Barbecue, for me, is all about the pulled pork. To be more specific, it’s all about the pulled pork at Dinosaur Barbecue (read more about that obsession here), and I’ve been on a quest to find a comparable barbecue joint ever since moving to Boston (suggestions welcome). I haven’t found one yet, so when I recently bought a slow cooker, I knew pulled pork was first on the list.
I’m not one for excess kitchen appliances and tools; I recently sold my juicer, threw out my coffee machine and got rid of my pancake batter dispenser (yes, we had one of those). But a slow cooker has been on my wish list forever and when I saw a brand new one for $5.99 at Goodwill down the street, I bought it and immediately set out to find pastured pork shoulder.
The spice rub recipe below is my attempt to recreate a legendary spice rub that Josh’s friend perfected before he passed away. In our spice cabinet we have a bag of the original stuff, hesitant to ever use it. While my version is not an exact replica, it comes pretty damn close – and pretty damn close is pretty damn good. Enjoy with our Dinosaur Barbecue inspired vegan, gluten-free cornbread.
Be sure to check out our reasons for buying high quality meat here.
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar (or coconut sugar for paleo)
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 lbs pastured pork shoulder (boneless or bone-in)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1½ cups of stock (beef, chicken or vegetable)
- 1 tablespoon natural liquid smoke (optional)
- 1 cup barbecue sauce (optional)
- Mix sugar, paprika, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
- Pat dry the pork, remove butcher strings and trim any excess fat.
- Rub pork on all sides with spice mixture until well covered.
- Heat olive oil in a pan over medium high heat.
- Sear pork in olive oil, about 2-3 minutes per side or until a dark, rich crust is formed.
- Remove pork from pan and place in crock pot.
- Add stock, onion and garlic to the pan, scraping up any brown bits from the pork, and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Add stock, onion and garlic mixture to pork in slow cooker and cook on high 6-8 hours or low 8-10 hours.
- Remove pork from liquid and place on cutting board, discarding the bone if necessary.
- Strain the onion and garlic solids from the liquid and return solids to slow cooker; set liquid aside.
- Using two forks, shred the pork into small pieces, discarding large pieces of fat, and return to slow cooker with the onion and garlic solids.
- If using barbecue sauce, add it ¼ cup at a time to your liking. If not using barbecue sauce, add reserved cooking liquid ¼ cup at a time until pork is just moistened.