by Nathan Cheatham
Three to five lbs. bone-in pork shoulder
Can of Coca Cola
Two bottles Sweet baby Rays Barbecue sauce
Two cups of water
Five qt. crock pot
The weather is getting colder as winter is beginning to make its presence known, college students are hungry and often poor this late in the semester. The best remedy for this is hearty servings of pulled pork, after a long day of class and studying. This recipe can feed a student for about a week, it’s also a great dish to bring to an event or party.
One of the cheapest parts of a pig you can buy, is the pork shoulder, running between $2 and $3 a pound, and sometimes below $2 when it is on sale. A helpful hint as well, is that grocery stores generally have a pattern to their circulars and will run either a boneless or bone-in pork shoulder on special nearly every week.
Either kind of shoulder will work for this recipe, as the only difference is the bone, most often the bone-in version is the cheapest. Check your local grocery store circulars, or ask the clerk behind the meat counter when they might go on sale. You can even buy the pork shoulder when it is on sale and freeze it in a sealed airtight plastic bag until you are ready to make it. Just be sure to give it 24 hours to thaw in your fridge before hand.
Now that you have all the ingredients, rub the mesquite rub over the pork. Don’t paste it on, but be sure to rub a good amount all over. Then put the pork into your crock pot. Before turning on the crock pot you will need liquid in with the meat. Do not over fill. You want a total of about two inches, or a quarter of the meat covered in roughly half Coca Cola and half water mixture. This will keep the meat from burning, the coke will help break down the meat so it is super tender. If you do not want to use Coca Cola, you can use root beer or apple cider vinegar.
Put the crock pot on high, being sure to have the lid on and the appliance stable on your counter. This will cook for nearly eight hours. I generally start the dish in the morning, and cook it all day.
Don’t be afraid to open the lid to check on how done the pork is. You should be able to stick a fork into the meat with one hand and rip it apart. Once the meat is cooked, transfer it to a baking sheet or bowl and begin to “pull” the pork. The best technique to pull the pork is with two forks and rip the meat away from itself between the utensils.
Once the pork is sufficiently pulled, and some of the fat has been tossed away, sauce the pork to taste. I usually use about one and a half containers of Sweet Baby Rays.
The dish is now completed and can be held in the fridge for up to a week. When taking to an event, the pork can be put back into the crock pot and held at low or warm. This is served best on a bun with cheese or cole slaw on top.