Slow cooker recipes are wonderful…
Nobody can say they don’t enjoy getting everything into one pot, not having to worry about it for 8 hours, and having a mouth-watering final product that will last for several meals as a result. This is just such a recipe…
I’ve made a lot of pulled pork in the slow cooker, but none of the recipes I’ve used have honey in them. I wanted to come up with a barbecue sauce pulled pork that included honey. My first experiment was a success! WHEW!
It’s not super sweet and you can make it as mild or as spicy as you like!
Make-Ahead You can make the barbecue sauce and the dry rub a day or two ahead of time. Then, the morning of your cooking day you just have to rub the meat, sear it, and get everything in the slow cooker! This makes the recipe even BETTER!
Chop up some onion and garlic…
Heat a little vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add in the chopped onions, salt, and a bit of freshly ground black pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and saute the onions, stirring frequently, until they are softened and lightly browned. Add in the minced garlic and cook a couple more minutes, stirring constantly. You don’t want the garlic to burn!
To the onion mixture…
Add in ketchup, apple cider vinegar, worcestershire, honey, brown sugar, and salt.
If you prefer your pulled pork with a little extra spiciness you can add in 1/4 tsp (or more as desired) of cayenne pepper. There is also some cayenne in the dry rub for the pork so keep that in mind. Don’t get too heavy-handed here unless you know you can handle it! 🙂
Simmer the onion/ketchup mixture over medium-low heat for about 3-5 minutes until thoroughly combined.
Allow it to cool completely and then store it in an airtight container in the fridge if you made it ahead. Otherwise, just set it aside to cool a bit until you’re ready to add it to the slow-cooker!
Just mix 1 TBSP paprika, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, 2 tsp kosher salt, and 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper together in a small bowl or ramekin. Cover tightly and store at room temperature until you’re ready to use it!
You need to get the pork in the slow cooker 8-9 hours before dinnertime. Start with a 3-4 pound boneless pork shoulder and trim it of extra fat (it usually has a pretty good layer so cut that off!) You can leave some of the fat behind for flavor, but get rid of a good amount of it or the final product will be overwhelmed by fattiness instead of meaty and delicious. You can have the butcher do this for you at your grocery store (most are willing to do so if you ask!)
Rub the pork on ALL sides with your dry rub, massaging it into the meat thoroughly.
Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add 1 TBSP vegetable oil. When the oil is hot but not smoking add in the whole pork shoulder and let it brown for about 2-3 minutes on each side.
In the meantime, pour half of your barbecue sauce into the slow-cooker. When the meat is seared… dark golden-brown crust on all sides… add it straight into the slow-cooker.
Deglaze the pan by turning up the heat to medium-high and adding 3/4 cup room-temperature water. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes with a wooden spoon, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan to get all the flavor you can from the seared pork.
Add all the liquid from the deglazed pan to the remaining barbecue sauce. Stir that together and then pour it right on top of the pork shoulder in the slow-cooker.
Cover the slow-cooker and set it to LOW heat for 8 to 8 1/2 hours.
At the 8 or 8 1/2 hour mark I turn my slow-cooker to the “Keep Warm” position. Then I use two forks to shred the pork right in the slow cooker (you can take it out if you want to but I think it’s less messy to just do it right in the cooker!) Stir the shredded pork in with all the sauce and cover it again to let it soak up the flavors meld for 10-30 minutes (however long you may need to finish the rest of your meal!)
SERVE IT UP!!
I like to serve mine on toasted hamburger buns or on potato rolls (large or small). You can add coleslaw for a side or to top the sandwiches and any other sides you want! Fruit, salad, cornbread, a veggie, potatoes…. anything really goes with this! You will likely have leftovers so you can switch up your method of serving and/ or your sides each meal if you like!
This total cost for the Honey Barbecue Pulled-Pork is $10.98 and it serves a LOT of people. I would say it serves 8-12… it just depends on who is eating and how hungry they are! 🙂
To serve 10, the cost would be just $1.10 per person… AWESOME!
AND, I figured out that if you made the pulled pork, bought buns, made a triple recipe of carrots and a double recipe of mini cornbread muffins… you’re still looking at just over $2.00 per person! It doesn’t get much better than that for a DELICIOUS, comforting meal with family and friends!
Happy Economical Eating! ~Jenna