Summer cooking is often about trying to not heat up the kitchen any more than necessary. A slow-cooker adds some heat but certainly not as much as the oven. You could even set the slow-cooker up in the basement or garage if you really wanted to keep the heat out of the kitchen.
Slow-cooker Pulled Pork with Barbecue Sauce
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 10 1/2 hours
- 10 lb. pork should, skin removed
- 1/2 cup Alton Brown’s Rub Number Nine, divided
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup chili sauce
- Rub the pork shoulder all over with 1/4 cup of the dry rub. Place in the slow-cooker. Add the orange juice. Cover and cook for 10 hours.
- When the time is up transfer the pork shoulder to a cutting board and allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes. While it rests combine the ketchup, chili sauce, remaining dry rub and 1 cup of the liquid in the slow-cooker in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes until sauce reduces to about 1 1/2 cups.
- When the pork is cook enough to handle start shredding the meat. I pull a large piece off the shoulder with tongs and then use 2 forks to shred it. Place shredded meat in a large bowl.
- When all the meat is shredded ladle about 1/2 cup of sauce and 1/2 cup of liquid from the slow-cooker over the meat. Toss the meat in the sauce and serve.
I flipped the pork shoulder every 2 hours in the slow-cooker.
This could be made a day or two in advance. Pull the meat as above and stash the cooled meat in a large zip top bag. Strain the liquid in the slow-cooker and save that separately. To reheat: Place the meat in an oven-safe dish, add a cup of the slow-cooker liquid and cover the dish with foil. Heat in a 200°F oven for 15-20 minutes. Make the barbecue sauce while the pork reheats and toss the heated meat with the sauce when you are ready to serve.
If you are more ambitious, or just plan ahead, you can prep and rub the pork shoulder 24 hours in advance, wrap it in plastic wrap and stash it in the fridge. This will give the sugar and salt in the rub an extended bit of time to do it’s magic in seasoning the meat.
Some weeks I know that, despite having two ovens, we will still be fighting for oven space as we approach dinner time. I turn to the slow-cooker on such occassions to prepare any number of lovely things. There are those who question using the slow-cooker without any liquid. Luckily most cuts of meat will produce a bit of liquid on their own over time. I say don’t sweat it.
Slow-cooker Pork Loin
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 3 1/2 hours
- 3 1/2 lb. pork loin
- 1 tsp. herbes de Provence
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- Trim excess fat from the top of the pork loin, leaving about an 1/8″.
- Combine herbs, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle over all sides of the pork loin, rubbing it in to ensure adherence.
- Place the pork loin in the crock pot and cover. Heat on low for 3 hours.
- Check the temperature; you want it to reach 145° before removing. If it isn’t ready then check again in 15 minutes.
- Transfer pork loin to a grooved cutting board and tent with foil. Allow to rest for 15-20 minutes. The internal temperature will continue to rise another 5-10°. Slice meat thinly and serve with homemade applesauce.
I traded a bit of flavor for ease of prep by not browning the outside of the pork roast. If you don’t mind dirtying a skillet you can rub it with salt and pepper then brown it over high heat in a little vegetable oil. Cool until you can comfortably handle, rub on the herbes de Provence and continue with step 3.
One of the reasons I share the list of what we made for our Saturday night gatherings is so I have a way to recall what we made previously. This dish is based on a recipe I found a year ago which I made, liked and forgot about. I’ve tweaked it a bit to use the spices we had on hand and adjusted the ratios for the amount I was making for Saturday night dinner.
Here’s the recipe for Chicken Cacciatore I mentioned in my post Sunday. We have a fairly large slow cooker, a 6.5 quart one from Crock Pot. This recipe for chicken cacciatore basically filled it to the top. Thankfully there was no spill over while we were out of the house.
This recipe is based on this one from Campell’s Kitchen.
Recipe under the cut
I found this recipe in the “Cookbook and Owner’s Manual” for my slow cooker.
Caribbean Pork Chops
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 7-9 hours
- 1 tsp. sambal oelek (fresh chili paste)
- 2 tsp. ground allspice
- 2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 4 tsp. sugar
- 4 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 cup scallions, chopped
- 6 Tbsp. soy sauce (I used low-sodium)
- 4 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
- 4 Tbsp. garlic, minced
- 8 bone-on pork chops, about 1″ thick
- Combine the first 12 ingredients (basically everything except the pork chops) in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until you have a well blended, course, paste.
- Coat both sides of each pork chop with the paste and layer them in the slow cooker.
- Cover and set the slow cooker on low. Cook for ~8 hours. I rotated the chops about half way through so that the chops that started out on top moved to the bottom.
- Remove the chops from the slow cooker. The meat will most likely fall off the bones when you remove them from the pot. Don’t worry about it. Cover with foil and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.
- Pour the “juice” through a strainer into a gravy separator and let sit for 5 minutes. Pour the “juice” into a gravy boat or 2 cup glass measuring cup and call it sauce. You might want to check the flavor before serving. Mine was fine but I could see it coming out salty or bland.