There may be as many versions of pulled pork as there are regions in America — and each one is delicious, whether it’s Carolina-style, Memphis-style, Kansas City-style or Texas-style. This popular dish became famous for its technique of barbecuing the shoulder or “butt” of the pork for hours over the low heat of a wood fire. Our version is easier to prepare because it’s made in the slow cooker.
SLOW COOKER PULLED PORK BARBECUE SANDWICH
5 pounds boneless pork butt (shoulder)
3 cups (about 2 large) thinly sliced onions
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
3 tablespoons smoked paprika
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon dried chipotle or hot pepper
1½ tablespoons ground cumin
1 cup apple cider vinegar
¾ cup light brown sugar
1½ tablespoons kosher salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
For the sandwich:
Sandwich buns as needed, split and toasted. Kansas City-style barbecue sauce*, as needed. Coleslaw*, as needed (optional).
Directions: Remove the excess fat from the exterior of the pork. It is fine to leave some on, as we will skim off fat later. If the pork is one large piece, cut it into two or three pieces.
Place the onions, tomatoes, garlic, paprika, chili powder, chipotle, cumin, vinegar, brown sugar and salt into the slow cooker and toss to combine. Add the pork and mix it with the other ingredients. Cover.
Set the slow cooker for 8 hours on low. Although the pork will begin to smell really good in about an hour, leave the lid alone.
After 4 hours, turn the meat over once, replace the lid and continue to cook.
When the cooking is complete, remove the meat and set aside. Skim any fat along the top of the cooking liquid, or allow the liquid to cool and then remove the fat.
Purée the remaining liquid to a sauce-like consistency; it should be thick but smooth.
When the meat is cool enough to handle, use two forks to pull the pork into shreds. Season with black pepper.
Heat the puréed liquid and add it to the meat as desired, depending on how saucy you like your pulled pork.
To make the sandwich: Place a portion of the pulled pork onto the bottom half of the toasted bun, and top with barbecue sauce and coleslaw.
Store leftover pulled pork in an airtight container for 5 to 6 days or in a freezer for up to 6 weeks.
KANSAS CITY-STYLE BARBECUE SAUCE
Makes 2½ cups
1 2/3 cups ketchup
½ cup white vinegar
1¼ cups water
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 teaspoons paprika
4 teaspoons chili powder
4 teaspoons dry mustard
2 tablespoons minced onion
½ teaspoon minced garlic
¼ cup dark molasses
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Place all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Stir and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until the sauce is reduced to desired consistency. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator in a covered container for 5 to 6 days or in the freezer for up to 8 weeks.
Makes 8 servings
6 tablespoons sour cream
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2¼ teaspoons dry mustard
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons celery seeds
1½ teaspoons Tabasco sauce
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
5 cups shredded green cabbage
1 cup grated or shredded carrots
Mix together the sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, sugar, celery seeds, and Tabasco in a large bowl until smooth. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the cabbage and carrots, and toss until evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
Store leftover coleslaw in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.