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Hard Cider Pulled Pork



It’s slow cooker season. My favorite time of year. It means a kitchen smelling wonderful all day. I also generally means falling apart meats. In this instance, it means pulled pork. 

The last recipe I posted on this website about pulled pork was in 2017 ( http://www.watershipdownkitchen.com/2017/11/bbq-pulled-pork.html ). This recipe is very similar- mainly minor tweaks, except for the big change of hard cider instead of chicken stock and a final broiling of the meat. The final broil adds that extra char-y goodness. It brings us a step closer to being as good as making pulled pork the authentic, slow-smoked way.The hard cider pairs really well with the apple cider vinegar and gives a sweet, tangy note to the park.

I was remiss last time not to give a coleslaw recipe, which I have rectified here. It’s simple, quick and delicious, and adds a much needed crunchy texture and freshness. Simply add toasted buttered buns and pile that meat high with the tangy coleslaw and you have a sandwich of champions. I always add bread a butter pickles to mine for a final sweet crunch. Enjoy! 


Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 7 pound pork shoulder
16 ounces hard cider
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoon of granulated garlic
2 tablespoons of granulated onion
2 tablespoons of smoked paprika
1 tablespoon of cumin 
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon of dry mustard powder
2 teaspoons of cayenne powder
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
6 tablespoons of brown sugar
freshly cracked black pepper
3 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
4 sweet onions, sliced pole to pole (with the grain)
4 garlic cloves, smashed
2 to 3 cups of homemade or store-bought BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Rays!)
Coleslaw:
1/4 cup homemade or store-bought mayo
1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 carrot, shredded
Salt and pepper, to taste



Method:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayo, apple cider vinegar, and mustard. Add the cabbage and carrot and toss to coat. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cover and refrigerate until ready for the pulled pork.

In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, onion, paprika, chili powder, cumin, coriander, mustard powder, cayenne powder, brown sugar, salt and black pepper.Rub this dry mixture all over the pork shoulder, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight.

The next day, place a large skillet over medium high heat,  and add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Sear the pork shoulder on all sides until browned; about 3 to 4 minutes a side. Remove the meat to the slow cooker; deglaze the pan with the hard cider, making sure to scrape up the fond.

Place the pork, pan drippings, hard cider, vinegar, sliced onion and garlic into a slow cooker set to low for 10 hours. Pour the contents of the slow cook through a strainer, reserving the liquid. Shred the meat, removing large chunks of fat. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Mix together the bbq sauce, meat, onions, garlic and reserved liquid, if needed. Place in a baking dish and put in the oven for 15-30 minutes to heat through. For the last 5 minutes, switch the oven to broil to lightly char some of the meat. 


Serve with toasted, buttered buns, and coleslaw (a much needed crunch). Enjoy!


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