Cooking in the Trenches: Episode 2 by joec3
November 9, 2012, 2:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

CrockPot Pulled Pork with Sweet Potatoes, Asparagus and Brussels Sprouts

I guarantee you have time for this.  This is one of my favorite meals to make when I have no time, which has been happening quite frequently lately.  Med school, am I right?

I’d like to take a second to talk about making pulled pork using a Boston butt.  It’s a ridiculously cheap piece of pork ($1.79) and it is delicious if you cook it low and slow.  I used a CrockPot, but you don’t have to use one.  If you’ll be home all day you can use your oven, just see here.  You can go crazy on this pork: dry rub, marinade, sauces, you name it.  I haven’t used a dry rub because I honestly find that pork needs very little help in the flavor department.  A little salt and pepper and a little barbeque sauce and I’m in heaven.  Let’s get down to business.

Ingredient List:

  • 4.88lb Boston butt ($1.79/lb = $8.74) (From Critchfield Meats)
  • 1lb Brussels Sprouts ($2.79) (This and below from Trader Joe’s)
  • 2lb Sweet Potatoes ($1.69)
  • 12oz. Asparagus ($3.49) (I recommend getting more of the asparagus)
  • 1 Yellow Onion (~$0.50)
  • Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper.


The night before, or in the morning, cut the yellow onion into large chunks.  Place these in the bottom of the CrockPot and rest the Boston butt, fat side up, on top of the onions.  The fat will drip down over the meat during cooking and keep it moist.  Set it to cook for 10 hours on low, drop the mic and walk out the door.  It should look like this:

You come back home after a long day and you don’t feel much like cooking.  That’s cool, you don’t have much cooking to do.  Wrap your sweet potatoes in foil and throw them in the oven at 350F.  Walk away again.

Come back forty-five minutes later and start prepping the sprouts.  Cut the bottom off each sprout, then cut it in half from top to bottom.  Remove the outer leaves that will be falling off and discard.  Put some oil in a pan on the stove over medium heat.  Pull the sweet potatoes out of the oven and put them on a safe surface to cool down a bit (I like to use the sink).  Cut the tough bottom ends off your bunch of asparagus, then slice the remaining stalks into thirds.  If you do the whole bundle at the same time, this will go very quickly.  Throw the green veggies into the pan and saute.

While the veggies are sauteing, carefully remove the Boston butt from the CrockPot.  Carefully because this is a mass of very warm pork.  Remove the fat from the top and the shoulder bone from the middle of the roast.  Make sure you’re keeping an eye on the sprouts and asparagus, they’ll need to be tossed regularly.  Your pork should look like this:

Discard the onions, they’re kind of gross at this point.  The meat should be falling apart, it’s just your job to help it.  Take your forks and stab both into a piece of meat.  Pull them in opposite directions and you should see the muscle fibers pulling apart.  Repeat this process again and again and again until there are no big chunks left.  You just made pulled pork!  High fives all around.  It should look a little something like this:

Your Brussels sprouts and asparagus should be just about done.  The sprouts will be browned slightly and moderately tender while still retaining some of their crunch.  The asparagus should be dark green and should smell wonderful.  Put everything together on a plate with some salt, pepper and barbeque sauce and feast your eyes:

The Numbers:

  • Active Time: 45 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 11 hours
  • Clean-Up Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Servings:6 large meals (though they could use some more veggies)
  • Cost Per Serving: $2.87

In summary, this is a really speedy meal that’s also healthy and delicious.  Enjoy!  I’ll see you again soon.


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