Friday, August 3, 2012

An Easy Pulled Pork

Prior to living in Nashville for four years (while I got my education here), I wasn't really a big barbecue person. And by "wasn't a big" I mean "didn't eat at all". My brother could scarf down a full rack of baby back ribs while I would sit next to him chowing down on two baked potatoes (what can I say, I'm Irish!)

Enter Nashville. Enter downtown Nashville, with its Nash trash with a combined total of 10 teeth (between eight people mind you). Enter slow talking, quick eating Nashvillians. Enter honky tonks (these being the absolute best: Tootsie's, Paradise Park Trailer Resort, Cadillac Ranch and the ever popular Wild Horse Saloon), with country covers of Led Zeppelin and Bruce Springsteen. Enter cowboy boots and cowboy hats (I now own nine pairs of boots and have two hats). 

But most importantly, enter Jack's

Oh my god, enter Jack's. The barbecue that changed my life. Jack's is located in downtown Nashville and consistently has a line out the door and sometimes around the corner. It is so famous it sells its own barbecue sauces and rubs and memorabilia. When eating in, numerous sauces, based on famous barbecue from around the sauce, are available to pour on your brisket, pork shoulder, ribs, texas sausage, turkey and smoked chicken. I would always go and get a combo plate--ribs, pork shoulder and smoked chicken. Add two "vegetable" sides (by vegetable they mean baked beans, cole slaw, potato chips, potato salad, green bean casserole, etc. I guess some of those were originally veggies, but when Jack's is done with them, they don't resemble any vegetable I've ever seen.)

Because of Jack's, I perfected a perfect pulled pork...that has only a handful of ingredients. Sure, you can make your own barbecue sauce (I don't) and your own rub (I don't) and I bet it would taste a bit better. But is a "bit" better worth all that time? Not to me. Instead, I plop these ingredients in a slow cooker, turn it on low and come back 8 hours later to pull it, add bbq sauce, and stick it in the fridge. Yes, friends, it is just that easy.

Easy Pulled Pork


Pork shoulder (skin on, if possible--it keeps the meat super tender)
4 cans root beer (I prefer the oldschool kind that comes in a bottle)
Chili powder
Barbecue sauce


1. Combine salt, pepper and chili powder in a small bowl. Rub this mixture on your pork shoulder if you bought it without skin. If not, skip to step two.

2. Place your pork shoulder in your slow cooker. Pour the root beer over the meat. If you pork is skin-on, add salt, pepper and chili powder to the rootbeer. Turn your slow cooker on low, put the lid on, and walk away.

3. After six hours, check your meat. If the skin is on, it should be separating from the meat slightly. If not, test with a fork--the meat should literally fall off as soon as touched (LITERALLY--don't pull). If it doesn't, put the lid back on and walk away again.

This, my darling readers, is what fully cooked pork for pulled pork should look like when its finished. That messed up looking section is where the tongs held it to pull it out of the slow cooker. See that damage? That means it is perfect and ready to pull.

4. Pull your pork. Hold a fork in each hand, take a piece of pork off the bone, and shred by pulling the two forks apart. The meat should flake into pieces.

5. Once every piece is pulled, place in a large bowl. Mix in barbecue sauce to taste. If you are storing in the fridge, as opposed to immediately eating, I recommend holding back a bit on the sauce--then, when you are heating it up, put a bit more in the bowl and stir once warm. YUM!

That's it, my lovely readers. It's not the same as Jack's, but for someone who was displaced from one of the barbecue capitals of the world (is Nashville a bbq capital? I feel like I just made that up), it sure does taste good. Enjoy!

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