Few things in life can put a bigger smile on my face than pulled meat. Pulled pork, brisket, you name it, I love it all! You may have seen on my Twitter that last week I went to get my haircut, purely for the excuse to swing by a sandwich shop down the street from my salon that makes my favourite pulled meat sandwiches in all of Toronto. Now that's love! What I love even more is how insanely easy pulled meat is to make! Who would have thought that something so delicious, flavourful, tender, and abundant could be an absolute cinch to make? The trick here is to slow cook your meat.
Cooking your meat slowly in a flavourful braising liquid allows you to throw everything in a pot, and forget about it till dinner time! Amazing, no? Slow cooking your meat results in incredibly tender meat that you can literally shred apart with your fork, while intensifying all of the flavours from the braising liquid. As much as the slow cooking process makes the dish, it's really important to start with a really flavourful braising liquid.
This will be my family's third attempt at making pulled pork (the first two times my parents made it, this time me, with the help of my sous chefs mom and dad!), and there is no question this round was definitely the best! Through layering sweet and spicy ingredients, my pulled pork ended up having a really complex flavour that woke up everybody's taste buds! I also let the shredded meat cook in the sauce for an additional 1/2 hour (rather than serving the meat immediately after shredding) to reduce the sauce and allow the shredded meat to soak up all that moistness. So we have incredibly flavourful and easy, could it get any better? Oh yeah baby it sure does! For all of you out there on a budget, this is the perfect Sunday supper for you! Pork Shoulder is an inexpensive cut of meat, and because shredded pork is ideal on sandwiches, you're able to feed a family of four at dinner, and still have leftovers for lunch the next day. I also like to toss in some potatoes and carrots, which are also inexpensive, to extend this meal even further. I serve up half sandwiches the first night with the veggies, then full sandwiches the next day. This is one dish I promise you you will go bananas over!
Tip: Have a party coming up? Why not serve up little pulled pork sliders! Perfect for entertaining, pulled pork allows you to spend time with your guests rather than over the stove.
Note: If you don't have a slow cooker, you may use a dutch oven, just make sure to check up on your pork throughout the day.
Ingredients:2 pounds pork shoulder, silver skin removed
salt and pepper to season
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp chili powder, separated
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 cup chili sauce
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 can coca cola
1 (12 oz) bottle barbeque sauce
3-4 large carrots, peeled and cut in half widthwise (optional)
4-5 small potatoes, quartered (optional)
soft white buns for serving (optional)
1. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add pork to pot and brown on all sides. Transfer to slow cooker.
2. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, and 1 tbsp of chili powder to the large pot or dutch oven. Fry, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened. Add the red wine vinegar and scrape up browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Add the chili sauce, worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and the remaining chili powder. Stir to combine.
3. Pour the can of Coca Cola over the pork in the slow cooker. Pour in the barbeque sauce. Add the contents of the pot and stir to combine. Add the carrots and potatoes (if using) and push down so they are enveloped in the sauce.
4. Cook on low for 6 hours. Remove pork from slow cooker and set on a baking sheet (to catch any liquids) and, using two forks, shred the pork. Add the pork back into the slow cooker and cook on high for another 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and serve pork with vegetables and soft white buns for pulled pork sandwiches.