Sunday, September 8, 2013

Paleo Pulled BBQ Pork in the Crockpot

So most of what I found online about making pulled pork in the crock pot had junky ingredients like a bottle of ketchup (hello corn syrup!) or barbeque sauce (lots of chemicals and preservatives in most of those, plus a lot of sweet!)

So I read what they wanted me to add and I checked my cabinet to see what I had, and here is what I came up with.   This is a result of lots of recipes smooshed together PLUS an emptier than usual spice rack.

  • 1/2 pint of homemade tomato basil sauce (I use this BHG recipe and leave out the brown sugar).  You can sub any low-sugar tomato sauce.  Just watch for sneaky sugar added to them.
  • 1 small can of tomato paste (make sure it has nothing but tomatoes in it)
  • 3-4 tsps of hot sauce (I like cholula or tabasco.  For this I chose the vinegary tabasco)
  • fresh ground pepper - i just grind it into the sauce.  about a tsp I think
  • about 1.5 TBSP chili powder
  • about 1 tsp ground cayenne paper
  • about 2 tbsp of honey
  • 3 cups of apple cider (divided)

Mix 1 cup of apple cider with all of the other ingredients. Stir well with a spoon or whisk to make sure the tomato paste is dissolved in the cider.   Add the other two cups of cider and stir.

Add about 4-5 lbs of pork.   Most recipes call for Pork Shoulder, but Pork Sirloin Roast was on sale and cheaper per pound - so that's what I used this time!  Try to get as much of the meat under the sauce as possible.

Turn your crockpot on to high and bring it to a simmer.  Turn on low if you need to cook it longer.  It should take 4-6 hours.  Mine took just about 6 hours to get to the right internal temperature.  I checked at 4 and at 5...almost to 6 was the perfect time.  You don't want to open your crockpot too much and let the heat and steam out.

Pork is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees.  Use your meat thermometer to check before you start shredding.

To shred the meat, break off a hunk of the roast that fits easily in a serving or mixing bowl with deep sides.  Use two forks to "shred" and pull the meat apart.  Break it up as much as you can.  By the time I shredded all the pork (mine was a little over 5 lbs) my hands were tired from holding those forks!

Before you put your shredded meat back in, use a 1 cup measuring cup and dip off all the sauce but about 1 - 1.5 cups.   Put it in a heavy saucepan and boil it to reduce and thicken while you shred the rest of the meat!  This is a terrible picture, but my sauce is reducing and boiling away, I promise.   I reduced mine to about 1/3 of what I started with.  It took about 12 minutes of boiling to thicken and reduce.

Add your thickened sauce and the shredded pork to the crockpot and cook on low for another 30 minutes to get all the flavors mixed together.

Serve on lettuce wraps (or in hearts of romaine lettuce boats) or on salads or mix into your breakfast omelets!   There are so many ways to serve (without a pulled pork sandwich bun!) and it is so easy and low-maintenance to make that I made a lot more than I'd normally make.  I'm planning to use this as my meat dish for several meals this week.  I start a new job tomorrow and I have a late night meeting on Wednesday, so I honestly have no idea what level of tired I will be after work.  I tend to make bad choices with my eating when I am super tired and not willing to cook.  So I strategically prepared this huge hunk of meat this week and bought lots of easy to prep veggies and fruit so I will be ready! 

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