One of my favorite Christmastime dinners, it turns out, is pretty easy to make. It’s also a fairly consistent crowd-pleaser so it’s become a standby for entertaining.
I used to really enjoy cooking dinner, honestly I did – and then I had children. I’m not saying it’s a joyless endeavor, but when I get a two-for one dinner recipe that everyone likes, it’s like uncovering a secret goldmine. I found this pulled pork how-to on the Food Network website, and changed the rub to suit my taste. The end result is spicy and tender – perfect with accoutrements, which we’ll get to in a moment. Though I love pulled pork in general I stay away from ordering it out because no one will pick through the meat as carefully as I will, removing all goo and gristle. I confidently nosh away at this meat, knowing full well I won’t bite down on anything inedible.
From what I understand, a butt and a shoulder are the same part of a the pig – the butt is bone-in whereas the shoulder has the bone removed. So the butt is not from the butt. Though I list a weight for the meat below, know that I’ve made this with various sizes and haven’t changed the amount of water, onion or spice rub. Basically you rub the mix onto the meat, then throw it in the crockpot with two thickly chopped onions (the onions get thrown out, so don’t waste time slicing them thinly) and two cups of water. 8 hours on low and you’re ready to shred. I would have your meat finish about an hour before you want to shred it, or else you’ll burn your fingertips like I did yesterday. As you pick through it’s super easy to separate meat from fat and bone, but take your time nonetheless. Don’t forget to add the salt at the end – mine needed almost 2 tsp. worth.
OH – accoutrements. You can buy roasted long hot peppers and broccoli rabe at the store (especially Italian stores like Carolinos) or you can make them yourself! Here is the rabe, here are the peppers. Serve with nice sharp provolone cheese and seeded rolls and you’ll have some very happy eaters in your home.
Slow Cooked Italian Pulled Pork
Makes 6-8 Sandwiches
3 3/4-4 lb. pork butt or shoulder
1 tsp. rosemary
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. ground mustard
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Into the pot with the meat:
2 onions, sliced
2 c. water
Sliced Provolone cheese
1. Combine spice rub ingredients and rub over the surface of the meat.
2. Place meat in the crock pot along with onions and water. Set crockpot to low for 8 hours.
3. Remove meat and place in a large bowl. Set up a strainer over a pot and pour out the contents of the crockpot, reserving all of the liquid and discarding onions. Pull meat apart with hands, separating meat from bone (if your meat was bone-in) and fat.
4. Return meat to crockpot along with reserved liquid. Add salt, to taste (at least 1 tsp. kosher salt). Mix well and serve once heated through.