Two weeks before Super Bowl 2014, my husband and I received a Crock Pot at our wedding shower. I was psyched, as the idea of throwing a bunch of stuff into a pot and then eating a delicious dinner several hours later sounded awesome to me.
For the Super Bowl, we decided to get together with a couple of friends of ours, one of whom was on the Paleo diet at the time. I decided to make pulled pork in the Crock Pot, because it was Paleo and because it looked delicious (and because I was psyched to use the Crock Pot a second time after a successful first run making teriyaki beef).
- 4 lb bone-in pork shoulder
- 4 tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp ground white pepper
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 full batch of Beasty BBQ Sauce
I had to slightly modify this recipe out of necessity: I couldn’t find cayenne pepper in the grocery store, I didn’t buy oregano in the grocery store because I thought we had it at home and we didn’t, and I didn’t find out until 10pm the night before the Super Bowl, after we couldn’t find it in the store, that Beasty BBQ Sauce was a homemade recipe made by the same guy who writes the blog I got the recipe from (oops). So we used Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce instead.
First, I mixed the paprika, sea salt, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, and white pepper in a bowl. I also didn’t realize until I tried to open it that the sea salt I had bought was a grinder and something I couldn’t pour out of, so I just ground a bunch of salt into the bowl and called it good.
The next step was to actually put the rub on the meat. The exact words in the recipe are “massage the spice rub all over the meat in every crevice you can find.” I’ve marinated things before, but I was always able to throw the mix into a plastic bag, toss the meat in, and leave it in the fridge for a few hours. I looked at this hunk of meat sitting on my counter for at least a minute and a half thinking, “I have to rub these spices onto that? With my hands?”
So I tentatively scooped up some of the spice mixture onto my fingers and began rubbing it onto the meat. I soon realized that it would be easier to do this in a bowl, so I transferred the meat to a big mixing bowl and dumped the spices over it. It was a lot easier to rub the spices in when I wasn’t afraid of making a mess all over the counter. And after I got over the minor gross-out factor of handling raw meat, it was actually sort of satisfying to rub the spices in.
Once I was finished, Andrew helped me to double-bag the pork in two Ziploc freezer bags. I dumped the remainder of the spice mix into the inner bag and put it in the refrigerator overnight.
I woke up early the next morning to start up the Crock Pot, since the meat had to cook on low for 8-10 hours. I lined the Crock Pot with a Reynolds Slow Cooker Liner (BEST INVENTION EVER), put in the pork and ¼ cup of water, and turned it on for 8 hours.
I ended up cooking it for 8 ½ hours as it turned out because I needed more time to clean the rest of the house for our guests as well as get some pigs in blankets in the oven. By the time I was supposed to take it out and pull it apart, the juices from the pork had almost filled the Crock Pot. When I went to take it out with a pair of tongs, it was already mostly falling apart, so I got what I could with the tongs and used a slotted spoon to get the rest into a bowl.
I dumped the largest pieces of fat as well as the remaining liquid down the garbage disposal and threw away the crockpot liner. Then I tore apart the rest of the pork (most of it was pretty shredded already), mixed it with the bottle of Jack Daniels BBQ sauce, re-lined the Crock Pot, and put the pork back into the Crock Pot for another hour. I also kept out a small portion of the pork for myself since I don’t actually really like BBQ sauce that much, and also just wanted to try it plain.
After another hour or so, after the first quarter of the game, we chowed down! I had gotten both French bread sub rolls and Kaiser rolls to put the pulled pork on. I preferred the French bread since it was softer, but both were good! We didn’t have a lot of people over, so I ended up having a decent amount of leftovers.
This is definitely a recipe I’ll make again, but probably not often—we don’t usually have a lot of occasions that we need pulled pork for. And it was also sort of hard to find a pork butt that was less than 10 pounds, but when I asked for a smaller one at the commissary, the butcher was nice enough to cut one in half for me! He also gave me the half without the bone, so I didn’t have to worry about that, either. (I love the commissary!!)
All in all, this was a perfect recipe to make for the Super Bowl, and pretty simple, to boot! You just have to be willing to start the night before and get up early enough to get it started the next day.
- Mix all of the ingredients except the pork shoulder and the BBQ sauce in a small mixing bowl to make your spice rub.
- Massage the spice rub all over the meat in every crevice you can find.
- Wrap tightly in a double wrap of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. You can refrigerate this for up to 3 days.
- Unwrap the roast, place it in your Crock Pot, add 1/4 cup of water, and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until the pork is fork-tender.
- Transfer your roast to a cutting board and discard all the liquid in your Crock Pot.
- Tear the meat into thin shreds with two forks or your fingers (I’d recommend not using your fingers, since it’ll be hot!).
- Place all the shredded meat back in the Crock Pot, toss with BBQ sauce and heat on low for 60 minutes until hot.
- Serve and enjoy!