Freezer Nesting: Pulled Pork

“Meanie!” shouted the subject line of the email from my husband that afternoon.

His note continued: “I just walked in the house. That’s crock-pot-evil, I tell you.”

You see, he’s usually home about a half-hour before I am at the end of the workday. And any sort of empty stomach he carried home was, shall we say, provoked into even more crankiness by the aromas wafting through the air. Hence the nastygram.

Now it’s not like he was unaware I was going to have a crock pot cooking throughout the day while we were at work. He saw the early stages of the process before he left for his office that morning. And he knew we wouldn’t be eating any of it for dinner that evening. But still…

Pulled pork may be one of his favorite homemade hot sandwiches. The tender shreds of meat tossed with sweet and tangy spices from a dry rub and barbeque sauce, stuffed inside some impossibly starchy sandwich bun is a quick and easy weeknight meal. That’s why I knew it would be a great addition to the freezer roster for post-partum meals.

Beginner’s Pulled Pork

(From America’s Test Kitchen’s Slow Cooker Revolution)

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, plus extra as needed
  • 1/4 cup sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 (5-pound) boneless pork butt roast, trimmed and quartered
  • 1 cup barbeque sauce, plus extra for serving
  • Cider vinegar

Combine sugar paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in bowl. IMG_1463

Using fork, prick pork all over. Rub sugar mixture over pork, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours. Unwrap pork and place in slow cooker.IMG_1465

Spread barbeque sauce evenly over pork, cover, and cook until pork is tender, 9 to 11 hours on low or 5 to 7 hours on high.IMG_1466IMG_1467

Transfer pork to large bowl, let cool slightly, then shred into bite-size pieces, discarding excess fat. IMG_1468IMG_1469

Let braising liquid settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat from surface using a large spoon. Season with salt, pepper, sugar, and vinegar to taste.

Toss shredded pork with 1 cup braising liquid; add more liquid as needed to keep meat moist. Serve with barbeque sauce.

IMG_1471

For freezing this recipe, I did add the braising liquid. Then I divvied up the pork into 1-pound packages, and vacuum sealed them for freezing. This yielded three packages, which should be more than enough for an evening meal and perhaps a leftover sandwich or two in the following days. To serve them up, it’s a simple matter of thawing in the fridge, reheating in a microwave-safe bowl, and serving up the sandwich fixings: buns, barbeque sauce, and if we’re feeling a little decadent, maybe topping that with a dollop of coleslaw…

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