- This super easy slow cooker pulled pork recipe is so delicious you’ll dream of it for weeks afterward. -
This summer, I was very excited to be invited to attend the BlogHer Food conference in Austin, Texas, by one of my very favorite organizations: the National Pork Board. I’ve been working with them a lot this year, developing some really awesome recipes and just having a great time in general. I’m a huge pork fan, so when they asked me to come help out at one of their events, I jumped at the chance! And I was so inspired by all the amazing barbecue I ate during my weekend in Austin that I developed a slow cooker pulled pork recipe, which you’ll find at the very end of this post.
The National Pork Board was a major sponsor for BlogHer Food this year, and as a part of the Pork 5 crew, my job was to spread the word about the new pork cut names to this very savvy group of food bloggers. The big event was an offsite lunchtime excursion, where our motley crew enjoyed something SO very ensconced in Austin’s culture: a bbq food cart. The National Pork Board took over Chef Paul Qui/East Side King’s food truck, @TheGrackle, where we all enjoyed a free lunch. Chef Qui created five amazing recipes with the new pork cut names, a few of which I’m share with you over the coming weeks. Just take a look at this deliciousness:
The lunch event was so much fun. Everyone had to collect stamps by completing different activities, all having to do with the new pork cut names and the FDA’s updated guidelines stating that you can now safely cook pork to just 145 degrees F. Anyone earning four out of eight stamps was entered to win a “Pork Passion Pursuit,” which amounted to $2,000 towards one of three different prizes. The lucky winner was Sara Tretrault of Go Gingham, who used her winnings to trick out her kitchen with new appliances. Congrats, Sara!
- Look at that line! Everyone was really excited to try the new dishes. -
And what was I doing during this lunchtime food truck frenzy? I was a ”point of interest,” which meant that I had my picture taken and posted to Twitter many times under the #PorkPassport hashtag. And OMG, look at these hilarious photos. Can you tell it was HOT in Austin that day? I had an awesome time, just hanging out and meeting everyone. And since it was 95F and 80% humidity that day, there was a lot of running for shade and digging in the cooler for cold bottles of water.
After the great #porkpassport event, the lovely ladies at The National Pork Board filmed a brief interview with me and a bunch of others during lunch. We dished about the new pork cut names and how much we love cooking with this particular protein. It was a lot of fun!
I had such a great time in Austin, and of course I spent most of my time eating everything I could get my hands on. I ate so much barbecue that I swear I smelled like liquid smoke for a week afterwards. Once I got home from my summer travels, I was inspired to develop a pulled pork sandwich recipe of my own, which is something I’d never made before. Funny how you can eat something a hundred time but never think to make it yourself? It was time I remedied that.
After testing four or five recipes, I came up with one I fell in love with. It’s got a funny ingredient that I never would have thought to cook with before: root beer. But wow, it gives this slow cooker pulled pork recipe a certain sweetness that just isn’t possible with anything but good, old-fashioned sugar. A few other ingredients round out this dish, but really, the root beer is what makes it!
- 1 pork shoulder roast, about two pounds
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 1 can of root beer
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
- 2 cups barbecue sauce – I prefer a spicy-sweet Carolina-style sauce
- 6 crusty dinner rolls, split into sandwich rolls
- In a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat, sear the pork roast well on all sides. Transfer the pork roast to the slow cooker and return the pan to the stove.
- Lower the burner to medium and add shallots, sautéing until gently browned. Transfer the shallots to the slow cooker and again return the pan to the stove.
- Pour root beer into the pan and deglaze, scraping up all the lovely cooked pork bits on the bottom. Let cook for 2 minutes, scraping the bottom occasionally.
- Pour the root beer over the pork in the slow cooker. Add honey, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Stir well. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours.
- After the pork has cooked for 7 hours, drain off any excess liquid and shred the meat into small bits with two forks. Add the barbecue sauce to the pork and stir well. Cover the slow cooker and cook for 1 more hour.
- Add more salt and pepper to taste. Split the buns in half and fill with pork. Serve immediately.
What’s the National Pork Board working on now?
This summer, pork will give you the best bang for your buck this grilling season. Each Monday through July, they’ll share the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) weekly price comparisons to help you find versatile meals that won’t break the bank. Each week, you’ll see how the national average price for pork chops and their steak counter-parts compare, along with an easy look at the savings you’ll get by picking pork. So be sure to check-back frequently and try a new recipe each week!
This post was sponsored by the National Pork Board. Love them, love pork!