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Slow Cooker North Carolina Pulled Pork

Going to school in Raleigh, North Carolina has spoiled me forever when it comes to barbecue, and in particular pulled pork. Since graduating from college and moving to first Florida and now Indiana, my craving for legit barbecue has not subsided, but the ability to get it is all but gone. Unfortunately, most restaurants I have been to want to serve some sort of shredded meat which has been overly sauced to the point of tasting like only barbecue sauce. To me, this is a way to cover up using a low-quality product and not cooking it correctly. I have given up on getting great barbecue out anymore, and have started playing with smoking my own meat. The problem with that is it is very time consuming, and not conducive to week day cooking. This leaves me stuck between unhealthy, sickeningly sweet pulled pork from a restaurant, or spending an entire day managing a smoker. Thankfully, with the help of a charcoal grill and a slow cooker, I have found a way to somewhat mimic the smoky flavor of slow smoked pork while also making it week day friendly.

Ingredients:

  • Pork:
      • 2 pounds bone-in pork shoulder
      • 1 T Smoked Paprika
      • ½ T Ground Cumin
      • ¼ C Salt & Pepper
      • 1 medium onion, quartered
      • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • Cole Slaw:
      • 1 pound Red Cabbage, shredded
      • 1 pound Carrots, shredded
      • 3 stalks Celery, finely sliced
      • ¼ medium red onion, minced
      • 1 T Apple Cider vinegar
      • ½ T Brown Mustard
      • ¼ C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
      • Salt & Pepper to taste
      • Red Chili Flake to taste
  • Sauce:
      • 1 C White Vinegar
      • 1 C Apple Cider Vinegar
      • 1 T Honey
      • 1 T Cayenne Pepper
      • 1 T Hot Sauce of choice
      • 1 tsp salt
      • 1 tsp black pepper
        • Note: This sauce tastes best when it has a day or so to blend, so make a few days ahead of time if possible.
  • Steps:
    • An hour before cooking, take the pork out of the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature, about 1 hour. Rub the pork with all the spices, and then sear on a charcoal grill. The charcoal will give the pork a smoky flavor, reminiscent of smoked barbecue. After you have achieved a good crust on all sides, remove the pork from the grill and allow to rest.
    • Pour about ¼-½ of the sauce into a slow cooker, along with the onion and smashed garlic. Place the pork, fat side up, into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 8-10 hours, or until the pork is tender enough to be shredded.
      • Note: I like to do this the night before, or morning of my meal.
    • To make the slaw, combine the cider vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper, and chili flake in the bottom of a large bowl. Whisk to combine, and then slowly stream in the olive oil while continuing to whisk to create an emulsion. After you have created the vinaigrette, toss in the onion, cabbage, and carrots, and celery. Toss to combine, and allow to marinate for at least 1 hour. After that, taste and season with more salt, pepper, and chili flake if desired,
    • When the pork is finished cooking, remove from the slow cooker, shred with a fork, and pour the remaining sauce over the shredded pork. Serve alongside the slaw with roasted potatoes, over rice or quinoa as a grain bowl, or stuffed in a whole wheat bun for a delicious pulled pork sandwich.

Nutrition: 4 oz. pork, ¼ of the sauce, and ¼ of the slaw

  • Calories: 381
  • Carbohydrates: 26g
  • Protein: 23g
  • Fat: 21g

 

 

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