* NOTE: It was pointed out to me after I published this post that technically I made Pulled Beef or Pulled Meat…no pork involved at all! Somehow, that fact eluded me during the whole process of cooking this dish and writing about it…and so, where you see mentioned “Pork” let’s just say “Meat” and be done with it. I be pulling my meat instead of pulling my pork! (Yes…let the jokes begin! *grin*)
Click here for the recipe or scroll to the bottom of the post.
I got it in my head one day, after seeing a recipe in the local newspaper, that I wanted to make pulled pork*. And so, during a recent and wonderful Snow Day in which I didn’t have to go to work, I cooked instead! (Wonderful Snowday= a few snowflakes in the air + media hype)
I had no idea that Pulled Pork* was going to challenge the very foundation of my inner cook!
I had to alter the recipe quite a bit as I was missing certain ingredients and there was no way I was going to go out in the wee blizzard to hit the grocery store-…………..
Yup, you read that right! I am as shocked as you are! I had to ALTER a recipe! Not only didn’t I have all the ingredients I needed, but I only had two-thirds of the meat called for in the recipe!!!
My inner Capricorn…that Capricorn cook who requires measurements and specific instructions…reacted as would any irrational, anal retentive cook would…she panicked…..
and then…she contacted friends for moral support!
I chatted with one of my friends online about the ingredients I had and what I could substitute. (Still looking for that cooking confidence! Anyone have any extra? *grin*)
So, we texted back and forth and the conversation looked something like this…notice the actual meaning behind the words in brackets *wink*
Me: So for the first time ever, I have no apples : S (“OMIGOD I HAVE NO APPLES!!!!”)
Steph: Applesauce? (“Chill…here’s an option. Applesauce.”)
Me: Yup, unsweetened (“Um….but applesauce ISN”T apples. The recipe calls for APPLES!!! Noooooo!”)
Steph: You could use some of that instead (“It’ll work. No worries.”)
Me: Ok, I was going to ask that 🙂 .Had to buy two little eye of round roasts, they didn’t have anything else…and bbq sauce instead of chili sauce…Oh, aaaand I have no tomato paste!…Have 3 kinds of bbq sauce though. (“Really? You sure? But the recipe calls for all these things I don’t have!!! Maybe I should just make Kraft Dinner. *sigh*”)
Steph: Should be ok, just not as thick. It will be really saucy, so you’ll have to remove the pork after its done cooking, and then serve the sauce separately. (“It’ll work, Dude. It’ll work.”)
Me: Hmmm…it doesn’t look that bad out…maybe I should brave the corner store (“CAN’T DO IT! Must.Go.To.Store. Must.Follow.Recipe.”)
Steph: I think it would still be ok with what you’ve got (“Screw the recipe!-….Are you hyperventilating? Breathe. Good. Now repeat after me, I DO NOT need to follow the recipe exactly.”)
Me: Ok, thanks! (*shudder*”I-…. do not need to follow the recipe.”)
Steph: You won’t need to add all the sugar because the bbq sauce is already sweet. I would omit the honey and half the sugar. (“Awesome! Again!”)
Me: Okay, plus I need to reduce the recipe by 1/3 because my meat is less (“I DON’T NEED TO FOLLOW THE RECIPE SO EXACTLY! WOOT! You’re right! I can just divide it into two-thirds!!! I’ll use 1.3 cups of applesauce…Oh! And 2/9 cup of mustard! It’ll work! It’ll really work!”)
Steph: That’s fine, you’ll reduce the cooking time too to about 4 hours (*sigh*)
Me: Ok, thanks! (“WHEEEE! And 1.3 cups of onions and 0.6745 cloves of garlic and-…..”)
Steph: Good luck! (“I’m going now….. Away….. Far away.”)
NOTE: Thanks Steph for all your help!!
So…I had to alter the recipe. Yeah, I’m pretty hung up on details and having recipes BUT I’m also learning that sometimes, the best recipes are the ones that you find yourself having to alter. You add one item that isn’t called for…you mix up two ingredients and add more of one than the other….Suddenly, there you are with your first homemade recipe with its very own top-secret ingredient!!
