Slow-cooked pulled pork is a simple and delicious source of protein. Its great straight out of the oven and just as good as leftovers. It also lends well to variety, which is helpful for those of us who don’t love eating the exact same thing multiple meals in a row. This pulled pork can be served with a host of different sides, turned into a carnitas style paleo taco, or made into my personal favorite, breakfast hash.
Try serving your slow-cooked pulled pork with cauliflower mashies and sauteed asparagus for a satisfying, comfort-food-esque nutrient-dense, whole-food dinner.
Pork → On The Staples List as a good protein source.
Like all meat, however, what the pig ate and how it was raised factor into its nutrient value as a food source. Introduce yourself to your local butcher and find out about the ranchers that raise your protein – be it pig, cow, chicken, etc. Colorado Meat Company in Edwards, CO is a great example. They know the ranchers by name and their ethical and nutritional standards are admirable. Don’t have a small local butcher in your town? Introduce yourself to whoever stands behind the meat counter at your go-to grocery store. Ask them about their products and let them know what kind of quality you are looking for. In my experience, they are often eager for feedback and willing to meet the customer’s needs.
Also, keep in mind that pork is naturally high in omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and maintaining a balanced omega-3 to omega-6 ratio is important for preventing inflammation. While slow-cooked pulled pork can still be a healthy source of protein, especially for those with digestive issues, make sure you vary your protein sources and include ruminants (like beef) and seafood.
Oven or Crock-Pot?
I cook my slow-cooked pulled pork in the oven because I like to make a larger quantity than what fits in my personal crock-pot and it cuts down on the total number of dirty dishes. But, this recipe can be easily adapted to use a crock-pot. Follow steps 1-5 of the recipe below and simply transfer the meat to a crock-pot before continuing with step 6. Cook-time may vary depending on the temperature capabilities of your crock-pot.
Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork
- 8-10 pounds pork shoulder, leg, butt, or shanks
- 4 TBSP cooking oil bacon fat, avocado oil, grass-fed lard, etc.
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 yellow onion medium in size
- 4 carrots large in size
- 1 TBSP garlic powder
- 1 TBSP onion powder
- 1 TBSP cumin ground
- 1.5 tsp Himalayan sea salt
- 1.5 tsp pepper
- 1.5 tsp cinammon
- 1.5 tsp paprika
- 6 bay leaves
- 8 cups water or enough to reach halfway up the pork
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Take pork out of the fridge and let warm up on the counter for about 30 minutes.
- Trim any excess fat off of the outside of the pork. Peel and chop carrots. Rough chop garlic.
- Rub oil over the outside of the pork to help the seasonings stick. Cover in seasoning mixture. Pat into place.
- Cover the bottom of the pot with cooking oil.
- On medium heat, place seasoned pork in pot. Be cautious to keep flame low enough so oil doesn’t smoke. Brown on as many sides as possible.
- Add water to reach halfway up the pork along with the garlic, onion, and carrots.
- Turn up heat, bring to a boil, and then transfer to oven.
- Cook for 4 - 4.5 hrs checking every few hours to make sure the water level reduces only by about half. Add water as needed.
- When the pork is done, it should be very tender and easily fall away from the bones. Remove pork from liquid, leaving the liquid and vegetables in the pot.
- Pull the pork off the bone in large chunks, discard any undesired sinew, and return shredded pork to liquid. You do not need to completely shred the pork as it will continue to break apart in the liquid.