Monday, December 13, 2010

Stick to your ribs Pulled Pork

Last time I checked it was still Fall outside. No sign of Summer so I am embracing my slow cooker to the max. I am also very busy with work, seasonal social gatherings and starting my triathlon training for a race I hope to do in early March. Not that far away but I feel I have a strong enough base coming off my recent 10k race and the Fall netball season. The only area I am lacking in, actually non-existent in, is the swimming. I will be starting that this week. I am not looking forward to the swim part of the race but I’m pretty sure it will be a whole lot easier if I try to get in the pool and train a couple of times a week. Anyway, getting off track, my point was that I am very busy and so planning meals is very important if I want to stay energized, healthy and away from my no-go foods.
I’ve wanted to try pulled pork in the slow cooker for a while but wondered if it would indeed come out as soft and melt-in-your-mouth tender as it does when pit roasted for days on end. I pulled out a recipe which seemed way to basic to be a hit but I thought it best to start with the basics. I literally bought a joint of boneless pork shoulder and put in the slow cooker. No spices, no liquids, no oils. Just a hunk of raw meat. The recipe said to slow cook it for 12 hours. Perfect, I had a mammoth day of tasks and errands ahead of me so I’d be out of the house for that long and likely famished when I did get home.
I was right and how awesome it was to walk in the door and smell dinner already cooked. I looked in the pot and sure enough it was cooked and lots of liquid had come out in the process. I poked the joint and wasn’t sure what to expect. It was perfect. The meat pulled away at a feather touch of the fork and conveniently fell into my mouth. Delicious and perfectly cooked. For part 2 of the recipe I had to take out the meat, pour away the liquid and then shred the pork. Easier said than done. The pork was so tender that I couldn’t get it out without it falling apart, despite the string casing holding it together. This is already a success! I shredded the meat using about 10% of my muscle power and then returned it to the pot and stirred in some BBQ sauce (1 14oz bought-busted!), a chopped onion, 1 teaspoon brown sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
It went back on High for 1 hour but I’m pretty sure it would have tasted phenomenal at that point without the additional melding time. Anything remotely edible would have tasted phenomenal at that point. I was starving and being tortured by the dish evolving before my eyes. I spent the hour catching up on emails, paperwork and doing the dishes so that when I did tuck in to dinner finally, I would be able to fall into a food coma state without having to drag myself up afterwards to do all that stuff.
The resultant concoction was worth waiting 13 hours for…a perfect meal for a perfectly hectic day that never seemed to end. And I have enough for several lunches and to share with some work peeps too. Not bad for a total cost of $22 for meat and BBQ sauce.

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