Slowly cooking a big hunk of tough, inexpensive meat isn’t just the best way to cook this cut of meat. It’s really the only way.
Most tough cuts of meat come from the hardest working parts of the animal, and therefore have a lot of collagen. This collagen needs to be broken down and converted to gelatin for the meat to become tender, and that is accomplished by low and slow cooking.
Here, if you want to rub the meat with the spice rub the night before and leave it loosely covered in the fridge overnight, the dry rub will season the meat a little more deeply. But this isn’t a heavily seasoned roast, so it’s a step that you can skip if you don’t have time or fridge space.
This meat can be eaten just as it is, with any kind of starchy side from mashed or roasted potatoes to rice to orzo or another pasta. Or you can make it into tacos by wrapping the meat in warmed, soft corn or flour tortillas and adding in whatever feels right: avocados, shredded cheese, a dollop of crème fraiche or sour cream, salsas of any kind, fresh cilantro leaves, pickled onions, fresh onions, chopped tomatoes, shredded zucchini.
You could also use this meat in enchiladas, burritos or any kind of Mexican-inspired casserole. Finely shred it and add to huevos rancheros? Pork sandwiches with barbecue sauce, perhaps?
There is no such thing as leftover slow-cooker pork. There is only another brilliant pork dinner waiting to happen.
Slow-Cooked Pork Roast
6 hours start to finish
3 tablespoons brown sugar, light or dark
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika, hot or sweet
1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 5-pound boneless pork butt roast
1/2 cup dry white wine
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, garlic, oil, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Rub it all over the roast. Place the roast in a roasting pan, preferably in a wire rack. Add the wine.
Cook on low heat for five to six hours, until it has a nice crust and the meat is falling-apart tender.
Remove the roast from the oven and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Use a fork or two to shred the meat into nice-size pieces.
Katie Workman has written two cookbooks focused on easy, family-friendly cooking, “Dinner Solved!” and “The Mom 100 Cookbook.”