Sriracha & Blackstrap Molasses Pulled Pork

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June is just one giant party after another.

While I’m trying to catch my breath from the madness of May (which includes Mother’s Day and my dad’s birthday), June comes along with Father’s Day (June 19), my mom’s birthday (June 18), my parent’s wedding anniversary (June 3), and my own wedding anniversary (June 20).

There’s just so much to celebrate!

So, rather than try to celebrate each individual event, my family decided to have one celebration that would cover all the various birthdays and holidays. Originally, our plan was to BBQ and laze about in the sun and eat delicious food together. There was talk of ribs and homemade ice cream! But, the Portland forecast had other ideas. The weather this past weekend was quite lame, to say the least. A BBQ was not in the cards.

But, I wasn’t willing to let the weather win. I was feeling sassy and summery and so I decided to make pulled pork sandwiches. Pulled pork has all the flavor and attitude of BBQ, but can be done indoors with a slow cooker. Done and done.

I’ve made pulled pork a few times over the years and it is always a hit. It’s one of those dishes that is hard to screw up. Throw some pork in a slow cooker, add some seasonings, and walk away for 8 hours. That’s my kind of cooking!

Since I was making the pulled pork for a special occasion, I wanted to jazz up the recipe a bit. I’m not a big fan of ketchup (OK, I think it’s nasty), but a lot of pulled pork recipes use ketchup as part of the sauce base. I was in need of an unconventional and ketchup-free pulled pork. So, I turned to my trusty pantry to see what I could find. I was in luck! I had a few key pantry staples on hand that I knew would work together to make a fabulous BBQ sauce: tomato paste, Sriracha, and blackstrap molasses. The tomato paste would bring the tangy tomato element we’re all used to in BBQ sauce, the Sriacha would add heat, and the molasses would add depth and sweetness.

So, I went for it. I threw it all in a crock pot, walked away for hours, and crossed my fingers that would all work. Thankfully, it did work. It was absolutely and positively delicious. It was everything pulled pork should be – spicy, complex, sweet, smoky, and flavorful. My family and I happily devoured our pulled pork sandwiches (and cole slaw, and potato salad, and cantaloupe, and strawberry shortcake…) and thoroughly enjoyed our celebration of all June holidays. What can I say? I’m a lucky lady. So much to celebrate, and so many wonderful people to celebrate with.

So, here’s to you, June. Here’s to wedding anniversaries, fathers, mothers, celebrations, and a big batch of pulled pork.

Blackstrap Molasses & Sriracha Pulled Pork
(Serves 6)

1 yellow onion, sliced thinly
3-4 lbs pork shoulder

Sriracha & Blackstrap Molasses BBQ Sauce:
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
2 teaspoons Sriracha hot sauce (more/less depending on how much spice you want)
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Spice rub:
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon salt
Dash of cayenne pepper

Method:

Prepare the pork: Mix all spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Rub the outside of the pork with the spices, and allow to sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour before cooking (can do this the night before).

Slice the onion thinly, and place most (3/4) of the onion slices in the bottom of the slow cooker.

Cut pork shoulder down into large chunks (2-3 inches) and trim off any excess fat. Place pork pieces atop the onion slices in teh slow cooker. Toss the last onion slices on top of the pork.

Meanwhile, whisk together sauce ingredients: tomato paste, cider vinegar, molasses, Sriracha, ground mustard and black pepper. Pour 1/2 of this mixture over the pork in the slow cooker, reserving the rest of the sauce mixture for later. Cook pork on low heat for 8 hours (Note: I started my pork at 9:30am and needed it to be done by 4 pm. I cooked it on low all morning, but at 2pm I turned the heat up to high.)

When the pork is ready, it should be falling apart and ‘fork tender’. Remove pork (and onions) to a bowl. Discard gristle and shred the pork with 2 forks until desired consistency. Pour any liquid left in the crockpot into a jar, skimming off any unwanted fat. Once the pork has been shredded, place back in the crockpot. Stir in the reserved Sriracha BBQ sauce with the pork. Pour back in some of the cooking liquid, until the pork is moist and juicy.

Serve with yummy buns/bread, coleslaw, and whole grain mustard. (YUM.)

*Note: While the recipe does not start with much liquid, you’ll find the end result to be very moist. As the pork cooks down, it simmers in its own fat and juices. I found there was almost too much liquid, hence why I removed the pork from the liquid and then poured back in the desired amount of liquid. This ensures that you don’t end up with soupy pulled pork sandwiches!

