Crockpot recipes are hard to mess up. You dump ingredients into a big, hot bowl and press “on.” Don’t get me wrong – there are many bad slow cooker recipes on the web, but messing up a great slow cooker recipe is very difficult.
I’ve found this theory to be true for every recipe except one – pulled pork. Which, by the way, happens to be one of my family’s all-time favorite recipes to make in the crockpot. It’s one of the few meals that tastes better in the slower cooker than cooked any other way!
The first time I made a highly recommended pulled pork recipe, it was such a chewy, un-pulled-pork disaster, we had to order pizza.
Pork is tricky because even though it’s considered a white meat like chicken (the other white meat), you need to cook pulled pork like beef. Pulled pork (made with a fattier cut than loin) spends the first half in the crockpot cooking and then, it spends the rest of the crock pot time breaking down.
Here is the cooking cycle of pulled pork:
Starting: Raw -> -> -> Middle: Cooked -> -> -> End: Breaks down to be “pulled pork”
So, if you check it at 4 to 5 hours it will look done – even cooked through the middle – but it will be hard and chewy.
At that point, your pork still needs to cook another 4 to 5 hours – yes, hours – to breakdown into delicious, mouth-watering pulled pork! The secret is to cook LONGER than you think!
When I was slow cooking my first pork recipe, my husband saw the meat at five hours (like pictured above) and said, “Take it out! It will overcook!” He too was thinking of chicken – once it’s cooked, it’s cooked! It doesn’t get better with time.
So, my advice is to WAIT. Wait until the pork is so cooked that it literally falls into shreds as you are removing it from the crock pot. It should almost “pull” itself.
Here are my favorite pulled pork recipes:
- 100 Days of Real Food “The Best Pulled Pork in a Crockpot”
- (The EASIEST – pictured above) Pork Butt + BBQ Sauce
Do you have a good pulled pork recipe for the crockpot?