As winter continues to drag on, and school becomes increasingly stressful, a slow cooker can be your best friend. A slow cooker (also known as a crock pot) will allow you to make comforting, homemade, but incredibly simple meals with almost no prep work.
While a slow cooker may not be a student kitchen staple, they’re easy to find for little to no money. Even new, a basic slow cooker can be found for $30-$40, and a second-hand one can be found for significantly less at garage sales, Value Village, or on kijiji or Craigslist.
Once you have a slow cooker, there’s no shortage of easy recipes you can take advantage of, but a good starter recipe is pulled pork. Not only is it a delicious crowd-pleaser, but it’s also almost impossible to mess up, and quite affordable to make. Don’t get overwhelmed by the number of ingredients; I promise it’s easy to make. Also note: if you’re the only one eating this, you don’t need to cut open all 8 buns right away. Cut and toast your buns as you need them.
To start, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 (4 pound) pork shoulder roast
- 1 cup barbeque sauce
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 extra large onion, chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 8 hamburger buns, split
And now for the instructions:
- Pour the vegetable oil into the bottom of a slow cooker. Put the pork roast in the slow cooker – making sure to remove any string that may be tied around the roast. Add the barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar, and chicken broth and then stir in the brown sugar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, chopped onion, garlic and thyme. Cover the slow cooker (it should have a lid) and cook on high until the roast shreds easily with a fork, 5 to 6 hours. Alternatively, you can cook on low for 10-12 hours—which allows you to leave your food cooking all day while you study/procrastinate on Facebook.
- After the 5-6 hours are up (or 10-12, if you’re cooking on low), remove the roast from the slow cooker, and shred the meat using two forks. The meat should shred easily. Put the shredded pork back into the slow cooker, and stir the meat into the juices.
- Toast your hamburger bun (or buns, if you’re serving multiple people) in the toaster or the oven, and then spoon a hearty serving of the shredded pork into the bun.
And that’s it, you’re done! If you’re eating this alone, this recipe should make enough pulled pork to last you at least a few meals. Pulled pork goes well with a cold beer, and you can serve it with salad if you want to feel virtuous.