23 Responses

  1. Michael M says:

    Great idea!
    When we make slow cooker pulled pork, we also add a teaspoon or so of liquid smoke.
    Look forward to trying this.
    Michael @ KitchenCru

  2. Noël says:

    I’ve never wanted pulled pork before 10 am—until now. ;) And I love the word ‘Blackstrap.’ That molasses means business! Can’t wait to try this one.

  3. hungrylemur says:

    This looks amazing. I will put Sriracha in *anything* and I’ll kind of eat pork every day too.

  4. danielle says:

    i too love the word blackstrap.
    also: the best pulled pork ever.
    also: i think it would have been appropriate to post another picture of ramona and omar. just sayin.

  5. sarah says:

    Happy June and happy celebrating! The weather up here in Seattle is just as dumb and dreary so I think I’ll be for sure trying your recipe ASAP!

  6. Oh I love pulled pork! This looks delicious, and great for a family party! Happy celebrating!

  7. Wow June is a busy month for you! Great idea to do a combined BBQ! My son just told me of his new found love for sriracha! So I will definitely give these a try! The sandwiches look great! Especially with the cole slaw on top! : )

  8. Jessica says:

    I agree! I’m not a fan of ketchup either… there’s something wrong with its flavor =) I love that you used sriracha instead. It looks delicious!

  9. Parsley Sage says:

    Oooh! Great pork, crock pot goodies are my favorite :)

  10. FashionIntel says:

    Looks absolutely delicious! Cannot wait to make this for everyone. Thanks for sharing.

  11. This BBQ sauce sounds amazing! I’ve been wanting to make some pulled pork and this recipe has moved to the front of the line!

  12. jay says:

    sounds amazing…can’t wait to give it a try..
    first time here…amazing space you have..
    interesting recipe collection..
    glad to follow u..:)
    do stop by mine sometime..
    Tasty Appetite

  13. Hannah says:

    I am definitely going to make this for the fam this coming weekend at the cabin. Delicioso

  14. Oh goodness. Once again, you tempt me with your extreme deliciousness. Like yours, my June was filled with fun and busy times. I don’t have a slow cooker, but guess who’s on Amazon RIGHT NOW buying one. I’ve wanted one for awhile, but this just made me pull the trigger.
    X
    Sabrina

  15. Happy Happy Anniversary! I am also a June anniversary :)
    This looks soooo perfect for a summer meal. Wonderful flavors!!

  16. baobabs says:

    YUM!!! makes me want to have a pulled pork sandwich right now! Happy anniversary celebration month of June! great yummy pics to go with your recipes :)

  17. Kita says:

    That sounds like a great combo for pulled pork! June (and July) are one big party aren’t they?? We are just waiting for a weekend to relax.

  18. keithjgrant says:

    Wow, this looks amazing! Also, I heartily approve of your thoughts on ketchup ;)

    Though if you’re ever at Dick’s Kitchen on Belmont, don’t be afraid to try their house-made ketchup; it’s delicious. It actually tastes like tomatoes!

  19. Diana says:

    I made this and it was awesome! It’s definitely going into my week night repertoire. I served it with fresh cilantro, sliced radishes, lime juice and a little hot sauce. Great on buns and corn tortillas!

  20. Glenn Powers says:

    just signed up to follow your blog…When I saw you with the bunny I thought you were a vegetarian. Later I see the recipe for pulled pork. Pigs can be as nice as bunnies and are much smarter. So please give up eating pigs or are you going to eat the bunny too? This is not a facetious question. I believe that lots of folks eat animals because they don’t think of them as animals…supermarkets and the american beef council etc. help to foster this detachment. You seem to be such a lovely person so please know that I mean no ill will….keep smiling….glenn

    • lindsay says:

      Hi Glenn, thanks for the note and for stopping by the blog! Don’t worry, I will not eat the bunny. I don’t eat much meat but I do occasionally eat it. I’ve read (and thought) a lot about the ethics of eating meat, and have come to form my own opinions on the issue. Mostly, though, I just eat vegetables! Thanks again for stopping by.

  21. [...] house la grille smouldering smoked applewood seasoning and dried chili flakes. Basis of recipe from http://rosemarried.com/2011/06/23/sriracha-blackstrap-molasses-pulled-pork/. topped with some of the bbq sauce (note: i added a lot more sriracha, a bit of worchester and [...]

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