Pulled Pork

Pulled pork is causing lips to smack all over town these days and with good reason. It’s easy to prepare, relatively inexpensive and just plain good. I have been using the same recipe for years now and was relieved in a big way when I realized it is super low-carb and candida diet friendly. Yay!

I should confess right now that my recipe for pulled pork is of the spiced, intensely flavorful variety also called carnitas (aka Mexican pulled pork). It is not the BBQ sauce coated sweet variety (also good, just too sugary for me).

I first made pulled pork for one of JD’s birthday parties a few years ago. I wanted something that would feed lots of bellies but that wouldn’t be too fussy. Pulled Pork Taco Party (or PPTP) became a hit with our friends. I set up the crock pot full of pulled pork and as many toppings as I can think of buffet-style and it’s always a hit. I have been asked for this recipe more times than I care to count….so why not share with everyone?

One word of advice: start early. The recipe yields best results when you cook it on low for 8-10 hours. The low/slow method of cooking allows the collagen to melt down and the pork to become super tender whereupon you can shred it with two forks or pull it apart with your hands.

I often put this recipe in the crock pot on a weekend day when I know I’ll be close to home. I have even done it overnight, which is also nice since you wake up with perfectly cooked pork roast and you can shred and refrigerate until needed.

Pulled Pork aka Carnitas

2 tsp salt

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp ground cumin

1-1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano

1-1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1 tbsp chili powder

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 (4 pound) boneless pork shoulder roast

2 bay leaves

2 cups chicken broth (or other broth)

1 can green chilis (optional – I occasionally add these just to shake things up)

1 packet stevia (or  1 tbsp brown sugar, or honey – optional)

1. If there is a rind of skin and fat on your pork roast, remove as much of it as you can with a sharp knife and discard.

2. Mix your spices together in a bowl.

3. Rub spices into your pork roast, taking care to rub them into any nooks and crannies.

4. Place your bay leaves in the bottom of your slow cooker. Carefully lay pork roast on top.

5. Carefully pour your broth alongside the pork roast, taking care not to wash off the spices.

6. Set your slow cooker to its low setting and allow pork to cook for 8-10 hours, turning it over halfway. Check after 8 hours to see if it is sufficiently tender.

7. Remove pork from slow cooker, shred with two forks or your impeccably clean hands.

8. Skim fat off your braising liquid and discard bay leaves. Stir in one can of green chilies (optional) and stevia. At this point you can either boil this mixture down so it is a thicker sauce and season pork with it or you can add it to pork, as-is, and roast in a 350 degree oven so the pork gets little crispy bits and the sauce keeps the meat juicy (as pictured above).

9. Eat! In tacos, taco bowls (low carb), pulled pork omelets, sandwiches…

Get all your spices together – this may indeed be the most difficult part of this recipe

Pork shoulder yields the best pulled pork and it’s very budget-friendly, too!

After the rub-down

Into the slow cooker with some lovely broth

Meltingly tender…mmmm

A little crisping in the oven…

Pulled pork taco for JD

Pulled pork taco bowl for me – on a bed of shredded cabbage with lime juice

I actually made JD a pulled pork omelet for Sunday brunch today – served with a nice cold beer. He devoured in less time than it took me to whisk the eggs!