You Can’t Beat the Crock-Pot for Tender Pork
When you make pork in a Crock-Pot, it comes out melt-on-your-tongue tender, more so than with any other cooking method. Pulled pork is synonymous with tender—it literally falls apart, so it's just perfect for making messy sandwiches and tacos. Sure, you can smoke a pork shoulder, but why go to all that trouble when slow-cooking is easier and the pork is delicious?
Total Time: 8 hours 20 minutes | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Serves: 8
- 3- to 4-pound pork shoulder
- 2 links mild pork or turkey sausage
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup catsup
- 1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
- 1 tablespoon dark molasses
- 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Barbecue sauce to taste
- Combine the water, vinegar, catsup, molasses, and 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar in a mixing bowl. Whisk until smooth and well blended, and pour into the Crock-Pot.
- Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar, the chili powder, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Rub the mixture over the pork, coating it entirely.
- Place the pork into the Crock-Pot, taking care not to dislodge the rub. Add the sausage. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
- Remove the pork and sausage. Place the cooking liquid in a bowl, and set it aside.
- Use a fork to pull the pork into shreds, discarding any pieces of fat. Crumble the sausage. Mix the shreds and the sausage together well.
- Skim the fat from the top of the cooking liquid, and strain the liquid. Transfer it to a saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook at a hard simmer for about 15 minutes until it reduces by about one-third.
- Add the reduced cooking liquid to the pork mixture and combine well. Add barbecue sauce to your family’s taste; stir it all together, and serve.
- Although most Crock-Pot recipes can be hastened, shortening the cooking time by as much as half if you increase the heat to the high setting, this isn’t recommended with pulled pork. You’ll want to allow plenty of time to cook this recipe on low so the pork is as tender as can be.
- You can speed up the after-cooking process a little if you place the cooking liquid in the refrigerator briefly while you shred the pork and crumble the sausage. This will help the fat solidify a little more quickly on the top for easier removal.
- Turkey sausage is somewhat drier, but that doesn’t really matter with this recipe. It can be a good alternative if you prefer not to feed your family any more fat than necessary. It’s important to use the mild version of whichever sausage you choose, however, because the spicy or hot versions will overpower some of the other ingredients.
Beverly Bird has been writing professionally since 1983. She is the author of several novels including the bestselling "Comes the Rain" and "With Every Breath." Bird also has extensive experience as a paralegal, primarily in the areas of divorce and family law, bankruptcy and estate law. She covers many legal topics in her articles.