Pulled pork in a slow cooker, and the secret ingredient that makes it work.

Yep. I went clickbait for this one! I am sorry, but I’m so happy with a last minute save that made the meal work, that I’m going to hide it being the read more button. I am a shameful hussy.

Anyway, pulled pork is very fashionable right now, and it seems to have turned into a competition for who can cook theirs for the longest, to make it as tender and melt as possible. For real people, with actual jobs, it’s largely impossible to find 10 hours to do this in an oven, so a slow cooker is a godsend. Prep it the night before, put it in a slow cooker in the morning, and it should be done by the time you get home.

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However, slow cooking tends to leave too much juice, and the oven cooking tends to reduce this and let the meat soak it all up. I’ve tried to take this into account here, and hope that this recipe allows you to pull your own pork (fnarr) at home.

Ingredients

Morning

600g-1kg Pork Shoulder
Some carrots, onions and garlic
400g tin chopped tomatoes
Half a bottle of good ale
1tbsp cumin
1tbsp paprika
1tbsp sugar
Salt and pepper

Evening

1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp thyme
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp chilli powder
Juice of half a lemon
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1tbsp secret mystery ingredient
Salt and pepper
1tsp cornflour

And the secret mystery ingredient is… Marmite! What you lose in a slow cooker is all that lovely burnt pan residue that seeps into the sauce, adding a sharp smoky tang. If you’ve ever been curious enough to have a spoon of pan scrapings (and I imagine my readers to be clean living, intelligent types who might not do something so odd) they taste just like Marmite!

Nb- if you’re unfortunate enough to live in a country with this lovely product, it’s a yeast extract, named for the French mussel pot, as it gets the same lovely residue. Vegemite will do, but if you can get it, Marmite is the tastier product.

Method

Mix the paprika, cumin, sugar, salt and pepper and add a dash of olive oil to make a thick paste. Rub the pork down with this and add to the slow cooker.

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Add some chopped aromatics (garlic, onion, carrots, celery). These are just for flavour, so no need to chop them well. Add the tomatoes and beer, put the lid on and cook on low for 8- 10 hours.

Go to work. Or don’t. Find something to do though, it’s a long time to stand and watch it cook.

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When it’s done, transfer the meat to a plate, and using two forks, shred the meat up. It should just fall apart, almost by force of gravity alone.

Using the pot lid, pour just the juice into a large saucepan over a high heat. Add everything else and simmer. Once it’s reduced a fair bit, add the shredded meat, and continue to reduce till it’s thick and just clings to the meat.

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Put a generous dollop of the meat into a bun, cob or any other bread based receptacle. I like a dollop of hot sauce and cheese on mine, but coleslaw, garlic mayo, or even just a bit of ketchup are all viable options.

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