Slow Cooked Pulled Pork

By 7 m read

Slow Cooked Pulled Pork (Photo by Viana Boenzli)
(Photo by Viana Boenzli)

If I told you that you can make the easiest, tastiest slow cooked pulled pork you’ve ever had at home with three ingredients, you’d call me a liar.

 

Try this recipe and if I’m wrong, call me a liar. 

 

To make the easiest, best, slow cooked pulled pork you’ve ever had, all you need is a pork butt or pork shoulder (commonly known as pork roast), kosher sea salt, and sugar. 

Slow Cooked Pulled Pork (Photo by Erich Boenzli)
(Photo by Erich Boenzli)

Ok, you also need some neutral cooking oil, a big pan with a lid that’s oven safe, and an oven, of course.

 

How to buy and prepare the pork roast

If you know your butcher, awesome. Just tell her what you’re planning to make, how big your pot is, if you want it bone-in or boneless, and she’ll take care of you. 

 

If you buy your meat in a supermarket, look for a boneless pork roast (which is most likely shoulder or butt, sometimes labeled Boston butt). These cuts are normally packaged in the 4 to 5-lb range. 

 

When you get home, dry the roast with a paper towel and, if necessary, trim excess fat with a sharp knife. While it’s very important to trim hunks of meat really well before grilling as they only create flare-ups and not flavor, leaving some flap fat on (the fat on the outside of the roast), doesn’t hurt. That fat will mostly melt in your Dutch oven and will leave you with a fantastic base in the bottom of the pot that you can use in a myriad of other dishes. 

 

What’s the best dry rub recipe?

Sometimes, the best is the simplest. Slowly roasted pork has a delicious, subtle flavor all by itself. And if that’s what you are aiming for, keep it simple.

 

Two Ingredients will transform this roast into a mouthwatering, I-can’t-stop-eating experience that you’ll make over and over again:

Slow Cooked Pulled Pork (Photo by Erich Boenzli)
(Photo by Erich Boenzli)

Salt and sugar 

Yup, that’s it. Salt and sugar will do the magic.  And, unlike all those fancy spices getting stale in your spice drawer within a year (or even quicker if not properly stored), salt and sugar have an infinite spice life. 

 

Tip: Always use kosher sea salt. Do not use table salt. Table salt’s grains are too fine and will make the meat taste too salty. 

 

How to make and apply the dry rub

It took me a while to figure out the best way to explain this. I’ll try my best: put the roast in a baking dish. Mix salt and sugar in a bowl. Use your hands and rub the mixture evenly over the entire roast. Cover with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for about 24 hours. Ok, that wasn’t too hard 😄

Slow Cooked Pulled Pork (Photo by Erich Boenzli)
(Photo by Erich Boenzli)

What’s next, after waiting for 24 hours?

Preheat the oven to 300°F. On the stove, heat 3 Tbsp neutral cooking oil in the Dutch oven. Brown roast evenly for 3 minutes on each side. Remove roast and place a large onion, cut in 3 pieces, on the bottom of the pan. Put the browned roast on top (the onions will act as a shelf and prevent the roast from sitting too deep in its own liquids). Place the lid on the Dutch oven and stick it in the oven for 3 hours. 

Slow Cooked Pulled Pork (Photo by Erich Boenzli)
(Photo by Erich Boenzli)
Slow Cooked Pulled Pork (Photo by Erich Boenzli)
(Photo by Erich Boenzli)

What’s with all the 3’s?

Coincidence? Probably. I don’t know. It worked and I thought it’s kinda cool. I forgot to mention how much sugar and salt to use: You guessed it, 3 Tbsp each. 

 

The 3 hours are up, now what?

Patience, my friend. Carefully remove the hot Dutch oven from the oven. Carefully, remove the hot lid from the Dutch oven. And now, very carefully lift out the most moist, falling apart, delicious smelling, wonderful looking pork roast and place it on a large cutting board, preferably one that has a juice groove

 

Tip: If you’re not sure if your roast is ready, you can always use a meat thermometer and a fork. The meat thermometer should read 190°F and the fork should easily pull apart the meat. 

Slow Cooked Pulled Pork (Photo by Viana Boenzli)
(Photo by Viana Boenzli)

Use a couple large forks and rip into it. The roast will fall apart effortlessly. Shred it with the forks to the fineness you like and enjoy any way you want.

