Just like last year, it’s unbearably hot and humid. And since I’ve been busy with the job that pays the bills and celebrating my Dad’s 70th birthday yesterday (Happy Birthday Dad!- not that he will ever bother with the internet to see this), I thought I’d re-post one of my favorite recipes as a reminder to keep things simple and delicious this Fourth of July.
If you don’t have a pool or some sort of water to jump into, with this crowd pleaser you can avoid standing in the sweltering heat all day over a smoking hot grill while fighting off mosquitoes. I’ll be wearing my red, white & blue on a flight to Belize in the morning, and if I’m lucky grabbing a burger at MIA on the way. Hope everyone has a great holiday and a extra long and fun-filled weekend!
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Spicy Slaw
For the slaw:
1 head of Savoy cabbage
1/2 a bunch of cilantro
2-3 small jalapenos, cored with most of the seeds removed
5 scallions (green or red)
1/4 cup of mayo, plus 2 tbps
1 capful of apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper
For the pork:
5-6 lbs of semi-boneless pork shoulder (picnic cut), preferably with skin on
1 can of your favorite beer
1 and 1/2 cups of coffee (or water, chicken broth or more beer)
2 cloves of garlic
2 medium onions
Mini rolls or tortillas
The slaw can be made in advance.
Thinly slice the cabbage into a large bowl (or use a food processor). Chop the scallions and cilantro. Dice the peppers. Add all three to the cabbage. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Add the mayo (in place of the extra 2 tbsps of mayo, you can add sour cream if you prefer) and the apple cider vinegar. Squeeze in the juice from the limes. Mix thoroughly. Taste. Let sit for awhile and taste again. If the flavor of any ingredient is lacking, add more. If the flavor is too strong, add whatever will counteract it (salt, pepper, spice, lime, mayo). Making slaw is not an exact science, but it can always be adjusted. Give it time to moisten and let the flavors meld.
Rinse the pork and pat dry. Let stand till room temperature. (You can do a rub for the pork if you have the time and let it sit for a day, but it’s not necessary.) Sprinkle the skin with salt and pepper. Sear the pork skin side down in a pan with a few tablespoons of oil till nicely browned (about 5 minutes). If skin is on the bottom, sear that for a few minutes as well but it’s not necessary. (The juices run down into the pork and not up.) Cut the onions into thick slices and place in the bottom of the slow cooker. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cut little slits into the pork skin and insert garlic slices. Sprinkle the pork all over with paprika, chile, salt and pepper and rub it in. Place pork with skin side up on top of the onions. (If you didn’t do a rub the night before, you can prep to this stage and let sit covered in the fridge overnight or for a few hours as time permits.) Add the beer to the slow cooker. Add additional liquid (water, broth or coffee like I did with some extra from breakfast). The liquid should be about 1/3 of the way up the pork. Cover. Let cook without lifting the lid for 8-10 hours on low. When the pork pulls away from the bone/skin, it’s ready. Remove from the slow cooker and let cool enough to touch. Then get in there and remove the skin and bones. (You can reserve the skin and fat for another use or throw away.) Hand pull the pork into shreds and serve immediately for the most flavor/moistness. But with this cut, it’s should be moist enough to prep in advance if that’s easier.
Serve on a soft bun (King’s Hawaiian rolls are great) or with tortillas. You might want to add some BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Ray’s Vidalia Onion is good). But you’ll also have enough juice to make a gravy or serve as au jus if you want it wet but don’t want to mask the flavor of the meat. Top with the slaw. Add the onions to your sandwich too if you want.
Note: Even after the pulled pork sat for a full day, it was still incredibly moist and delicious. You can even serve it at room temperature.
To drink: Since it’s blueberry season, make up a batch of blueberry-mint lemonade and spike it with vodka, tequila or bourbon if you want. Or grill some lemons and have grilled lemonade (which can also be spiked).
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