Pulled pork is great as a meal, or add-on
Sure, a barbecue pulled pork sandwich is amazing, but have you tried using the meat in other applications?
It’s amazing as the protein on a big plate of nachos, it’s great in tacos with cole slaw mix subbed in for shredded lettuce, and it pairs well with the gooey, cheesy goodness of mac and cheese.
It’s really easy to make in a big batch, said Stacey Sorlien, program and communications director for the South Dakota Pork Producers Council. Especially in the slow cooker or electric pressure cooker.
“I’ve got endless pulled pork recipes,” Sorlien said.
This recipe is really great to get going before work, Sorlien said. Just let the slow cooker do its thing and come home to a house smelling like delicious pork.
“You want to cook it on low and slow for a long period of time to get that tender end product,” Sorlien said. “By adding just a little bit of liquid or water and putting your roast into a slow cooker and cooking it all day, it will just basically melt and fall apart.”
A shoulder roast is a little bit tougher cut of meat, Sorlien said, but slow cooking it gives it a chance to break down so it sheds off the bone.
Those with an electric pressure cooker, like an Instant Pot, can do it in a few hours, Sorlien said.
“Instant Pot is always a new favorite,” Sorlien said. “A lot people have gone to the quick method. It works like a slow cooker, but only instantly.”
Either way, cooking the pork is a fairly hands-off process, Sorlien said.
Cooks can pick their favorite sauces and flavors to add to the pork, Sorlien said. While barbecue sauce is a favorite, flavors can be changed to make pulled pork into carnitas for Mexican dishes or to pair with Asian flavors.
“You can use it for breakfast,” Sorlien said. “You can use it in a pulled pork scramble.”
- 2- to 3-pound pork shoulder, cut into three pieces
- 1 18-ounce bottle of barbecue sauce, cook's choice
- 12 ounce box of elbow macaroni or other small pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup half-and-half
- 1 1/2 cups fontina cheese, shredded (white cheddar can be used as a substitute)
- Kosher salt
- Place pieces of pork shoulder and barbecue sauce in a slow cooker. Cover and place on low for eight hours. Once cooked, shred pork in cooker; let rest in the slow cooker.
- Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat, add pasta and cook according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water; drain.
- Return pot to the stove over low heat, add olive oil. Once the oil has heated, add onion, seasoning with salt and cook until golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in half-and-half.
- When mixture just begins simmer, add cheese, whisk until smooth. Once the cheese has melted, add pasta, stir to coat. If the mac and cheese seems too thick, add reserved pasta water a few tablespoons at a time until the desired consistency has been reached. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Scoop pasta into bowls and top with pulled pork. Serves four to six.
Recipe adapted from Porkline Magazine, sdpork.org.