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Recipe: This Kansas City pulled pork is a Super Bowl winner

BMTN food writer Lindsay Guentzel prepares a dish to impress party-goers.
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For the last few years, we’ve had friends over at our place to watch the Super Bowl. Mostly because I love hosting a good party and selfishly, it means I don’t have to leave the house.

The tricky part about hosting is making sure there are enough outlets and extension cords to house all of the slow cookers that come through the door (one year we had seven!).

Another hassle? Taking stock of what everyone else has offered to bring. Why is this important? If you don’t, you might end up with four or five different Buffalo chicken dips. Which is not the worst thing in the world if you love Buffalo chicken dip but a little variety goes a long way.

One tradition I love is matching the menu to whatever teams are playing in the big game. The Eagles? Philly cheesesteaks. New England Patriots? Lobster rolls. The Broncos? A keg of Coors Light.

So when the Kansas City Chiefs locked in an appearance in Super Bowl LIV, I was so excited to dive into planning. When it comes to iconic Kansas City meals, barbecue is at the top of the list. Arthur Bryant’s, Gates, Jack Stack, Joe’s – ask for a dinner recommendation in KC and you’ll likely hear one of these names.

Slow-smoked meat served with a table full of sides: coleslaw, baked beans, fries, pickles, macaroni and cheese, and more sauces than you can count.

Don’t have a smoker at home? No worries. I don’t either. But I do have a slow cooker and let me tell you, it does a pretty great job of producing tender, juicy pulled pork.

What I love about pulled pork is if you season it right, it can be used for so many different types of food. Load it up with a traditional BBQ sauce or spicy mustard and serve it with a spicy slaw on top. Go the Mexican route and add hot sauce and fresh cilantro and host a taco bar. Or my personal favorite, whip up a homemade nacho cheese sauce and serve up sheet pan nachos for the ultimate football watching experience.

Find more recipes from Lindsay Guentzel here.

There are a couple things you need to keep in mind before making this recipe: having a meat thermometer on hand is crucial. You want that shoulder to hit 190° before serving. That’s the sweet spot for tenderness. Second, resist the urge to take the lid off the slow cooker before necessary. I get it, you want to look at it, you want to smell it. But every time you take the lid off, you’re releasing the heat and your slow cooker has to do more work.

Finally, searing the outside isn’t necessary. You’ll get great tasting meat regardless. But the searing helps the flavors develop and I personally find the extra few minutes to be worth the effort.

This recipe would also be a great one to add to your meal prepping arsenal – shredded pork is just as versatile to use as chicken and is delicious when reheated with a skillet.

Ingredients

Meat

  • 3-4 pounds boneless pork shoulder
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 6 cloves garlics
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Dry rub

  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • ½ tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp chipotle chile powder

Directions

– Place onions and garlic cloves in bottom of large slow cooker. Pour in broth.

– In small bowl, combine dry rub ingredients. Mix well.

– Lay out pork shoulder on cutting board. Coat outside with dry rub.

– Place large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and allow to heat up for a few minutes.

– Sear each side of the pork shoulder until it starts to brown (about 30 to 45 seconds). Use tongs to flip shoulder over in pan.

– After all of the sides have been seared, use tongs to transfer pork shoulder from hot pan to slow cooker.

– Place on top of onions, garlic and broth with the fat on the top.

– Cover. Cook on low for 8 to 9 hours, until pork shoulder reaches around 190°.

– Once internal temperature has been reached, remove pork from slow cooker and allow to set and cool in a casserole dish or on a sheet pan.

– Using two forks, gently shred pork into fine pieces. Remove access fat and discard.

– Pour broth through mesh colander into a bowl. Add half to shredded pork. Mix well. Discard remaining broth, onions and garlic.

– Serve hot. 

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