Can this pulled pork be saved?
August 10, 2017 4:42 PM   Subscribe

Help! I was slow-cooking a chunk of "pork picnic roast" in my crockpot all day, 7 hours on low, but it's so tough I feel like I'm trying to rip apart phone books. How can I salvage this?

Okay, I've made this before, same cut of meat, and it was so simple and it fell apart just by looking at it. This morning I put the roast fat side up on a bed of sliced onions and poured in an inch or two of chicken broth.

Last time I had smothered it in BBQ sauce before cooking but recipes actually say not to add BBQ sauce until after cooking so I used chicken broth instead. An hour ago when I checked, the fat had not melted off the top and when I pulled the plug, it still was intact on top. The pork is cooked but it seems tough.

The only difference I can think of is that this roast had a big ol' bone in the middle which affects it... how?

Right now it's in chunks in a bowl on the counter with the liquid still in the cooling slow cooker. The slab of fat is in the colander. Is there anything I can do to rescue this? It's edible enough and BBQ sauce will disguise it somewhat but is it too late to get it to the falling apart stage?
posted by TWinbrook8 to Food & Drink (19 answers total)
 
I mean, are you needing it tonight? If you put it back on heat it will keep breaking down - it's not too late for that. A lot of us have taken pork off heat too soon, realized it was still tough (it can be temperamental), and put it back on the heat.
posted by ftm at 4:45 PM on August 10 [6 favorites]


No, this is actually for the weekend. So I can just dump it back into the crockpot until... the fat melts?
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:49 PM on August 10


The bone makes a big difference. Just keep cooking it.
posted by JPD at 4:50 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


Yeah, put it back in and put the fat in. Check it in 2 hours, and then hour intervals after.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:50 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


The only difference I can think of is that this roast had a big ol' bone in the middle which affects it... how?

It makes it take longer. Crock pots are... weirdly low-temperature. Like, under 200. Keep cooking it. It might dry out before it gets tender, but c'est la crock-pot vie.
posted by supercres at 4:51 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


It's not the fat you need to render, it's the collagen and for that you need an internal temp of 170ish.
posted by JPD at 4:51 PM on August 10 [5 favorites]


Lyn Never: on low or high? I know it takes a long time to get to a decent temperature.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:53 PM on August 10


My understanding is that the top temperature in crockpots is always the same, the difference between Hi and Lo is the speed at which it arrives at the top temperature. Put it on Hi.
posted by rhizome at 4:56 PM on August 10 [3 favorites]


Okay, thanks all.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:14 PM on August 10


Something I would recommend, just because I find it a little freaky that the fat didn't even melt, is run it for 2 hours (I'd do high for the reasons suggested) and stick a meat/probe thermometer into the liquid and make sure it's at least 185. Honestly, it should be lightly simmering, over 200.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:35 PM on August 10 [4 favorites]


Everyone else is right, one additional note: a little BBQ sauce or simple vinegar will also help break it down a little faster.
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:46 PM on August 10 [4 favorites]


Yeah I've never used a slow cooker, but outside of a sous-vide scenario there is no reasonable "speed" (temperature, really) that would leave a pork butt cooked (over 160F internal temp) but still tough (never having reached 180 internal temp) after 7 hours. I suspect the thermostat on your device is malfunctioning.
posted by STFUDonnie at 5:55 PM on August 10 [3 favorites]


When I'm smoking a pork butt, the recommended cooking time is 10-12 hours.
posted by lazuli at 7:27 PM on August 10


Just needs more time. It gets seized-up hard shortly before it starts falling apart.
posted by Miko at 7:34 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


I have had pork shoulders take wayyyy longer than they're supposed to. They wound up delicious in the end though!
posted by lunasol at 7:37 PM on August 10


Another vote for more time, on high. Til you stick a fork in it and it falls apart.
posted by slateyness at 9:08 PM on August 10


Another vote for more time. I used to cook pork shoulder in a slow cooker overnight for approximately 10 hours. My recipe didnt include any liquid at all so I don't know if that's the problem.
posted by notheotherone at 9:56 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Keep cooking. Add some wine or vinegar, too.
posted by desuetude at 10:43 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


When I'm doing pork shoulder, especially bone it I usually start it the night before. The meat is much tougher and really needs something like 10-12 hours to be tasty and delicious. It's ready once the bone falls out of its own accord. A pork tenderloin is a nicer (more expensive, less fatty) cut and would be OK after something like 6-8.
posted by PearlRose at 8:02 AM on August 11


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