Are you wondering what to make for Memorial Day Weekend? Look no further than Slow-Cooker Honey Mustard Pulled Pork. It doesn’t get much easier or more budget friendly than this, friends. Simple sauce ingredients, a pork shoulder, and a little time are all that’s needed to turn out enough tender, juicy, tangy, sweet, gently spicy Honey Mustard Pulled Pork to feed a crowd or freeze leftovers in serving size portions for a few meals for entertaining, everyday meals, camping, and picnics.
If you are anything like me, you happily anticipate Memorial Day Weekend. There’s something so lighthearted about the unofficial start of summer. It calls for parties and picnics and frisbees and cold beer and lawn chairs and hammocks and sitting on the porch listening to my husband and sons play the guitar. We often rotate between hosting and being guests ourselves. I have a major dread of scaring people from inviting us to functions because we’ll destroy their food budget, so I ALWAYS try to bring something tasty, versatile, and crowd friendly with us. The latest addition to my list of fabulous dishes to take to pass is Slow-Cooker Honey Mustard Pulled Pork. It is every bit as easy as my popular Slow-Cooker Cuban Pulled Pork and Slow-Cooker Cola Pulled Pork, but adds a tangy, sweet, spicy honey, mustard, and an ever-so-mild jalapeño tweest.
I don’t think I’d be stretching the truth at all to say that I’m a pretty popular lady when I walk through the door with a giant pan full of Slow-Cooker Honey Mustard Pulled Pork. Serve it straight up, on pizza, with tortillas, on sliders (come back tomorrow for a super recipe for those!), on top of salad, in soup, on sandwiches, with grilled meats, on cornbread, in lettuce wraps… The possibilities go on and on and on! How would YOU serve this?
- It’s easiest if you start this one or two days before you want to serve it. I leave mine in the slow-cooker over night, transfer the pork shoulder from the crock into a tupperware or Gladware container, cover and refrigerate all day. I strain and reduce the pan juices then pop that in the refrigerator, too. That way, when it’s nearly time for dinner, you simply shred the pork, bake it, and toss with the pan juices. This makes it an ideal candidate for entertaining because everything is done ahead of time!
- I’m aware that my family is a little larger than average, but I still recommend you cook at least an 8 pound pork shoulder. In fact, I’d recommend using the largest size that fits in your slow-cooker.The meat disappears faster than you might imagine and it freezes and reheats like a dream.
- Don’t salt the pan juices until you’ve reduced them to the state in which you want to use them. Reducing juices concentrates and intensifies all the flavours which can result in some wicked, inedibly salty stuff if you salt before boiling it down.
- Speaking of freezing the leftovers, fill zipper top freezer bags with a single meal portion of Slow-Cooker Honey Mustard Pulled Pork, squeeze the air out of the bag (and don’t be afraid to squeeze with enthusiasm, this stuff can take it), seal, and then use your hands to press it out flat. It takes almost no space in the freezer and it thaws super fast that way.
- Don’t skip that final bake-off in the oven. That gives you some lovely crispy bits for
- textural interest and caramelizes some of the honey. Was that too geeky? I’m sorry. Let me rephrase. You want some crunchy bits with all those succulent, juicy bits. It’s just tastier that way!
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- 1 (8-12 pound) bone-in pork shoulder
- 1 cup mild honey
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup prepared mustard
- ⅓ cup cider vinegar
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
- 2 tablespoons ground mustard
- 1-2 jalapeno peppers, washed well, pricked several times with a fork
- Additional honey mustard -homemade or purchased- if desired
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Add all of the ingredients to a large slow-cooker. Put the lid in place, set the heat to LOW and cook for 10-12 hours, or until the meat falls away from the bone when nudged with a fork. Transfer the pork shoulder -in sections if it is falling apart- to a 9-inch by 13-inch pan. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until easy to handle. If it is quite chilled, it is far easier to remove fat and connective tissue.
- While the pork chills, strain the cooking juices into a 2 or 3 quart saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower the temperature and reduce until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- When the pork is easy to handle, put it on a cutting board and pull it apart into bite sized pieces, removing as much fat and connective tissue as you'd like. I'm fairly surgical about removing as much of it as possible. Discard the bone. When it's in bite sized pieces, chop it quickly with a large knife to ensure there aren't any large pieces. Transfer the chopped meat back to the 9-inch by 13-inch pan in which it cooled. Cover with tightly with foil and bake about 30 minutes, or until hot all the way through. Remove the foil, pour the reduced pan juices over it and bake for 10 more minutes. Toss to coat and serve!
This post was originally published May 20, 2014.