There are a few things you need to know about this recipe:
1. It takes 12 hours to make, BUT it’s so easy and requires minimal effort.
2. It makes a LOT of meat, BUT it’s totally worth it for the leftovers.
3. It is so succulent and tender and mouthwatering and scrumptious and savory and…yummy!
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let me point out that this is a starter recipe. In fact, it’s more of a method than a recipe. I’m sure there are a million ways to season and cook a pork shoulder, but this is the one that was suggested to me by a friend (Hi Adam!), and it sounded perfect for my first crock pot try!
*I apologize up front about the lack of pictures at each step, but because it has to cook for so long I started it at 11:30 the night before, and then set an alarm for 6:00 am the following day. Pictures were the last thing on my mind. So visualize me, half asleep, trying to lift a 10 pound pork shoulder at 6 am. There’s your mental picture.
You will need:
- Crock pot (usually I don’t put non-food related things in the ingredients, but this is a crock pot specific recipe. Sorry, non crock pot people!)
- Pork shoulder
- Bottle of beer (a pale ale will work)
- Head of garlic
- Spices (I used cumin and cayenne, feel free to sub whatever)
The first thing you want to do is mix your spices together. I used about 1 tbs of each, but I would recommend using much more. Rub the spices over the entire pork shoulder, and then carefully sear each side in a pan, almost to the point of burning it.
Dump the whole thing into the crock pot (you might have to cut it in half if you have a smaller crock pot, but this is difficult as there is a bone) and pour the bottle of beer on top of it. Peel a large head of garlic and toss the cloves in, and then add just enough water to cover the top of the meat.
Turn the crock pot to the lowest setting, and go back to sleep.
Now you wait.
The smell of meat slowly cooking will waft through your house and torture you, but be patient! If you’re in a huge rush I suppose you could take it out early, but if you leave it in for a full 12 hours you will be rewarded, I promise.
It’s important that while it’s cooking you DON’T touch it. Don’t open the lid, don’t stir it, don’t poke it with a fork. Adam explained to me why this was when he was telling me the recipe…but I wasn’t listening that closely Sorry Adam!
Fast forward 12 hours:
Using tongs, grab the shoulder bone and just slide it out. I cropped out my “I can’t believe how easy it was to pull out this bone!” face, because it was stupid looking, but that’s the face you’ll make.
Now just dig your tongs into the meat and start pulling it out of the crockpot, placing it into a separate dish. Don’t worry if you get a few cloves of garlic in there, but avoid a lot of the fat, which will have separated and will be floating around.
Let it cool down for a few minutes, and then stick some forks in there and start pulling it. It shreds so easily, the only obstacle is getting through ten pounds of it (this is only half of what we made!)
Mix in some bbq sauce just to moisten it, serve on a hard roll and cover with more sauce.
All that’s left is to invite a dozen friends over and share!
*Note: The beer just gives it a little tang, you can hardly taste it. So if you’re not a beer person, don’t worry!