Friday, October 5, 2012

Apple Cider Pork...In the Slow Cooker!

Huge news….I’m wearing a sweatshirt.  Now that might not sound like huge news to you, but it is to me.  It means that it is no longer 185 degrees out.  By no means is it chilly, but at least I am not sweating like a you know what in church.  It also means that I feel a little bit better about putting up Halloween decorations.  It always feels weird to put them out when it is still summer like weather.  Apparently Mother Nature knew I wanted to get my decorate on this weekend, and she took pity on me.

I celebrated this minor drop in degrees with a pork roast in the slow cooker.  More specifically, my Apple Cider Pork Sandwiches.  I cooked a pork shoulder in the slow cooker with apples, onions and apple cider.  I shredded the pork and served it with a honey mustard spread, Gruyere cheese, all on pretzel rolls.  Crazy good, but really easy.  This recipe is just a few ingredients, and since it is a slow cooker recipe, it essentially cooks itself.

Let me show you how I did it, so you can do it too.


For the pork, I used a small pork shoulder, an onion, chicken broth, apple cider, garlic salt, black pepper and sliced green apples.

I didn’t use a spiced cider in this recipe, but you absolutely could.  My cider was just a mix of three apples.  I also chose green apples, but you can use whatever you have.


I started by seasoning my pork.  I seasoned both sides with garlic salt and pepper.


Browning your meat on the stovetop is an essential step to slow cooking.  I don’t care what anyone says to the contrary….you have to do this.  You cannot just drop your meat directly in to the slow cooker, usually.  A cut of meat like a pork shoulder or a beef roast must be browned first.  Otherwise you end up with a weird, greyish piece of mushy meat.  Browning the meat adds flavor and helps the texture of the meat.

So yeah, I browned my pork in a smidge of oil.  I just did a few minutes on each side.


I sliced my onion and placed it in the bottom of my slow cooker.  My pork will lie on a nice soft bed of sliced onions.  Comfy?  No.  Tasty?  Yes.


I added my browned pork and my chicken broth/apple cider combo.  I have tried this with straight apple juice.  The end result was too sweet for me.  I prefer the chicken broth/apple cider combo.

This cooked on low for 8 hours. 


After 7 hours, I added my sliced apples.  I did this because I wanted the apples to keep their shape and not turn into complete mush.  I realize this is hard if you are setting your slow cooker and then going to work, expecting your dinner to be ready when you get home.  If this is the case, add your apples when you get home and then wait as long as you can, even if it is just 30 minutes.


When the 8 hours was up, I removed my pork and it pretty much fell apart on its own.  I help it along with 2 forks.


Then, I added my pork back into the slow cooker.  The shredded meat will soak up all the juices in the pot. 

Look at the brown marks on the side of the slow cooker.  I sure am looking forward to cleaning that.  As of now, it is soaking in the sink where it will probably be till Monday.

So the pork is ready.  Now it is time to get the sandwiches ready.

Of course, you could eat the pork just like this.  You could serve it with potatoes, noodles or rice and be good to go.  I like this pork in sandwiches.  It is amazing with the honey mustard, cheese and pretzel rolls.  It is like Oktoberfest on a bun.


I used Gruyere cheese for my sandwich and Mr. Rooster’s sandwich.  My kids don’t like Gruyere because they have no taste.  I used a sharp cheddar on their sandwiches.


I also made a sauce out of mayo, mustard and honey.  Simple, simple.


This sauce is good with pretty much anything.


I sliced my pretzel rolls in half and threw them under the broiler to toast up.

I found my pretzel rolls at Wal-Mart, but I know you can also get them at Costco.  I think they are pretty much available everywhere.


Did I forget to mention that I put cheese on the rolls before I popped them in the broiler?  Well, I did.  I love getting the cheese all melty and gooey.


I made sure each sandwich had plenty of sauce, cheese, apples, onions and pork.  This sandwich will be messy.  Like “drip down your to your elbows” messy.


Yum!  This sandwich is sweet and savory at the same time.  Apples and pork are meant to be, and the cheese and sauce is the icing on the cake, so to speak.

I hope you try this recipe.  You will love it!  And then come over and clean my slow cooker.

Apple Cider Pork

3 lb. pork shoulder, boneless

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 ½ teaspoons garlic salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 large white onion, sliced

3 cups apple cider

1 cup chicken broth

2 apples, sliced

In a large deep sided pot, brown pork shoulder on all sides in oil, over medium high heat.

Place sliced onion in the bottom of slow cooker.  Add browned pork shoulder.  Pour apple cider and chicken broth over pork.  Cook on low for 8 hours.

After 7 hours, add apples and cook remaining hour.

Shred pork and return to slow cooker.

Serve on pretzel rolls topped with Gruyere cheese and honey mustard sauce.

Makes 12 sandwiches

Honey Mustard Sauce

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

3 tablespoons yellow mustard

2 tablespoon honey

Whisk ingredients together until smooth

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