Anyone who knows me, knows I’m frugal with a capital F. That doesn’t mean I make my kids go without or skimp on the necessities, especially when it comes to food. I love making nutritious meals for my family, but I really love making them on the cheap. Today I’m talking about Pulled Pork Sandwiches, not really the epitome of nutritious eating but good nonetheless.
In my previous post How to Make Extra Money for Christmas, I talked about shopping the sales to make my meal plans for the week, and today I’m going to share with you a meal I made using meat I bought on sale. So, last week my local grocery store had a sale on pork roast, and I bought one of those babies. The cost of the roast was .99¢ per pound, and the one I bought was right at 10 lbs., making my total just over $10. But the best thing about a roast like this is all the things you can do with it.
The most obvious being pulled pork sandwiches. My family loves pulled pork. When I make a roast like this, I will divvy up part of it for Pulled Pork Chili (Recipe to come in a future post!) and part for Pulled Pork sandwiches.
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Before I start, I’d like to take a second to talk about the value of crock-pot liners. Normally I wouldn’t spend money on a luxury like these, but they make clean-up such a breeze that I just can’t help myself. One tip that I will add is if you have a smaller crockpot (I have two different sizes) you can use oven bags instead of crock-pot liners. They’re made out of the same material, only shaped differently (taller instead of wider) and they are actually cheaper than crock-pot liners. You get more per box too!
So I lined my slow cooker with a crock-pot liner because I’m using my large slow cooker. Then I added my pork roast and half a cup of chicken broth just to help get things started. Next, comes my rub. Anytime you cook a large piece of meat, it is imperative that you rub the seasoning into the meat before you start cooking it.
Mix the ingredients in a bowl and then use your hand to scoop it up and rub it into your meat wherever you can reach. Once your meat is entirely coated, place the lid on your slow cooker and cook on low heat a minimum of 8-10 hours. You can go longer if you’d like. If it’s a really large roast, I will sometimes start it before I go to bed for the next evening’s meal. It’s really hard to overcook meat in a crock-pot if you’re cooking it on low.
Once your roast is done and pulling apart at the junction where any fat is running through it, it’s time to start shredding it. I use two forks and lift the roast from the pot, or as much of it as I can since it’s usually falling apart at this point. After placing the roast on a cutting board, drain most of the liquid out of the slow cooker leaving about half a cup. This liquid will combine with your barbecue sauce and help keep the meat moist. Since I usually pull my pork apart and add the barbecue sauce an hour or two before serving it to allow the flavors to blend, it’s important that it stay moist.
Using your forks, insert them into a large piece of roast facing away from each other and then pull them in opposite directions, shredding the roast in the process. Continue doing it until all the large pieces are broken up. If it isn’t entirely shredded, don’t worry, By the time you finish adding your barbecue sauce and mixing it well, the rest of the pork should be broken up. Before adding the sauce, set aside any pork you’d like to use for any other recipe. Although the rub did contain brown sugar, if you taste the pork at this time it won’t really be sweet, allowing you to use it in any savory dish you might want.
Next, it’s time to add the barbecue sauce. I use store bought barbecue sauce, but there are plenty of recipes available if you’d prefer to make your own. Pour the sauce over the pork and then stir it in well. If you still have a few larger pieces, just use your forks to break them up further. Allow an hour or more for the barbecue sauce to get fully incorporated in your pulled pork. Your pulled pork is now ready to go on your favorite bun.
We invited some friends over for the game on Saturday and served the pulled pork sandwiches with roasted seasoned potatoes and baked beans. I separated the rest of the pork into three storage bags. A small amount went in one bag for lunch the next day. A large bag got put in the freezer for pulled pork sandwiches one day in the future. And another large bag contained the pork I’d reserved earlier before I’d added barbecue to the rest of the meat. I put it in the freezer too. I’ll use it for chili one night in the future.
I talked with my friend’s mom, and she told me that she will cook a large roast and then add the pulled pork to the buns before freezing them individually. She’ll then pull out a sandwich and heat it up for lunch or whenever she doesn’t fell like cooking. I thought that was a great idea for saving the pork and the buns that might otherwise go to waste.
Three meal’s worth of meat for $10 dollars. That ends up being only $3.33 per meal. Add in the buns, barbecue sauce, potatoes, and baked beans, and I fed my family plus several of our friends for under $10. That certainly beats ordering takeout and tastes better too.
Here’s the recipe.
Prep time is 5 minutes. Cook time is a minimum of 9-11 hours.
The ingredients for the rub.
- ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 to 2 tbsps paprika (this may sound like a lot, but I love the smokiness it adds to the meat)
- 1 tsp garlic powder (you can use chopped garlic, but the powder works just fine)
- 1½ tsp your favorite seasoning salt
- 1½ tsp your favorite creole seasoning
- 1 tsp pepper
These ingredients can be changed depending on your taste, but what you’re looking for is a smoky/savory/sweet combination. Mix everything together in a bowl and then rub it onto your roast. Cook your roast on low at least 8-10 hours and then remove it from your slow cooker and drain all the juices but about half a cup. Using two forks, shred the pork and then return it to the slow cooker. Add your favorite barbecue sauce and cook on low another 1-2 hours.
I’d love to hear about your favorite pulled pork recipe. You might give me some ideas on different ways to use my bargain pork roast in the future.