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Pulled pork is one of my all time favourite treat meals. I’ve been making it for a few years now and I’m always surprised at how expensive the ready made versions are. Made at home, pulled pork is already the perfect budget meal. Even though this is a budget version of pulled pork, it’s as good as any ready made equivalent.
The key to making amazing pulled pork is cooking it in a slow cooker. Slow cookers are a great investment for anyone who wants to reduce their grocery budget, as cheap cuts of meat are their forte. They turn the humblest cut of meat into a thing of absolute beauty. This budget version of pulled pork is no exception. In this recipe, pork shoulder is the best cut you can use. It’s one of the cheapest, too.
This recipe calls for the use of a large slow cooker, as the cut of meat is large and needs a little space to simmer in a spicy stock until the meat is tender and ready to fall apart. If you haven’t got one, it is worthwhile to invest in a slow cooker, if you intend to use it a lot. Over time, it will save a huge amount of money on electricity, as slow cookers use a fraction of that of an oven. My tried and tested slow cooker is linked here, and it’s great investment.
This recipe takes around 8 hours and 30 minutes from start to finish. It requires 30 minutes of prep, finishing off and packing to be stored, and 8 hours to let the slow cooker work it’s magic. My budget version of pulled pork comes in at £7.95 for the entire recipe, and makes 8 portions. So that works out at a budget friendly £1 per portion.
When I bulk cook pulled pork, I keep it plain before storing. Then I add sauce or seasoning when I’m serving it. Keeping it plain when storing means it can be incredibly versatile. For example, you can add BBQ sauce and pile it high in a burger bun, with some chips and salad. Or you team it with pork stuffing and apple sauce in a baguette. You could serve it as part of a Sunday lunch, with roast potatoes and veg. Or roll it into a burrito with rice, salsa, pinto beans, fried onions and peppers. There are endless options with this budget version of pulled pork.
Here’s the recipe, or continue to scroll to download the recipe card.
2.2kg joint of pork shoulder
3 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp garlic powder
Boiling water, enough to cover the pork joint in your slow cooker
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
Place the pork shoulder joint in the slow cooker, removing any ties or string from the meat before doing so.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker, topping with boiling water until the meat is covered.
Turn the slow cooker on, and set to the highest heat setting. Allow the pork joint to cook for 8 hours.
When the meat is tender and falling part, remove it from the slow cooker. Trim all of the fat from the joint. Discard the fat and, using two forks, pull the meat apart.
Separate the meat into storage containers. To help keep the meat moist, ladle in some of the poaching liquid. The Pyrex containers I use are linked here. These ones are they perfect size for storing two portions each, and they are great for stacking in the freezer as they come with strong plastic lids. When ready to serve, you can simply add sauce to the container and microwave, as these dishes are microwave safe.
If you plan to freeze some portions of the pulled pork, allow to cool before freezing. When ready to serve, allow to defrost. Then follow the instructions to serve from fresh, below.
If serving from fresh, add whatever sauces or seasonings you like, and heat through. With sauces in particular, I find that combining the sauce with the pulled pork, mixing thoroughly and then heating together works best. And serve!
My absolute favourite way to serve this budget version of pulled pork is in a burger bun with BBQ sauce. To create this meal, I mixed 7-8 tbsps of BBQ sauce with the pulled pork and then piled it high on a fresh bun and it was ready to go! I served it with some oven roasted chips and a pickled salad of crunchy veg tossed in white wine vinegar, to balance out the sweetness of the sauce.
Let me know below what you think the best way to serve pulled pork is! Are you a BBQ sauce lover like me, or have you tried a better twist on pulled pork?