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Saturday, September 28, 2019

How to Make Fabulous Pulled Pork Indoors

Learn all there is to know about making great pulled pork indoors. Get great slow cooker and oven recipes as well as learn tips to take your pulled pork from good to great!

bowl of slow cooked apple cider pulled pork

      Pulled pork is popular for good reason.  It is an easy and delicious way to feed a crowd.  There are a ton of fabulous ways to make it even if you don't have a smoker.  Today we'll learn about the best ways to make pulled pork and share a variety of recipes for your slow cooker or in the oven.

     Pulled pork is one of our go to entrees for large gatherings.  It is affordable, flavorful and a great make ahead item.

      My dad and brother both fancy themselves pit masters, so they make fabulous smoked pulled pork.  It is super flavorful, tender and yummy.

      Not all of us have the capability or time to do pork that way though.  So we work with what we have.

     For me that is a collection of fabulous enameled dutch ovens, instant pots and slow cookers.  Luckily all of these are great options for making pulled pork as well!

     Lets learn the basics to making great pulled pork and then I will share some of my favorite recipes!

What cut of meat is best for pulled pork?

     You can make pulled pork out of a variety of cuts, but the best is the pork shoulder.  You will see these in the grocery store listed as the shoulder, pork butt, boston butt, or picnic roast.

      This cut of meat has great marbling and connective tissue which give it great flavor and texture.  Plus it pulls easily once it reaches an internal temperature of 195 F. 

      The only downside to using the shoulder for pulled pork for indoor pulled pork is that fat content results in a lot of grease. Because you are trapping the juices in a pot of some sort, all of that fat will still be there once the meat is cooked.

        I just remove any remaining fat I come across while pulling the meat.  I also use a fat separator to remove the extra grease from the drippings.  

       That way you get all the great flavor and texture you want in pulled pork without too much grease.  It really is the best cut for pulling.

      In theory, you could pull almost any cut of pork.  I have seen people pull slow cooked pork loin.

       The issue is those cuts are more lean and have less connective tissue. So they don't pull in the same way and are more likely to get dried out.

       I love pork loin and tenderloin, but tend to reserve them for other applications.  The shoulder really is the best cut for pulling. 

Making Pulled Pork in the Oven

Braising pork is a great way to cook it.  You can add a ton of flavor and it makes the house smell cozy and warm all day long.

I like using a large enameled cast iron dutch oven for braising pork shoulder.  However you could use a big roasting pan and aluminum foil to do a similar job.

balsamic and rosemary braised pulled pork served over mashed potatoes with peas

Balsamic rosemary braised pork butt is comfort food at it's finest.  It is a great way to serve pulled pork that isn't even trying to pretend to be BBQ.

We love serving it over mashed potatoes for a super cozy meal.  It would also be great as a sandwich, over rice or with egg noodles as well.

If you are looking for a more traditional BBQ style pulled pork, my indoor pulled pork recipe is fabulous.  It is braised in beer and seasoning and is perfect piled on a Hawaiian roll! 

tortilla topped with beer braised carnitas, avocado slices, cheese and cilantro

Maybe tortillas are calling your name more than buns.  In that case, you can do something similar to the indoor pulled pork but with different seasonings and end up with my twist on pork carnitas

Making Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker

Slow cookers are a fabulous set it and forget it way to make pulled pork.  They keep the moisture in, the meat tender and they are a worry free way to get dinner ready.

hula pork sliders with roasted five spice veggies

Hula pulled pork has wonderful flavors from soy sauce, ginger and more.  After it is cooked, you make a simple twist on a BBQ sauce using ketchup, a bit of sriracha and more.

It is an easy and fun twist that brings a bit of the Pacific to the dinner table.  As written, the recipe is mild and delicious. Of course you could ratchet up the spice if you wanted to!  

slow cooker apple cider pulled pork served on mashed potatoes with cooked carrot slices on the side

Apple cider pulled pork is perfect for fall.  Flavored with apple cider, mustard, apple cider vinegar and more, the results are tender and tasty.

The house smells absolutely amazing while it cooks and your mouth will be watering with anticipation.  We love it served on potatoes or pasta, but have even served it on savory apple cider waffles for an extra special treat! 

For another fruity and tropical twist, there is always slow cooker pineapple pulled pork! With soy sauce, honey, pineapple, ginger and more it is a flavorful way to change your pulled pork routine. 

Making Pulled Pork in the Instant Pot

Of course pressure cooking makes getting pork to the pulling stage even faster.  You do want to be careful to let the pressure release naturally for a while before opening the lid.

The boiling water under the layer of grease can make for a bad situation if you don't give it a chance to calm down a bit first.  That being said, as long as you are aware cooking pulled pork in an instant pot is a great way to get it done quickly.

root beer pulled pork sandwich and macaroni and cheese on plate in front of instant pot

My root beer pulled pork in the instant pot is another fun twist.  The root beer makes a great cooking liquid and adds flavor and that hint of sweet. 

Now that we have gone through some of the basics of making pulled pork inside, which recipe are you going to try first? Do you have a favorite pulled pork recipe? I'd love to hear all about it! 

1 comment:

  1. These all sound delicious. I just love pulled pork, you can't go wrong! I am going to have to try your Balsamic and Rosemary recipe. That sounds so good!


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