What's For Dinner: Maple-Bourbon Pulled Pork

Maple-Bourbon Pulled Pork || A Less Processed Life

Although as I type this I can see snowflakes flitting about outside, this weekend we're supposed to reach 45 degrees. (Heat wave!) Which can only mean one thing –  spring must be right around the corner. With the big caveat being that up here in the Northwoods, a big dump of snow in late April is not unusual.

Maple-Bourbon Pulled Pork || A Less Processed Life

All that to say that we have started looking into finding our next batch of pigs to join the farm this summer. (Is it weird to talk about raising pigs on a post about pulled pork? Not if you're into hyper-local food, I suppose.) Last year we raised three Tamworths, and this year I think we'd like to find the same breed. Let's just say they are just as tasty as they were friendly. (OK, now that's a weird sentence.) If we can find the customers (which proved to be quite easy last year), we may in the very least double our number to six pigs, although we are considering getting a full litter (8-10 pigs). I really enjoyed having the pigs around last year, and I definitely shed a tear or two when D drove off with them in the back of the trailer last October. But it was a bittersweet moment, as it's also super important to me to know exactly where the meat I'm eating came from, and you can't get any more local than your own backyard.

Maple-Bourbon Pulled Pork || A Less Processed Life

Pork shoulder (also called pork butt or Boston butt) is my favorite cut of pork, I think, solely because I love pulled pork so much. And it's just so dang easy to make! This recipe features a smoky-sweet flavor with the addition of maple syrup and Bourbon. Once pulled apart, you can eat the pulled pork as-is, or stir in some of your favorite barbecue sauce before serving.

Maple-Bourbon Pulled Pork (printer-friendly version)
makes 6-8 servings

1 red onion, cut in half and sliced (half-moons)
1 3-4 pound pork shoulder
salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 cup Bourbon (mid-range is fine)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons apple cider vinager
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses (unsulphured)
bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce, if desired

1. Add the sliced onion to the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker.
2. Pat the pork shoulder dry and season all sides liberally with salt and pepper, then set atop the onion layer.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the Bourbon, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, and molasses. Pour over top the pork.
4. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 5-6 hours, or until the pork is tender and shreds easily.
5. Use two forks to shred the pork into bite-size pieces. You can then serve as-is, or stir in barbecue sauce as desired. (I stirred in about 1/3 cup of barbecue sauce, but we like our pulled pork lightly sauced; you may opt to add in more.) Serve on toasted buns (I highly recommend pretzel buns) with coleslaw.


Maple-Bourbon Pulled Pork || A Less Processed Life



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