If a graduation party or Memorial Day family reunion is on your calendar, here is a recipe that will make your life easier and wow your guests. It takes about 5 minutes work in the kitchen, but the result is pulled pork that is moist, tender and delicious. And if some of the gang say they prefer sloppy Joes, hand them a skillet, a can of sauce and a pound of hamburger.
We got this recipe from our daughter-in-law’s sister who lived in Hawaii when her husband was stationed there. True kalua pork is made by wrapping the meat in banana and ti leaves and roasting it slowly for hours in an underground earthen oven. The result is tender juicy meat that almost falls apart when it is unwrapped.
Most of us don’t have earthen ovens, but a slow cooker comes close to giving you the same great flavor and tender meat. We have substituted elk in this recipe a couple of times and the result was very satisfactory, different from pork but still delicious. Though elk is not as fatty as pork, the moist heat of the crockpot still gives you succulent pulled meat for sandwiches. As you can see, the recipe is absurdly simple with just four ingredients.
4 to 5 lbs. pork butt or shoulder or elk roast
2 cups apple cider or apple juice
1 T liquid smoke
1 1/2-2 T Hawaiian or sea salt
At least 12 hours before the guests are scheduled to arrive, rub the pork with the salt and liquid smoke and place it in the crockpot. Add the apple cider. Turn the crockpot on high for the first hour, then turn it down to low and leave it to cook for another 10 to 12 hours.
After about 6 hours, turn the roast over and add a little more cider if necessary. Take the meat out of the crockpot and shred it with two forks. Serve with sandwich buns and hot or barbecue sauce for those who like a little more zip to their meat.
NOTES: You can make pulled pork ahead of time, refrigerate or even freeze it, then warm it when you need it. You can use regular iodized salt if that is all you have. Cole slaw, potato salad and baked beans go well with pulled pork sandwiches.