Citrus Pulled Pork

If you're making pulled pork, making a little of it takes just about as much effort as making a giant pile of the stuff, so I never make a little pulled pork. I tend to buy the biggest boneless picnic roast I can manage to fit into my large slow cooker -- something nearing 10 pounds -- and make enough to feed a crowd or freeze in batches for quick and easy meals all summer long. Whether you are looking to have an epic party in the back yard for Independence Day or wanting to float through summer with weekly infusions of some absolutely fantastic pulled pork, I've got you covered.

While the cook times on this meal are pretty intense, nearly all of it falls into the set it and forget it category. So mix together the flavorful slow cooking liquid, get that meat on its way, and tend to making the basting/grilling sauce at your leisure. It all comes together easy peasy.

A note: the slow cooked pork will leave a fair bit of liquid behind in the slow cooker. If you are wise, you'll put that into a container and put it in your refrigerator for use in everything from stews to risotto to reheating pulled pork. That's a gift to your kitchen from your slow cooker!

What to do with it when you're done grilling it? I set it out in the stainless steel pan I grilled it in (I highly recommend accumulating a collection of grillware) and set out forks for pulling strips of the tender meat off the roast. Then, tuck it into tacos, sandwiches, or over rice ... or just put it on a plate and dig in! Now that's a feast. Oh, and serve that pork with any leftover basting sauce. It's amazing.

Citrus Pulled Pork

  • 7-9 lb. pork picnic roast
  • ⅓ cup lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup bourbon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoon fresh minced or grated ginger
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste (I added 2 teaspoons & considered it medium spicy)

Season the pork roast on all sides with kosher salt and black pepper. Place in a large slow cooker insert. Mix together the next five ingredients (lemon juice through ginger) and pour over the roast in the slow cooker. Slow cook on LOW for 6 hours. Allow the roast to continue super slow cooking on the WARM setting until ready to proceed to grilling.

The sauce can be made before, during, or after slow cooking the pork. Store it refrigerated in a container until ready for use. To make the sauce, place the sugar, orange juice, zest, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, and red pepper flakes in a saucepan. Turn the heat to medium and cook on low until thickened. The sauce will be an amber, almost clear sauce at this point.

When you are ready to grill, prepare a grill over medium heat. Carefully lift the roast out of the slow cooker and place it in a heavy metal baking dish, roasting rack, or similar grill-proof container covered in heavy duty aluminum foil. Grill the roast, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes to crisp the edges. Baste it with the prepared sauce every 10 minutes until finished and serve the pork with additional sauce. To serve, pulled strips of the roast with forks and serve in buns, taco shells, or over rice.

  • Yields: Enough to feed a big crowd (15-20 people)
  • Preparation Time: About 7 hours (mostly slow cooking time)