For those of you who will drive miles for a good pulled pork sandwich, this recipe may well be your ticket to becoming recognized for the best pulled pork in your neighborhood.
Yield: 6-12 nice Sandwiches depending upon serving size
Prep time: Approx 1 hour (15 minutes before cooking, 45 minutes after)
Total time: About 10-11 hours (8 hours overnight in slow cooker and 2-3 hours after)
Pork Sirloin roasts (room temperature) | About 4-6 pounds
Carbonated Beverage (Cola, Ginger Ale) | One can
Liquid Smoke (Hickory) | 5-6 drops
Barbecue Sauce | Approx 16 ounces
Buns (Hamburger, Slider, Hoagies, etc.) | or any combination as desired
Rinse pork roasts, trim excess fat and place in slow cooker (crock pot).
Open can of beverage and pour over roasts in cooker, add Liquid Smoke.
Cover cooker and start cooking on Low setting.
Ignore for 8 or so hours (overnight works well).
Awaken to glorious aromas and lift roasts from cooker to large plate.
With 2 large forks, shred roasts into pieces on plates and remove any obvious gristle or fat.
Clean cooker pot, dry and place pulled pork back into pot.
Add barbecue sauce to cooker, stir, cover and cook on Low for a couple of hours.
Get out the buns and enjoy!
It is easy to increase the heat of the pork by adding a little Tabasco or cayenne to the barbecue sauce.
Choice of pork cut–Since the meat cooks slowly over 8 hours with the carbonated beverage breaking up connective tissues and fat, nearly any pork roast should produce a satisfactory end result. Two major considerations are having sufficient fat in the roast and the amount of hassle you want in removing the cooked meat from bones and gristle. Lean cuts of pork such as center-cut loin roast are dense, more difficult to pull apart and don’t seem to result in the same flavor as cuts with a fair amount of fat (ex. pork shoulder, butt roast and sirloin roast). We like using sirloin roast because it almost falls apart when taken from the cooker, there is very little debris that needs to be removed and it is relatively inexpensive. Costco has good boneless pork sirloin roast as 4 roasts per package (we use 2 of these roasts per batch of pulled pork).
The carbonated beverage breaks down the connective tissue in the pork making it easy to pull apart with a fork following 8 hours in the cooker. Choice of carbonated beverage doesn’t seem to matter much but Coca Cola or flavorful ginger ale (ex. Vernor’s) are my favorites.
Liquid Smoke (we prefer Wright’s) is very concentrated so a few drops goes a long way. It adds a lot of flavor and will have some folks thinking you spent all day cooking the pork in a smoker with hickory chunks.
Additional spicing—as good as this recipe is, add whatever else you may like
Pulled chicken (and I am going to try turkey someday) can be made using this basic recipe. Plan on a little less time to cook but more time to remove the less tasty pieces while pulling it apart.
Being a hard-core barbecue/smoker believer, I had a difficult time accepting that such a simple recipe could deliver such good pulled pork. I am not ashamed to say that we use this method often (particularly if the weather isn’t helpful) because it is so good and easy.