By Kathleen Neafsey
I love BBQ! I have a few favorite barbecue restaurants. Unfortunately, I’m not able to get to any of those as often as I’d like and that calls for improvising some pulled pork at home occasionally — while not quite the same (it’s obviously lacking in the whole smoking process), it satisfies my craving for those in between times.
My niece gave this recipe to my sister, who passed it on to me. Needless to say, it’s been tweaked with each passing, so I’ll pass along my current version of the recipe. Although this requires a slow cooker/crock pot, it can be done on the stove, but you’ll need to keep an eye on it. If you don’t already own a slow cooker, this recipe is worth going out to buy one!
The ingredients, though not lengthy, are probably things you don’t normally keep on hand, but here goes:
- One piece of extra lean pork tenderloin (Smithfield makes one that’s vacuum sealed)
- Emeril’s original essence
- One cup of cola – don’t use diet!
- One 12 ounce bottle BBQ sauce – my favorite is KW – Kitchen Wizard brand – it provides the perfect blend of flavors without being overly spicy or sweet. KW is a local brand that can be found at Met Foods, and I’m all for buying local when I can.
Remove meat from plastic packaging and rinse under cool water. Pat dry and sprinkle Emeril’s Essence on the entire piece of meat.
Pour one cup of cola into slow cooker and place meat into the cola. I’m not sure if it’s the sugar in the cola helps to break down and tenderize the meat, which is why I said not to use diet, or the acid. Either way it will melt in your mouth. There’s a barbecue place in Bloomfield, NJ that uses root beer to marinate their ribs, so that’s an option too!
Cover and cook on HIGH for four hours or Low for six hours. If you’re home, you can check on it occasionally and turn the meat. If you’re not, it’s no big deal.
When the meat is done, place it on a cutting board and begin to shred – or pull – it. Using two forks, one to hold the meat in place and the other to pull the meat apart, start shredding! You should end up with a small mound of pork that looks something like this.
After you have emptied the cola from the slow cooker, pour in the BBQ sauce. Put the shredded pork back into the pot and stir till coated. Cover and cook on low for another hour, until the meat picks up the flavor of the sauce and it is heated throughout.
This can be served by itself, on a roll, or over rice. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can make some corn bread, (I like using Quaker’s yellow corn meal) and serve with a side of cole slaw.
I will tell you that this is the most requested dish whenever there’s a family function. In that case, I just double up on the ingredients. It’s so easy because you can put it in the slow cooker and leave it for four hours. I also like to make it a day in advance and then heat it up the next day, when the flavors are even more intense. It’s probably a good idea to keep an extra bottle of sauce on hand, heat some up and put it on the table if anyone wants some extra – and they will! It might also be wise to put some extra napkins on the table too! Enjoy!!
*I’ve also made this using chicken instead of pork, and it is equally as tasty!
Kathleen’s Kitchen is a column running on Kate-book.com once a month. It is written by the amazing Kathleen Neafsey, who loves trying new recipes. Follow her on Twitter @dbmomkat. And make sure to look out for her amazingly fun column, Fabri-Kate.