Slow Cooker Barbecue Pulled Pork with Potatoes
- 1 1/2 Tbs. oil
- 3 medium onions, finely chopped
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbs. chili powder
- 1 C. ketchup
- 1/2 C. bottled chili sauce, such as Heinz
- 1/4 C. plus 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
- 1/4 C. packed dark brown sugar
- 2 Tbs. unsulphured molasses
- 2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp. liquid smoke
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 2 lb. baking potatoes, preferably russets, scrubbed
- 1 3 1/2 to 4 lb. boneless pork shoulder
- Corn tortillas or hamburger buns
- Pickle relish, for garnish (optional)
To make the sauce, heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Swirl in the oil; then add the onions and cook, stirring often, until soft and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and chili powder and cook for 30 seconds; then stir in the ketchup, chili sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside while you prepare the potatoes and pork.
Peel the potatoes and shred them, using the large holes of a box grater or a food processor fitted with a shredding blade. Working in small batches, squeeze the potatoes over the sink to get rid of any excess moisture, then place them in a 4 1/2-quart (or larger) slow-cooker.
Pour the prepared sauce over the potatoes and mix well with a wooden spoon. Make a shallow well in the center and place the pork shoulder in it. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours, or until the pork is tender.
Remove the meat from the slow cooker and shred it, using a large meat fork, rather than a knife. If desired, skim any visible fat from the mixture in the slow cooker; then return the shredded meat to the sauce. Stir well, then cook on low for 30 minutes. Serve immediately with corn tortillas, or on hamburger buns with sweet pickle relish.
Chinese Pulled Pork: Omit the chili sauce. Add 1/2 C. hoisin sauce and 1 Tbs. five-spice powder with the ketchup.
Extra Spicy Pulled Pork: Omit the ketchup. Increase the chili sauce to 1 1/2 C.
Pulled Pork and Black Beans: Add one 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed, to the sauce along with the meat for the final 30 minutes.
Rum Pulled Pork: Add 1/4 C. dark rum to the sauce along with the ketchup. Add 1 plantain, cut into 1-inch chunks, with the pork.
Szechwan Pulled Pork: Reduce the ketchup to 1/2 C. and add 1/2 C. hoisin sauce to the barbecue sauce. Also add 6-12 Chinese dried red chilies and 1 Tbs. Szechwan peppercorns, crushed. Peel and roughly chop 2 bananas and add them to the sauce with the meat for the last 30 minutes of cooking.
Yield: 8 servings