Today was my pulled pork adventure. Last night I put the 9 lb bone-in rump roast in the crock pot and I let it simmer on low all night. I chose a rump roast because the website I found the recipe on said to choose a very fatty cut. The meat shreds better if there is a high fat content.
I was nervous leaving the roast on all night because it spent 12 hours cooking and I was worried that the meat would come out dry or over cooked. I threw about a half cup of water into the crock pot just to be sure I didn't completely ruin the meat.
This morning I came down and the fat from the meat had melted and almost filled the crock pot! I'm not sure the water was necessary. I don't know of any way to use the fat so I drained it and threw it away. (My trash man hates me, I'm sure, but he has good reason. I'll have a post elaborating why in the future.) I thought about throwing it outside but the fat would attract vermin. I'm not excited about the idea of attracting possum and field mice to my home. I like guests but not the furry-get-in-my-food-storage kind.
After tossing the fat and juices, I poured the meat onto my large cutting board that I laid across the sink. I didn't want to clean up pork juices for the next week and this way anything that leaked just went into the sink.
When I dumped the meat out, the bone popped out of the roast. I wasn't looking forward to cutting it out so this came as a very happy surprise. I'm not an expert but I assume it is because I let it cook for so long. I didn't throw the bone away. I have neighbors with dogs so I will see if any of them need a new chew toy. (They are outdoor dogs.)
Next, I got to work separating the meat from the remaining fat and shredding the meat. I used two regular dinner forks to manipulate everything. The pork basically fell apart. The fat slid right off and I merely pushed it to the side.
When I was done, I had a huge mound of pork and a small pile of gristle left. Honestly, I was surprised how much meat remained after I was done. There seemed to be more meat after I pulled it apart.
I threw the meat back in the crock pot and it filled to the top! I grabbed one of the 40oz bottles of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce and dumped the whole thing in the crock pot. After mixing, I realized that 40 oz. wasn't quite enough. I grabbed an open bottle of BBQ sauce from the fridge and poured the rest into the crock pot. Even then, I think the pork could have used a touch more barbecue sauce. I plan on buying three bottles of 40oz Barbecue sauce in the future since the chicken and potatoes from yesterday used one bottle and a little extra and the 9 lb pulled pork takes one and a little extra as well.
I wanted to try the pulled pork today so we had pulled pork sandwiches for lunch. We had carrots and watermelon to round out the meal. Of course, no recipe will please everyone except for pizza but over all, the kids ate. The Sweet Baby Ray's sauce was a hit. It's tasty!
As a tip, I used a pasta spoon to dish out the pork. In case you don't know what I am talking about, it's like a regular serving spoon with slots in the cup area then tines (like fingers) coming up from the sides. It's easier to serve pasta with it and it's also great for grabbing the shredded meat.
After the meat cooled more, I divvied up the rest into quart sized baggies. As I learned yesterday, I marked the bags before I filled them. I dated them just in case one gets lost in the back of the freezer and I find it 3 months from now. Knowing when I made the pork will help me decide if we can still eat it or if I should throw it out. I think the rule of thumb is throw it out after 6 months if it's in an upright freezer and 1 year if it's a chest freezer. If anyone knows for sure, please comment. I have an upright freezer so I will only be planning for 6 months or so of use.
At this point, I have made 5 bags of chicken and potatoes, 7 bags of cookie dough, 25 twice baked potatoes and three bags of pulled pork. I spent $52.51 on the materials for those 13 meals and 7 desserts. That's approximately $4.00 a meal (counting the cost of dessert). After adding miscellaneous fillers to dinners like fruit, vegis and bread, I'm estimating $5.00 a meal. The pork is a big part of what tipped the price per meal up. Also, I didn't shop any deals. After cooking all the meals with the materials and slowly building a reserve, I am going to start shopping only when there is a great deal on meats and other ingredients. My goal is to drop the price per meal to $2-3.00. This will be a challenge but I'm confident I can do it.
I wanted to get to the meat loaf and enchiladas today but I have errands to run. I'm grabbing 5 gallon buckets for the washing machine detergent I am making as well as to transfer some wheat. Tomorrow I'll elaborate on the wheat fiasco.