Prep Time: 30-45 minutes
What you need:
8-10 lb. Pork Shoulder (Picnic cut with bone-in is what I like best)
Here's The Rub
Mix together all rub ingredients. You can add to the rub (you can add coriander, thyme, cumin or any other flavor you
like…it’s a very forgiving recipe) but keep the above proportions
approximately same so none of the flavors are overwhelming.
Cut under the top thick layer of fat so it forms a flap (or pocket) and rub the seasoning liberally all over the meat (and under the flap) and then re-cover with the fat…that helps the flavor get into the meat and also tenderizes it as it cooks (make sure you cover all the exposed portions of the meat with the rub and get it in all the nooks and crannies). You should use a spoon to transfer the spices to the meat because you will probably have some rub left over and you don’t want to contaminate it with pork from your hands. Just cover what’s left and save it for next time (After you taste the finished product, I guarantee there will be a next time). Then wrap the spice rubbed shoulder in plastic wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator for 8-24 hours (the longer the better….I usually do the full 24).
When you’re ready to cook, slice a large onion in ¼ inch slices and line the bottom of the crockpot with it. Pour in 1/2 cup of warm water and then place the pork (fat side up) on top of the onions. Cover and set the crockpot on high for 2 hours.
After 2 hours, switch the crockpot to low and let it cook for 6-10 more hours. After about 6 hours, check the temperature of the meat. The center of the shoulder should register 195˚ (that’s the temperature that the collagen in the meat melts and is what makes the pork fall-off-the-bone tender). If it’s not there yet, cover and let cook longer.
Don’t be tempted to take the top off the crockpot until it’s time to check the temperature….every time you remove the top, it really adds to the total cooking time. What happens is usually the pork temperature plateaus at about 175˚ and stays there for awhile, and then it will rapidly rise to 195˚.
When it reaches 195˚ (it’s ok if it goes a little higher…it won’t ruin it), turn off the crockpot and take the pork and the cooked onions out (I put it all in a huge bowl). Be careful because the meat will probably fall apart as you lift it out. There will be a lot of accumulated liquid…discard it and wipe out the crockpot.
Spread the meat out as much as possible and let it sit for 30-60 minutes until is cool enough to start pulling apart. You can use a fork, but I prefer to use my hands to shred it. As you pull it apart, toss the meat pieces back into the crockpot and discard the rest (or not…see note below). When all the meat is pulled, pour about 1½ bottles of the BBQ sauce into the pot and stir it into the pork. You can add the hot sauce at this point if you want it spicier. Then let it cook on low for about 1 hour. Give it an occasional stir to redistribute the juices. That’s it…you got serious pulled pork barbeque.
When it is cooled down, I wrap serving size (4-6 oz, depending on how big you like your sandwiches)) portions in plastic wrap and then freeze them. When I want a sandwich, I just throw one in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds on high, pour on a little warmed sauce and it’s done…put it on a soft roll with some cole slaw and pig out.Note: You can throw out the big hunks of fat, but you can also put them under the broiler and crisp them up. You can then eat it as is or chop up the crisp pieces and throw them in the bbq. It adds lots of flavor and texture, but it really isn’t necessary since it’s very messy and probably will clog your arteries and cause your heart to stop beating. I also freeze the bones and use them to make stock for soup…it makes an amazing broth for split pea soup.