When many think of using a crock pot to create a delicious meal, the first food that comes to their mind is usually pork. It is incredibly easy to place the pork in the crock pot, add some liquid over it, set the heat, and dig in hours later. While this produces some delicious meals, many are often looking for the next recipe and wondering, “How do I perfectly cook pork in a crock pot?” The answer to that depends on what you are trying to make. Most recipes involving pork are either pulled pork or carnitas. Also, pork chops can also be cooked in a crock pot, though they are not as popular compared to other pork recipes. No matter what recipe you choose, all are mouthwatering.
Whether you choose to have pulled pork or carnitas, both are excellent choices and are very similar in cooking styles. In fact, carnitas have been called, “Mexican pulled pork.” While pulled pork is often heavy on the barbeque sauce, carnitas often use cumin, oregano, chili powder, and citrus fruit juices to give it a flavor reminiscent of spicy tacos and burritos. No matter your recipe choice, they both begin the same. Pick a nice, fatty pork shoulder. It is important to pick a pork shoulder over any other cut of pork. The connective tissue, while tough at the start of cooking, will break down over time and give you deliciously tender meat. Next, be sure you sear the pork shoulder. Turn on your stove top to high heat, grab a skillet, and pour some oil in it. Once the oil is hot, salt and pepper every side of your pork shoulder. Using tongs, sear the meat on each side until it develops a nice, brown crust. While some may claim this step is not necessary, it gives the pork layers of flavor that would otherwise be impossible to achieve using just a crock pot.
For pulled pork, one of the most popular choices to to place the pork shoulder in the crock pot, often on a bed of onions, if desired. Next, grab two cans of Dr. Pepper or any other dark soda. Dark sodas contain caramelized sugar and a flavors that are reminiscent of spices, adding amazing flavor to your pulled pork. Be sure not to use diet soda! While Dr. Pepper is easily the most popular soda used, any will work, but will give you slightly different flavors.