That didn’t necessarily happen in this case…that I know of…and either way, I’m sharing it with you here so it won’t be a secret for long!
QUICK NOTE ABOUT THE RECIPE: The above online bracketed conversation was written in jest of course…BUT you WILL find my recipe divided into two-thirds. That part wasn’t made up. *grin* For those of you who wish to try out the recipe and not deal with the weirdness of my fractions…you will find the “original” recipe HERE or HERE
ON TO THE ACTUAL CREATION!
Eventually, once the panic had subsided….I began. First step? Slice up my onion and layer it in the bottom of the slow cooker.
I received a lot of advice regarding what type of roast I should purchase for the best pulled pork*. Some people suggested a shoulder, others said a rump roast would be best. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to decide when I got to the grocery store but as it was…the little independent store near my home only had eye of round roasts so I purchased two small ones. Together, they weighed just over a kilogram.
Placed them in the slow cooker on top of the onions.
This is where some of the recipe alteration began. So many people told me that apples are definitely needed and add a nice sweetness to the dish. Somehow, I overlooked buying apples…which was odd since I *always* have apples on hand…and had to problem solve. Luckily I had just enough unsweetened applesauce in the fridge so I poured that over the roasts.
Next was creating the sauce. Again, this was something I had to somewhat make up as I went along depending on what was in my fridge. Once the hyperventilating passed *wink* I chose ingredients and mixed up the sauce.
The original recipe called for:
- pork (replaced with eye of round beef)
- sweet chili sauce (replaced with bbq sauce)
- honey (deleted due to the sweetness of the bbq sauce)
- brown sugar (halved the original 1tbsp)
- grainy mustard (used regular mustard)
- tomato paste (deleted…didn’t have any)
So in addition to the above bbq sauce, mustard and brown sugar, I added chilli powder, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, and garlic. It smelled SO good! Dumped it all over the two roasts and set the slow cooker.
The original recipe called for 1.5kg of meat and 6-7 hours of cooking time on LOW in the slow cooker. Since my meat was 2/3 of that and as it was cut in two small roasts, I figured I wouldn’t need so much time.
I cooked them for just over 4 hours and then attempted to “pull” one with two forks.
No way was it ready to be “pulled”. Of course, I did what any cook would do and called a couple of friends to get their advice. Both told me to let it cook longer and that once it was truly ready, it would fall apart almost on its own.
They were right. Almost 3 hours later I tried again and I ended up with…..
It really did fall apart! I’m still glad I checked it at 4 hours. At least that way I was able to ensure that it wasn’t drying out, burning….etc. So, it pretty much pulled itself apart….and then I added the sauce from the slow cooker.
Even after all the changes to the recipe and the interruption in the cooking process…it turned out SO well! It was so yummy and tender! Definitely something I would make again that, in hindsight, was quite an easy and straightforward meal to make. I really have to start using my slow cooker more often!
And the happiest part to this whole thing: I SURVIVED THE PANIC!
Lesson Learned: “I DON’T HAVE TO FOLLOW A RECIPE EXACTLY!!!”
RECIPE – Divided into 2/3 of the original *wink*
- 2 small eye of round roasts (Mine equalled just over 1 kg)
- 1.3 cups thinly sliced onions
- 1.3 cups applesauce
- 2/3 bottle bbq sauce
- 2/9 cup of mustard
- 1 tbsp chilli powder
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- ½ tbsp brown sugar, packed
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- Place sliced onions on the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Place pork on top.
- Pour applesauce overtop and down sides completely covering the roasts.
- Sauce: In a bowl, mix together bbq sauce, mustard, chilli powder, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, paprika, garlic. Pour over meat and applesauce.
- Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
- Remove meat from slow cooker and shred with two forks pulling in opposite directions. Meat should fall apart easily. (In my case, I had to let my roasts cook a little longer before they would shred easily.)
- Add the remaining sauce in the slow cooker to the meat and serve on a bun!