Crock Pot Pulled Pork and Sweet Potato Fries

Pulled Pork Sandwich & Sweet Potato Fries

The weather here surprised us all by hitting 90 degrees yesterday, and today, it’s nearly 100.  San Diego is really a desert, so of course it gets that hot here, but rarely at this time of year, and even more rarely near the coast.  The sweltering dry heat that we’re more familiar with comes late summer in August, or even September, and as much as individuals from the East Coast enjoy reminding us we don’t have to deal with humidity, heat is heat, and I’m not cut out for it.

Plans of baking and slow braising pork went out the window until I realized I could blow the dust off my crock pot.  Literally.  It’s been in the garage since our construction when I removed anything from my kitchen that doesn’t get regular use.  Of course the crock pot could be perfect; no heat in the kitchen to make things worse, and a relatively fuss-free dinner after the sun dipped below the horizon.

Plan B allowed me to be able to sit on my patio alternating between the sun and the shade (because it will take a bit of effort to get some color into my winter legs and a trip to Puerta Vallarta with girlfriends is in the works…), reading my book, and enjoying the breeze we are lucky enough to have on this hill.    By tomorrow, it’s supposed to be 30 degrees cooler if you can believe that.

I don’t.  They never quite seem to get the weather reports right here!

Pulled Pork Sandwiches and Sweet Potato Fries

5 lbs. pork shoulder roast

1 lg. white onion, sliced

For the rub…

1 tsp. fennel seed

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground corriander

1 T smoked paprika

1-1/2 tsp. chili powder

1-1/2 tsp. onion powder

1-1/2 tsp. sea salt

For the braise…

1 can mango apricot nectar (14.5 oz)

About 1 c. water

Rubbed Pork  and Onions Slow Cooker

Mix the dry ingredients and rub over all surfaces of the pork.  Divide the sliced onions in half and place one half on the bottom of the crock pot, place the meat over the top, then spread the remaining half of onions over the top.  Pour the mango apricot nectar over all, and add about 1/2 can of water.  Place the lid on the crockpot and cook on high for about 5 hours.  Lift meat from the broth and set on a platter.  Scoop out the onions and add them to the pork.  Using a couple of forks, pull apart the pieces of pork, removing any bones. Taste and correct seasoning.

Slow Cooked Pork Pulled Pork

For the slaw…

3-4 sliced radishes

2 c. sliced green cabbage

1/4 sliced red onion

1/2 head radicchio, sliced

1/4 c. cilantro, chopped

3-4 bottled peppers, sliced (like pepperoncini)

2-3 T red or white wine vinegar

sprinkle of salt

Slaw

About 1 hour before serving, mix all ingredients in a large bowl, cover and let sit at room temperature.  Toss occasionally.

For the corn…

Shave the kernels off two cobs of fresh sweet corn.  Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat until very warm and pour in the kernels.  Heat, stirring only occasionally to allow the corn to begin to brown.  Add seasoning, and a few pinches of chopped cilantro and some sliced green onions.  A squirt of fresh lime juice finishes it.  Remove from heat.

skillet corn

To make the sandwiches…

Partially split some crusty sandwich rolls and fill with the pork mixture.  Add some of the slaw and top with a sprinkle of the skillet corn.  Season with salt and pepper and dig in.

Pulled Pork Sandwich

To make the sweet potato fries…

While the pork is in the crock pot, place 2-3 whole sweet potatoes in a pot of water to cover.  Bring to a boil and cook for10  minutes, then remove from the water to let cool.  After you’re finished making the slaw and corn above, peel the cooled potatoes and slice into 1/4″ sticks.  Heat a deep narrow pot with vegetable oil.  Using a thermometer to keep an eye on the heat, allow the oil to heat to 325 degrees F.  Working in batches, carefully lower the sticks into the hot oil.  Let fry about 3 to 4  minutes then remove to a platter covered with paper towels.  Repeat until all the sticks are cooked.  Allow to sit for at least 10-15 minutes.  Bring the oil back up to 375 degrees F for the second fry. Cook in batches until just beginning to brown.  Drain on a fresh set of paper towels and sprinkle with some season salt, or any seasoning of your choice.

sweet potato fries IMG_3314

Notes:

