for the sloppy joes first, but they didn’t; they wanted the pork.
I really didn’t have to ask anyone what they thought of the perfect pulled pork because they went back for seconds (and some went back for thirds).
I tasted each meat dish, and the pork was really good, and oh so tender.
Our kids know they are welcome to load up leftovers to take home, and the pork was what everyone wanted.
As you have probably guessed, the Perfect Pulled Pork was indeed a hit, and I “Nailed it.” I’ve already added this recipe to my self-made cookbook and noted that everyone loved it.
Perfect Pulled Pork
• 5 lb. boneless pork butt shoulder
• 1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
• 2 teaspoons black pepper
• 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1 teaspoon dried thyme
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup water
• Combine all seasonings in a small bowl and rub evenly over pork shoulder. Place meat in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add water. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours or until pork is very tender.
• Place pork on large cutting board or platter and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Pull, slice, or chop to serve. Serve on buns with barbecue sauce.