Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Clean Eating Crock Pot Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork is an easy "set it and forget it" recipe that is easily prepared in a crock pot. I enjoy recipes like this because the prep time is minimal, but the end results are delicious. An East Carolina BBQ sauce is a flavor unlike the bottled BBQ sauce you are probably familiar with; its more like a "mop" sauce as barbequers like to refer to it - a saucy dredge for using once the meat is cooked.

Clean Eating Crock Pot Pulled Pork with Eastern Carolina BBQ Mop Sauce


1 whole pork picnic shoulder ( bone in; approximately 8-10 lbs )
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
Chopped garlic
Spices ( onion powder, pepper, spice mix , etc )

East Carolina BBQ sauce 

1 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 c leftover liquid from the crock pot 
3/4 cup organic ketchup
2-3 tablespoons honey
3 teaspoons cayenne pepper
3 teaspoons fresh cracked pepper

Place pork shoulder skin/fat side up in the crock pot. Pour apple cider vinegar and water over pork shoulder, then sprinkle your assorted spices over the shoulder. This can really be most anything you want. For the example below, I used Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute mix, onion powder, chopped garlic, and worcestershire pepper. Use your creative cooking skills to put what moves you on the picnic shoulder.

Set the crock pot for 8-10 hours depending on your time constraints ( either will be just fine! ) and walk away. If you are around to do so, flip the shoulder so the fat side is at the bottom of the crock pot after about 3-4 hours, and then flip it back for the final hour or so of cooking. However, this isn't necessary. I just feel that flipping the meat gives an overall moistness to the final product - and it also speeds cooking a bit.

You know the shoulder is cooked when the meat flakes easily away from the bone, a fork inserted into the meat goes in easily. and the shoulder bone is exposed with little to no effort.

Remove the shoulder from the crockpot and place in a large bowl or platter to cool. Before completely cool, remove any visible skin and fat left on the shoulder.

Before the liquid left in the crockpot cools, carefully remove about 3/4 cup. When I say carefully - be careful not to include any fat floating in the liquid, and try to get as little liquid fat in the cup as possible. You're aiming for the vinegar/water mixture that is now flavored by the pork. This is commonly referred to as "pot liquor"

While the meat cools, prepare the vinegar mop sauce. Combine the vinegar, pot liquor, ketchup, honey, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Whisk until all ingredients are incorporated, and let it sit for at least 3 hours before pouring it onto the meat and serving. Using a fork held in each hand, shred the meat into long strips until the entire shoulder is shredded. Add the mop sauce and mix gently. You do not need to let the meat sit and marinate for a bit, but sitting for 1/2 hour before serving allows the meat to absorb a little mop sauce.