Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Apple Fennel Slaw

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwich

Autumn is (almost) here! The occasional chill in the air, the shorter days - something about it all makes me crave pork and apples, a classic combination. Then last Saturday was a crazy day and I was on the move constantly. It was so nice to come home and find dinner nearly ready. My husband had starting this pork in the slow cooker that morning, and when I got home that night, it was ready to shred.

Most slow cooker versions of pulled pork involve dousing the meat in prepared BBQ sauce which can be a little bit cloyingly sweet for me. This recipe, from Fine Cooking magazine, was just about right, a great template that you could also tweak to suit your preferences. It uses jarred salsa and a few spices, with great results.

To go with the sandwiches, I whipped up a quick Apple-Fennel Slaw with apples from our tree, and loved the slight sweetness, and the fact that this recipe involves neither cabbage nor mayonnaise. It was a meal so good I just had to share.
Apple-Fennel Slaw

2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

3 tart apples

2 small heads fennel, cut into matchsticks

1 small red onion, cut in half and very thinly sliced

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Put the lemon juice in a large bowl. Cut one of the apples in half, core it, and julienne it. Put the cut apple in the bowl and toss it with the lemon juice to keep it from browning. Repeat with the other apples. Toss in all of the remaining ingredients. Let stand for at least 20 minutes at room temperature. Taste for seasoning and serve.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
1 large yellow onion, halved and sliced

3/4 cup jarred tomato salsa (medium heat)

1/3 cup plus 2 Tbs. cider vinegar

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1 Tbs. ground cumin

1 Tbs. chili powder

Kosher salt

One 4- to 4-1/2-lb. bone-in pork shoulder, trimmed

3 Tbs. tomato paste

Toasted hamburger buns, for serving

In a 4-quart slow cooker, combine the onion, salsa, 1/3 cup of the vinegar, the brown sugar, cumin, chili powder, and 1 tsp. salt. Add the pork shoulder and turn to coat. Cover the slow cooker and cook until the pork is fork-tender, 5 to 6 hours on high or 7 to 8 hours on low.

Transfer the pork to a cutting board. Using two forks, shred the pork. Discard the bone and fat. Put 1 cup of the juices and onions in a large bowl. Whisk in the tomato paste, the remaining 2 Tbs. vinegar, and 1 tsp. salt. Add the pulled pork and stir to combine. If the pork seems dry, add more juices as needed. Mound the pork on the toasted hamburger buns.


  1. Oh, dear me. I have been craving pulled pork of late. I may have to try this out!


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