Thursday, 29 May 2014

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork


Pulled pork is one of those dishes that you will find yourself making again and again. It is trouble free and fairly inexpensive, not to mention the fact that leftovers are never a problem. 

When I bought my slow cooker first I wasn't really sure what recipes I could make, one that caught my attention over and over again was pulled pork.

Living here in Cavan teaches you one thing - there is no shortage of good quality Irish pork locally - I don't have to travel too far round here before I come across a farmer who keeps pigs as his main livestock, furthermore I can buy direct from the processing plant which stocks beautiful cuts of prime Irish pork.


So it was an easy decision when I finally decided to give my slow cooker a real workout and make some pulled pork, now as I mentioned earlier buying a large shoulder of pork is a doddle for me so I bought the smallest piece of boneless shoulder in the shop - a whopping 3.2kg piece!- cut it down to size, popped it into my slow cooker, only to find nine fragrant hours later that I had a very versatile and tasty meal on my hands. I have added it to all sorts of dishes and all of the them the better for it!

It's not difficult to buy pulled pork ready made here in ireland anymore but I think that once you make your own you will never go back to the supermarket version again. I am sure that any family butcher would be more than happy to sell you a shoulder of pork, he might even remove the fat for you if you ask nicely enough :)   

Serves 5-6

Ingredients
1.7kg Boneless shoulder of pork (or a smaller piece to fit your slow cooker)
500ml Water
2-3 Cloves Garlic, peeled and squashed with the back of a knife
Glug of golden syrup
Bay leaf
1 Onion, peeled and halved

Method
Turn the slow cooker on LOW add the water, garlic, golden syrup, the bay leaf and onion, allow to preheat while you prepare the pork. 


I buy my pork directly from our local pork processor, as a result it comes in large 3kg portions so for convenience I cut the joint in half and freeze the remaining piece for another day.


To prepare the joint, remove the netting, skin and any excess fat. Using a sharp knife, carefully remove the skin and any fat from the shoulder with a short cutting motion and the tip of the knife for difficult to reach areas. As with any recipe for a slow cooker it is better to move any excess fat as it renders down in the cooking process and can make for a greasy dish....yuck!


Discard the fat and place the pork into it's fragrant bath in the slow cooker basin. I'm using my 6.5ltr slow cooker but if your cooker is smaller cut the piece down to fit.


Fit the lid snuggly into place and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours. Do not remove the lid to take a peek, this will lengthened the cooking time and may lead to undercooked meat.


After 8 hours check if the pork is cooked through - the internal temperature of cooked pork is the same as poultry it should maintain a steady 75ÂșC -  if there is any deep pink meat or pink juices leave the pork for a further hour and check again.


When the pork is cooked, it will be tender and falling apart. Shred the pork with two forks into a serving dish and serve as it is or mix with your favourite BBQ or sweet and sour sauce.

 

Leftovers are not really a problem because pulled pork is perfect for (take a deep breath here folks) -sandwiches, quesadillas, empanadas, salads, pizza toppings, baked potatoes toppings, pies and the perfect addition to a Ragu sauce.......phew!