Alicia writes Jaybird; she’s an AmeriCorps volunteer who loves to eat but can’t afford to try every new restaurant and type of cuisine. Instead of spending all her hard-earned cash paying other people to cook for her, she spends it as frugally as possible making delicious meals at home. Be friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!
“I just don’t have time,” is a common excuse year-round…and it can also be a way to rationalize unhealthy eating habits. Often what “I don’t have time” really means is, “X isn’t truly my priority.” One of my priorities is eating as few processed foods as possible, so I end up making most of my meals from scratch. When I’m too busy to cook every night, I turn to my kitchen superhero: the slow cooker!
If you want to eat well but find it difficult to cook a healthy, real-foods dinner on a regular basis, invest in a slow cooker. I can’t say it enough: this appliance is the bomb dot com. Here is how you use a slow cooker:
1. Throw the toughest, cheapest cut of meat your grocery store has on sale into the crock. Add seasonings, shake it up with some salt and pepper.
2. Totally forget that you are cooking something while you complete the 17 tasks on your to do list like a productivity beast/go to work/save baby orangutans/watch TV.
3. Remember that you are cooking when your nose starts to tickle as a delicious, welcoming aroma wafts through the air.
4. DINNER TIME!
It’s really that simple. And so is this recipe for Sweet and Smoky Pulled Pork, adjusted from the Nom Nom Paleo recipe for Slow Cooker Kalua Pig with a couple unique additions. You can keep it smoky and simple with plain pork, or you can enhance the smokiness of the paprika by adding poblano peppers to the mix. A heaping scoop of warm pomegranate seeds adds juicy sweetness to every mouthful. The surprising flavor combination really dresses up an already fantastic, easy slow cooker meal.
Sweet and Smoky Pulled Pork – Serves 6
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 8-10 hours
2 ½ pound pork shoulder, a.k.a. pork butt or Boston butt
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1 ½ teaspoons hot smoked paprika
heaping ½ cup pomegranate seeds
2 smoked, chopped poblano peppers
Place the pork shoulder into the crock of slow cooker with the skin/fat side up. In a small bowl, combine sea salt and paprika, then rub all over the pork until evenly covered. Tuck the garlic cloves into the meat. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
When the pork has finished cooking, transfer the roast to a large bowl and pull apart with two forks. I removed the skin side after cooking because I’m not a fan of super fatty meat, but you can leave it in if you’d like! After the meat is pulled, taste it. Season to taste with juices from the slow cooker.
This pulled pork is smoky, juicy, and absolutely delicious on its own. It makes a flavorful addition to frittatas, lettuce tacos, or big salads. To add a burst of sweetness in each bite, mix in a heaping ½ cup of pomegranate seeds. To up the smoky flavor, add two smoked, chopped poblano peppers.