Slow Cooked Pulled Pork (Photo by Viana Boenzli)
(Photo by Viana Boenzli)

But do me one favor before smothering the pulled pork with your favorite BBQ sauce: try a piece just like it is. Taste the sublime pork flavor, brought out by the salt and just slightly sweetened by the sugar. It’ll lift you into heaven. And who said pigs can’t fly!

 

You still want to call me Pinnochio? I didn’t think so.

Slow Cooked Pulled Pork (Photo by Viana Boenzli)
(Photo by Viana Boenzli)

What should I do with all the juices and soaked onions in the bottom of the pan?

If you make a pulled pork sandwich, mix some of the onions with the pork and enjoy. The juices can be used to flavor anything, from your next instant ramen fix to your pasta with tomato sauce. 

 

And that’s the story of how to make the easiest, tastiest pulled pork with three ingredients in a Dutch oven. 

 

What if I have leftover meat?

You won’t. Just kidding. Store the cooked meat in the fridge for up to 3 days. It also freezes excellent for up to 3 months (jeez, again with the 3’s, really). 

 

Instead of nuking it, I prefer to reheat the meat in a toaster oven or give it a quick stir in my Lodge cast iron pan

 

Dutch oven vs slow cooker vs crock pot

A Crock-Pot and a slow cooker are the same. Crock-Pot is actually a brand name owned by Sunbeam. Slow cookers use electricity, normally have three temperature settings (high, low, and keep warm), and for obvious reasons cannot be put in an oven. 

 

Dutch oven is the “original” slow cooker. Today’s Dutch ovens are mostly enameled cast iron. They’ve been around for a couple hundred years and their history is rather interesting.

 

Funny enough, the Dutch call a Dutch oven a braadpan, which literally translates to roasting pan.

 

A Dutch oven is, in my opinion, an excellent kitchen investment. Use it on the stovetop or in the oven. Heck, I used mine on top of my wood burning stove during a power outage last winter, to make a fabulous hot meal.

 

Here are a couple more meal ideas I recently came up with: 

 

Different cooking times for different weights 

The roast I used for this recipe was 4-1/2 lbs. Add about 30 minutes cooking time for each additional pound. But please check for perfect doneness with a meat thermometer and/or a fork. 

Slow Cooked Pulled Pork (Photo by Viana Boenzli)
(Photo by Viana Boenzli)

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Slow Cooked Pulled Pork (Photo by Viana Boenzli)

Slow Cooked Pulled Pork

You can make the easiest, tastiest slow cooked pulled pork you’ve ever had at home with three ingredients.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Marinating Time 1 d
Total Time 3 hrs 5 mins
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 4-1/2 lb pork roast
  • 3 Tbsp kosher sea salt
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp neutral cooking oil
  • 1 onion, cut into three pieces

Instructions
 

Prepare the Roast

  • Dry the roast with a paper towel and, if necessary, trim excess fat with a sharp knife. 

Dry Rub

  • Put the roast in a baking dish. 
  • Mix salt and sugar in a bowl.
  • Use your hands and rub the mixture evenly over the entire roast. 
  • Cover with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for about 24 hours.

Cooking the Roast

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F. 
  • On the stove, heat 3 Tbsp neutral cooking oil in the Dutch oven.
  • Brown roast evenly for 3 minutes on each side.
  • Remove roast and place a large onion, cut in 3 pieces, on the bottom of the pan. Put the browned roast on top (the onions will act as a shelf and prevent the roast from sitting too deep in its own liquids). 
  • Place the lid on the Dutch oven and stick it in the oven for 3 hours. 
  • Carefully remove the hot Dutch oven from the oven. Carefully, remove the hot lid from the Dutch oven. And now, very carefully lift out the pork roast and place it on a large cutting board, preferably one that has a juice groove.
    Tip: If you’re not sure if your roast is ready, you can always use a meat thermometer and a fork. The meat thermometer should read 190°F and the fork should easily pull apart the meat. 
  • Use a couple large forks and rip into it. The roast will fall apart effortlessly. Shred it with the forks to the fineness you like and enjoy any way you want. But do me one favor before smothering the pulled pork with your favorite BBQ sauce: try a piece just like it is. Taste the sublime pork flavor, brought out by the salt and just slightly sweetened by the sugar. It’ll lift you into heaven. And who said pigs can’t fly!

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