Easy Pulled Pork for Busy People (no oven required)

For many people, summer is the time to kick back, relax, and maybe get a few projects done around the house. But for me, summer is always the busiest time of year.

Summer means more animals: since our chickens are pasture-raised, we raise them between April and October, when it’s warm enough for them to live outdoors full-time. By July we have several batches of chickens going at once–one or two hundred on pasture and a hundred in the brooder, all of which need fresh feed and water at least once a day. Add to that our usual regimen of a couple dozen pigs and sheep, and things get a little busy around here.

On top of that, summer is the busy season for my day job. I work as a writer for a nonprofit organization, and it seems the busiest farm days coincide with the most stressful deadlines.

Did I mention that we did our second CSA pick up on the same day my parents-in-law arrived for a visit? Or that watering the vegetable garden has become another full-time job due to the drought?

This is all to say that I don’t have a lot of extra time on my hands. So when I learned that I had a few hours to spare on Friday evening, and could spend them visiting my dear friend Rachel, who just had her first baby, I was overjoyed.

What to make for the new parents, based on my hectic schedule? Believe it or not–pulled pork!

Adam made this dish for my birthday a couple months ago, and we had extra sauce in the freezer. So I just thawed a roast and dropped it in the slow-cooker Thursday night. I poured a cup of sauce on top and set the crockpot to “low.” And then I went to bed.

Friday morning I woke up to a deliciously sweet aroma. The pork was so succulent I easily shredded it with a fork in about 2 minutes. So after work all I needed to do was grab the crockpot, a little extra sauce, a bag of fresh greens, and a half a cantaloupe–and I spent the evening relaxing and holding a newborn baby! Of course I did take a few minutes to eat a melt-in-your mouth pork sandwich, then left the leftovers with the new parents.

Here is a recipe for a sauce we use, but if you have a bottled variety you like, that would be even simpler.

(And to our CSA customers–the pork shoulder roast you got in your CSA this month is perfect for pulled pork.)

Black Jack Barbecue Sauce (also recommended for BBQ Chicken)

2 T vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
2 T minced garlic
1/4 cup chili powder
2 T minced jalapeno, or to taste
1 cup tomato paste
1 cup brewed coffee
1 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup apple cider or apple juice

Heat oil in heavy saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic in oil until translucent. Add chili powder and jalapeno, and saute one minute. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients and simmer for 10 or 15 minutes.

More good news for those who like to easy suppers: this sauce can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to one month–or in our case, we froze it for 2 months and it was still good. (Thanks to The Culinary Institute of America for this recipe, which we got from CIA’s book Grilling.)


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