  • The pork has nice flavor.  It’s lightly sweet, but nothing like something smothered in barbeque sauce.  Don’t get me wrong.  I enjoy that once every blue moon, but prefer to taste the meat more than the sauce.  I know we just had these a couple of months ago, so this is somewhat of a record!
  • I used two smaller pork shoulder roasts, each about 2-1/2 lbs. each.  They pack the crock pot so there’s not much room for liquid.  Speaking of liquid, I’d leave out the water and just go with the juice.
  • If I’d thought about this longer than I did, I’d have left the rub on over night before cooking.
  • The slaw just needs to be something you enjoy.  Whether it’s the vegetables or a type of sauce, play around with it.  I like a light, tart taste, so this was perfect.  I love the corn in the mix.  I love the corn period.  It’s so easy to make, and like the slaw, you can do what you want to it.  The most important aspect is to let it sit to begin to caramelize.  Garlic is good mixed in, any kind of onion, different herbs.  And if you don’t have fresh corn, then frozen works fine, but thaw it out first and make sure it’s well drained before it goes in the pan.
  • Okay, so those sweet potatoes….Oh.  My.  The flavor is amazing.  We couldn’t get them crispy crunchy like the last batch of regular fries we made, but we’re hooked and ready to experiment.  I’m wondering about slicing rounds to get them thinner.  That just might work.  And I definitely know the oven is a possibility, but remember that if your oil is the right temperature, the fries won’t be greasy.
  • This is one of the more inexpensive dinners we’ve had lately and it’s going to get even cheaper…
  • We have tons of pork left over so I’m going to experiment with another sandwich.  Maybe a take on a Cubano.  Have you had one before?

35 thoughts on “Crock Pot Pulled Pork and Sweet Potato Fries

  1. Wish you could bring me one of those sandwiches! I really don’t feel like cooking anything tonight!

  2. mmm yes Kelly! I might even pickle those red onion rings even more. Looks delicious. I know it’s hot out there, but here it’s mid-50s and rainy. We want warmth again!

    1. Giff you’re so right on the pickle. Last time I let it get much softer. This is more like adding a salad to it which is nice because of the crunch, but not quite the same as what you’re thinking.

  3. kelly, kelly, kelly. you’re killing me here. the pork is clearly superior–what a fabulous rub for it. the slaw is absolutely beautiful, and i’m such a fan of any and all corn. as if that weren’t enough, you tossed in some amazing fries.

    killing me.

  4. I love the slaw you put on the sandwich Kelly! The colors make you think of a nice hot day in the summer! The fires look great but I’ll wait until you’ve perfected them and they are nice and crsipy before trying! LOL!

    1. Thanks Judy! After a bit of research, it seems other are having the same trouble whether they’re double fried, baked first, boiled first — you name it. I’ll have to figure it out!

  5. This looks unbelievably good! The slaw and the corn bring this to the glorious level for me.
    90° I melt and need AC to just barely survive. Up in the woods on the lake well 90° is not going to happen till August but it maybe 90° in Dallas next week.

    1. It’s a “cool” 84 today — much better than yesterday, but if the past two days hadn’t been so hot, I’d be complaining about today. I’m weak! I want my 72 degrees and that’s it. We suffered without the AC. Talk about a restless night… ; )

    1. You could totally do this in a Dutch oven. In fact, your oven would be just fine. Check the link at the bottom of the post for the last time I made this. A bit different, but good! Casper, huh? That means you won’t have ANY wrinkles, girl.

  6. Just looking at your pulled pork makes me want to weep…looks so delicious!!! It is incredibly hot here too! It’s raining a bit now and cooling things down but it never stays cool for long…hmmm, maybe I should finally get a crockpot 🙂

    1. Sorry about the weather. It really takes it out of me when it’s hot. On the crock pot, I used it more when I was working umpteen gazillion hours a day, but it’s nice to have and it does save energy. Think I prefer the roasty oven slow method best, but not on hot days.

  7. Did you say Cubano? When am I coming over?? Love those things.

    I do crockpot stuff on busy baseball nights, so I will def. do a pulled pork sometime soon. This looks soooo much better than the bbq we had, doesn’t it?

    1. They turned out great but I was a slacker in the photo shoot department and didn’t take photos. I get tired of it at times and it actually feels like playing hookey or something. I froze the rest of the pork, so trust me — there will be my version of a Cubano posted soon!

  8. Yum…I can always use more slow cooker recipes and a little pulled pork sounds perfect. I love the addition of mango apricot nectar. Brilliant!

    1. Thanks! The apricot flavor wasn’t as pronounced as I would have liked, so I’m sure there will be more experimentation on the horizon!

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