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Monday, February 27, 2012

Raspberry Honey Pulled Pork - a Crock Pot Experiment

I have long resisted the cooking appliance of modern convenience known as the Crock Pot.

Although I could go into a long philosophical rant on whether or not Crock Pot cooking is actually cooking, I also realize that many of my own creations deal with chopping things up into smaller pieces and throwing it together in a pan.

I mean - I just posted a caponata recipe last week. So I don't think my argument would carry much weight.

Instead, let me simply say that my mouth doesn't water much for dishes that are already watery.

By this, I mean that I do not care much for au jus, broths or dishes that involve considerable splashing while eating them. I prefer thicker, creamier, heart-arresting sauces or gravies.

Therefore, I've only used the Crock Pot once in the past 10-20 (or 38) years or so, and it only was only to cook a beef tongue, which I sliced up for tacos (really good if you can overcome the idea of tongue).

But a strange thing happened when blogger friend Amie Kanengeiser found herself on "New Day Cleveland" with a BBQ Pulled Chicken Recipe...

...and I thought the recipe looked good!

I suddenly had a change of heart and my mind declared, Maybe I should give the Crock Pot a second chance. Perhaps I can even put my own twist to a dish.

Later that same day, while working out with my trainer, an idea struck me....

Instead of using water or broth, maybe I can use fruit and honey for a less watery result!

So here are the ingredients I used for this Crock Pot Experiment:

  • 2 pounds pork shoulder
  • 1 onion
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries
  • honey

This is a rather simple set of ingredients...

...and it all looked easy enough...

...but, after a layer of chopped onion, I realized that the pork bone didn't fit... I had to cut it up in pieces.

And do you notice that potato slice at the bottom right corner of the pic?

I originally was going to include red skin potatoes to soak up the extra juice, but there was no room for them either.

But don't worry - if the dish got too water, I had a Plan B!

I crushed some raspberries with my hand and mixed them a bit with the pork, putting more onion on top...

...and then poured some local honey over it all.

Once that was completed, I set the Crock Pot to low...

...and let it cook...

...and cook.

After 4 hours, I checked it and it had cooked pretty well...

...but the pork still wasn't very tender... I decided to pull it apart and toss it back in for another hour...

...which actually made a huge difference.

But I still had to deal with all the raspberry-honey-au jus... I made a ton of Japanese sushi rice to pour it over...

...and it made me a happy guy at lunchtime.



  1. Good to hear!! Looks excellent. You said you avoid the gravy/au jus - thing, but you did exactly what I do when cooking a beef or pork roast: Let it go for x hours, then pull it out and shred it and let it go for at least another hour. Very tender and it absorbs more juice. I got home after seeing you at GE, telling the fam "Guess what Kris is gonna cook?" And when I told them, I got "Ew." No one here shares the meat + sweet cooking desire.

    Good job!

  2. Lunch plate looks good there! rice is healthier than potatoes, but I'd probably be tempted to put it on a bun, North Carolina pulled-pork style & add some vinegar into the au jus to add a bit of tart to the sweet.

  3. I love your idea of using fresh fruit and honey! I will definitely try your recipe- it looks and sounds wonderful!!! And oh my goodness, Kristian, you are so sweet giving me the lovely mention! THANK YOU! I love my crock pot. There are surprisingly so many things you can do with it, I am amazed. Although i tend to go the pulled chicken/pulled pork route, I am looking into maybe trying some of the desserts.... hmmm.

  4. I can't believe you've never really taken to the Crock Pot! I love mine. I've even made stuffed peppers in it. Your recipe looks tasty except for that abnormally red color - can't believe it kept the color with so few raspberries. But as long as it tasted good! Love the blog as always. Today I especially love the video of Amie!