Crockpot Tales: What What Pork Butt!!!


If you like pulled pork and haven't had it from a crockpot you are missing out on some serious porky righteousness and if you don’t know what a pork butt is then you're really missing out. Pork butt can be used in a number of dishes ranging from pulled pork sandwiches, curried pork, stews, pulled pork lasagna, and much more. I'm going to be talking about some basic techniques in cooking pork butt in the crock pot along with some simple recipes that are great starting points in exploring crockpot pork butt potentials.

Pork butt, isn't really a part of the pigs butt it's a cut from the shoulder. It's a fatty part, which makes for juicy, tender, and flavorful roasts.  It's also an economical cut in part because it requires time at least 4-5 hours to cook. You can buy it bone-in or boneless, I recommend that you get it with some bone in it because it will add to the flavor when cooking.

There are really four key elements to cooking pork butt in the crockpot:  meat, spices, liquid, and time.

Put That Butt on the Counter

Generally you want to pick up a 4 - 6 pound cut, that will be enough for a nice feast or plenty of left over’s that you can throw in the freezer, they go for about $2.00 a pound. Its just enough to feed about 10- 15 people.

You want to trim any excess fat from the butt and give it a good wash. Cut about 8 slits into different parts of the butt and put a garlic clove in each. You can also put some fresh herbs in there with the garlic like oregano or rosemary.  Once those cloves cook they are VERY VERY delicious.

Spice up your Butt


This is where you can be as creative as you like, but lets start out with the simple classic seasoning salt and pepper, which can still produce great tasting pork butt. I do however recommend that you make a rub to go on it. Here is a quick and simple rub that isn’t too over baring and will allow you to use the pork in any other recipe.

In a separate bowl pour equal parts (about 1tbs spoon) of each and mix well.
  • Paprika
  • White Pepper or Black Pepper
  • Mustard
  • Oregano
  • Cumin
  • And ½ tbs of Salt
Add some chopped onions, I also like to add a whole habanero pepper, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg to mine to give a bit of Caribbean flavor.

Then take the rub and liberally coat every crevice of that butt, you want to make sure you get up in all of the cracks ;) Let it marinate for at least an hour, or do it over night if you can.

Liquid

You don’t want to drown your pork butt in liquid when using the crockpot.  You don’t want to submerge it more than half way unless your doing a stew. I typically submerge it about the quarter of the way unless I plan on using a broth in other dishes I’ll go half way. If you are adapting a stove top recipe to the crockpot keep in mind liquids don’t evaporate during crockpot cooking and you will want to use about half of any liquids the recipe calls for.

So what liquids should we use? Well at the very least use your favorite broth, but if you want to try some thing different  and give the pork a subtle flavor from the liquid to complement the dish you’ll be eating it with try.
  • Apple juice or apple cider
  • Pineapple Juice
  • Orange and Lemon Juice (use a 2 to 1 ratio)
  • Your favorite bbq sauce and water (use a 2 to 1 ratio)
  • Pasta sauce
If you like that smoky flavor you get from long hours of cooking in a true bbq pit in the crockpot, use liquid smoke. Ok so it wont give you that authentic taste but it’s the closest you're gonna get.  Pour about a ¼ cup of the stuff in the crockpot with your liquid of choice. It really does make for a great aroma and does enhance the taste.  I always use it when I’m making pulled pork.

Father Time

Now once you got your pork butt in the pot along with all the other elements it’s time to send it on its way. This is where all the magic happens. Set your crockpot to cook for 8-10 hours, just enough time for you to go to work and come home to some good ol pork butt lovin. If you are in a hurry and preparing for a party, you can cook it on high for 4 - 6 hours, but the key is low and slow.

After the pork butt has been handled by Father Time, that butt will be so tender you will not be able to take it out of the pot with out it falling apart. Pull the pork apart and put in a separate bowl, once you got all the pork out pour about half the liquid from the crockpot into the bowl and mix the shredded pork up.

Give her the ol’ taste test and you’re good to go.

Pork Butt in What?

There are many dishes you can put pork butt in and thousands of recipes you can find online.  Some of my favorite applications are

Cubano Sandwiches
  • Bread
  • Mayo and mustard
  • Pickles
  • 2 types of deli ham (smoked and French is my preference)
  • Swiss cheese
  • And some pulled pork in the middle
Soup (I like this in the mornings or on a cold night)
  • 2.5 cups of broth 
  • 2 nice spoonfuls of pulled pork
  • Some veggies and or kim che
  • Fresh noodles
  • Cilantro and a squirt of lime juice
Pulled Pork with Rice
Tacos, Quintilla, and Burritos (its just like carnitas) fry in a pan or put under broiler to make it crispy
Stir Frys
Pulled Pork Sandwich
Pasta dishes
Homemade Ravioli

Now that the Pork Feast is Over?

Left over pork butt keeps well in the freezer. Put some in zip lock bags and save them for an occasion you want some pork and use it in any dish your stomach desires. Once frozen you can thaw in the microwave, which I don't condone or leave it out on the counter or fridge.

For tips on using a crockpot check out my post "Crockpot Tales: Tips On How to get your Crock On"

By: Zuberi Fields

Thoughts:

5 comments:

I was looking for a recipe that was simple yet tasty. Yours fit the bill. I seasoned it with season all (it was a lazy night) and I let it sit in the frig over night. The 1st night we ate it over rice (oh so tender)with a green salad and corn on the cob as sides. tonight I am going to make BBQ pulled pork sandwiches with the left overs! Thanks for sharing!

You are welcome Sara. How were the sandwiches? I will putting a post up for cooking chicken in the crockpot. Stay hungry my friend

Thanks for the great recipe! I've always done the pork butt in my smoker, but I'm going for it in the crockpot today!

You're welcome J-star. I hope you enjoy your pork butt.

Stay hungry my friend