Monday, October 18, 2010

Crack Open the Crock Pot

Slow-cooking season is finally upon us. I love, love, love autumn, and one of the things I love about it is the legitimate use of crock pots. Don’t get me wrong—I use mine all year round. But I feel kind of wrong about it in the summer when my backyard is basically a slow cooker of it’s own. However, when the temps start to hover in the 50’s and 60’s during the day and I know for sure that autumn is here and not just visiting, I love to get the crock pot out and heat up the kitchen with the smells of slowly-simmering soups, stews, and roasts.

I’m also one of those people who hates using temperature controls in my home. I’m happy to swelter in the blistering heat of my living room if I know I’m saving a few bucks on the electricity bill. My husband, however, is quite the opposite. He just wants to be cool or warm, depending on the season, and he has no problem letting the electric company assist him in that quest. So I love the fact that the heat from a toasty warm crockpot keeps my kitchen cozy without having to run the full-blown heater.

Today’s recipe is one of my all-star slow-cooker recipes and it’s become quite a favorite among our friends and family. These pulled pork sandwiches make me forget my convictions about meat consumption everytime; before the word “vegetarian” can even escape my lips, I’ve already eaten half a sandwich and can’t wait to wrap my mouth around the other half. Wrong, I know, but oh, so, right…

Mai’s Slow-cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches

2/3 c. onion, finely chopped
½ c. ketchup
¼ c. cider vinegar
½ c. brown sugar
1, 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 tbsp. sweet paprika
1 tbsp. smoked paprika (Besides the pork, this is the most important ingredient of the whole recipe—you simply have to have this or it’s not even worth making. It’s an easy spice to find; most grocery stores carry it these days.)
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. Yellow mustard
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
4 lbs. fresh pork (You can take two different avenues here. If you want something a bit healthier, go ahead and use pork loin. If you don’t mind the extra fat, use a pork shoulder roast, with or without the bone-it depends on whether you want to mess around with bone when you’re shredding the meat.)
12 Kaiser rolls (If you don’t use Kaisers, then at the very least, don’t pick up an 8 pack of those wimpy hamburger buns you are accustomed to buying. They simply won’t cut it. This is a hummer of a sandwich that requires a full-time bun to hold in the all the meat and juices.)

In a 4 or 6 quart crock pot, mix together all the ingredients except the pork. Then add your pork and turn it over in the sauce just to make sure it’s nice and coated. Set the crock pot to low for about 8 hours and get on with your day.

Once you near the 8 hour mark, check on the meat to see if it’s nice and tender. Remove the pork from the crock pot, place on a big plate or cutting board and begin shredding it. Add the shredded pork back to the sauce, give it a good stir, and you are ready to roll (that’s a pun in case you didn’t notice).

Personally, my favorite way to eat this sandwich is with a big ole’ spoonful of coleslaw on top of the pork; my husband can’t think of a better way to ruin a sandwich. I’ll leave that one up to you.


  1. Love love love love pulled pork sandwiches! Charlie will be psyched to try this new version!

  2. Hope Charlie enjoys them--please let me know the verdict!

  3. I made these on Friday night, and they were SO GOOD!!! Terry was pretty impressed that I had made them! Thanks for the recipe!