I've been putting a lot of thought into Pulled Pork. A lot. Probably more than the average person - or really more than ANY person puts into thinking about the other white meat. I have a tendency to be very singularly minded, as I'm sure I've said before.
Anyway, I have quite a few recipes for Pulled Pork saved. They are all kind of different, and use different spices and processes. I had wanted to do a Best of The Best series with it - and then I got to thinking.
I have come to the conclusion that a large majority of people serve Pulled Pork with a very small amount of BBQ sauce on it. This is where all the preparation and flavoring during the cook process is a necessity - because you are actually tasting the pork and the sauce is only used like one would use ketchup on a burger.
The way that I like to have Pulled Pork is with lots of BBQ sauce. Not so much that it's soupy, but well-slathered - if you understand what I mean. My other conclusion is that because of how I prefer my Pulled Pork served, there's not much sense in putting a whole lot of work into the preparation as the BBQ sauce would cover all the underlying flavours melded in the pork. But I still want it to be tender, juicy and melt in your mouth delicious!
I also have a severe hatred of fat. I hate eating steak, because just when I think I've trimmed all the excess fat from the steak, I take a bite and there I am chewing gristle. YUCK. Actually, just the thought makes my gag reflex dance around. I know, I know. Fat = flavour. But I just can't. CAN. NOT. Remember when I made Lamb Stew? I took about 45 minutes to trim the fat off each individual piece after it was cooked. I know that if I use a shoulder roast or whatever, it would be much cheaper and possibly more flavourful than using a tenderloin, but the fat freaks me out. A lot.
And I had such fantastic results using the tenderloin - why bother with anything else.
I thought I would try a different approach to prepping the tenderloin in the slow cooker. Same kind of cooking instructions - but using beef broth, a little coffee, and a tiny bit of liquid smoke. Then I would try out a couple of different kinds of BBQ sauce and see how it went in comparison to the Root Beer Pulled Pork that I recently made. Since it's still pretty fresh in my mind.
It actually smelled pretty good while it was cooking.
A forewarning about liquid smoke. It is STRONG stuff. And it gets on EVERYTHING. I should have used a paper towel to wash the tablespoon, and used a paper towel to wipe the drip off the counter. Phew!
Because I had two tenderloins, I decided to do two different sauces. I did Kraft Original and Sweet Baby Ray's. I really like the Kraft Original, but had never tried Sweet Baby Ray's.
The first time I made pulled pork I bought my sauce from Sobey's. They had an INCREDIBLE selection of sauces. And I saw a maple flavoured BBQ sauce that I desperately wanted to try, but I figured I'd try it next time. But I was really disappointed when I saw Superstore's selection of sauces and they didn't have nearly as good of a selection. I was actually really surprised.
I guess I'll just see if I can find any next time at a different store.
Now, you'll ask why I didn't just run to another store and get some? You'll have to look at another post to find out what happened with my car (and everything else) and why I was totally terrified to drive around.
Once the meat fell apart easily (6 hours was plenty of time), I took both pieces of tenderloin out of the slow cooker and shredded them. Mixed in the sauces and portioned on buns.
I like to use the D'Italiano Crustini buns. They are big and soft and yummy and, in my opinion, they are perfect for pulled pork.
I did run into a situation after the pork was taken out of the slow cooker, shredded, and had the BBQ sauce added. The pork had cooled off enough to actually be cold. If I had been doing only one flavour of BBQ sauce, I would have just thrown the pork back into the slow cooker and warmed it back up in there. But since I was doing two flavours of sauce, I preheated the oven to 300 degrees and threw the pork in for about 20 minutes until it was warmed back up.
And it was perfect. Tender, moist, and juicy. I really liked the Sweet Baby Ray's sauce.
So - I can't decide between the "root beer method" or the "beef broth method". I guess it doesn't really matter. Just as I'd thought, I couldn't tell what it'd been cooked in.
Either way - it's still delicious!
Here are the details from today's recipe.
2 lbs pork tenderloin
14 oz beef broth
1/4 cup brewed coffee
1 tbsp liquid smoke
Your favorite BBQ sauce
Combine all in slow cooker. Cook on low setting for 6-7 hours or until meat shreds easily. Shred with two forks and add favorite BBQ sauce. Serve on buns.
This is the Cane Girl - signing off.