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Cheap BBQ Pulled Pork Recipe Can Feed a Crowd

One of the best ways to save money on food is cooking at home using recipes that utilize an inexpensive cut of meat. The problem is that many people think cheap cuts of meat equals tough, or otherwise poor quality meat. This is not always the case. In fact, some of the cheapest cuts of meat produce the best tasting dishes you’ve probably ever had. Cheap foods can still be healthy, good and save you money. No, this is not traditional barbecue, which requires low and slow cooking with real smoke. While I do have a smoker and make traditionally smoked pulled pork, this is a great winter substitute, or simply a way for those of you without smokers to achieve a great pulled pork dish from the comfort of your kitchen.
That’s why today we’re looking at the pork butt, Boston butt, pork shoulder, or whatever you want to call it. It’s a cut of meat that hardly anyone buys because it’s something you can’t just whip together in 15 minutes and requires low and slow cooking. If you’re a busy parent you may be thinking this recipe isn’t for you, but you’re wrong! The magic of this dish is that it only requires a crock pot and about five minutes of prep work and it cooks itself. Even better, you can usually end up with over 5 pounds of BBQ pulled pork to feed your family for days or entertain a crowd for a little more than $10. How frugal is that? It’s especially great for a super bowl party and if you pair it up with your own home brewed beer your guests will be sure to have a great time.

For the working person this is an ideal crock pot recipe because you can literally dump everything into the pot before you leave for work in the morning, turn it on, and come home to the most tender and delicious pork shoulder you’ve ever had. Since you should ideally cook this for 8-12 hours it’s perfect for those long days at the office or just cooking overnight on a Saturday so you have a no-fuss meal ready for Sunday with leftovers to last most of the coming week. It’s up to you, but it’s impossible to mess up so don’t worry about trying to time out the recipe exactly. I once started cooking this and had something come up and the pork ended up going for nearly 24 hours. It wasn’t even a problem and tasted as good as always.

Ingredients and Cost

Above you’ll see everything you need to make this recipe.

5-7 pound whole pork shoulder (Pork Butt, Boston Butt, etc.) It’s up to you, but it’s impossible to mess up so don’t worry about trying to time out the recipe exactly. I once started cooking this and had something come up and the pork ended up going for nearly 24 hours. It wasn’t even a problem and tasted as good as always.

Ingredients and Cost

5-7 pound whole pork shoulder (Pork Butt, Boston Butt, etc.) $0.99-$1.39/lb (Around $7 total) 1 medium to large onion $0.99 A few cloves of garlic $0.25 BBQ Rub Seasoning $2-$3 Liquid Smoke $1.49 BBQ Sauce $3.00 Salt and pepper

I want to talk about a few of these ingre.99-.39/lb (Around total)

1 medium to large onion It’s up to you, but it’s impossible to mess up so don’t worry about trying to time out the recipe exactly. I once started cooking this and had something come up and the pork ended up going for nearly 24 hours. It wasn’t even a problem and tasted as good as always. 5-7 pound whole pork shoulder (Pork Butt, Boston Butt, etc.) $0.99-$1.39/lb (Around $7 total) 1 medium to large onion $0.99 A few cloves of garlic $0.25 BBQ Rub Seasoning $2-$3 Liquid Smoke $1.49 BBQ Sauce $3.00 Salt and pepper

I want to talk about a few of these ingre.99

A few cloves of garlic It’s up to you, but it’s impossible to mess up so don’t worry about trying to time out the recipe exactly. I once started cooking this and had something come up and the pork ended up going for nearly 24 hours. It wasn’t even a problem and tasted as good as always. 5-7 pound whole pork shoulder (Pork Butt, Boston Butt, etc.) $0.99-$1.39/lb (Around $7 total) 1 medium to large onion $0.99 A few cloves of garlic $0.25 BBQ Rub Seasoning $2-$3 Liquid Smoke $1.49 BBQ Sauce $3.00 Salt and pepper

I want to talk about a few of these ingre.25

BBQ Rub Seasoning Liquid Smoke .49 BBQ Sauce .00 Salt and pepper

I want to talk about a few of these ingredients before we get started. First, the pork itself. What it’s actually called will vary by location. In some places it’s just a pork shoulder, in others it’s a butt, and sometimes even specifically referred to as a Bostom Butt. Regardless of what it’s called, it’s a hunk of meat from the top part of the front shoulder of a hog and in the whole form as we have here, usually includes part of the shoulder blade bone inside. This is what we’re looking for with pulled pork and it should be incredibly cheap.

Here’s mine. As you can see, we call it a Boston Butt up here. You’ll also notice I picked it up for just a dollar a pound. This was actually marked down slightly because it was one day before the sell by date. Regular price was $1.39/lb. Since this cut isn’t very popular it’s not uncommon to see these sit on the shelves for a few days and then get marked down to try and get rid of them. If you keep your eye out and plan your meals ahead of time you can almost always snag one for really cheap a day or so before the sell by date.

I also wanted to touch on the two other ingredients that may be a little confusing to you. First is the liquid smoke. If you recall from my award-winning chili recipe, I use liquid smoke as part of a marinade. This is the same stuff and we use it in this recipe because we’re trying to replicate some of that authentic smoked barbecue flavor. Before the hate mail begins flooding in I do want to make a note that even though we’re making BBQ pulled pork, this is not authentic barbecue. In order to achieve that you need to smoke the meat for a number of hours low and slow. If you have a smoker and can do this yourself, then by all means do so. But for the folks who don’t have a smoker or want to make something as close as possible from the comfort of their kitchen this is the next best thing.

Finally, we have the BBQ rub seasoning. I happen to keep Stub’s brand on hand in our house, but if you already have a favorite BBQ rub that you use that’s fine too. If you don’t have a pre-made rub you can easily make your own with a few household spices you already have. In a small bowl mix in some salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika, garlic and onion powder. This is a real common mixture and it is a great rub to use on a lot of different things.

Total Cost

So far our cost for this recipe is a little under $15, and that’s if we have to buy everything listed. If you already stock onions, garlic, BBQ sauce and spices in your pantry you’re e really only looking at the cost of the meat itself. I can’t think of a cheaper meal.

Preparing the Pork

Do you hate spending a bunch of time in the kitchen chopping and cutting food just to get it ready for cooking, which then requires you to stand around tending to it for another half hour? Me too, which is why you’re going to love this recipe. First, take the onion and few cloves of garlic and give them a rough chop. Just quarter the onions if you want. Nothing fancy at all.

Now, just dump the onions and garlic into your crock pot. Go ahead and give them a good few pinches of kosher salt and some freshly ground black pepper. That’s it, we’re done with the vegetables already.

Now you just need to season the pork. Give it a nice good coating of the store-bought BBQ rub or your own spice mix. Don’t be shy as it’s nearly impossible to over season it at this point. If you really want some flavor you can season it and then wrap it in plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge overnight so that some of the flavors begin to really get absorbed into the meat. That is totally optional, but also totally delicious.

Drop the pork into the crock pot with the rest of the ingredients and it’s time to add some of the liquid smoke. This stuff is concentrated so a little bit goes a long way. For this recipe I usually use 1-2 tablespoons. We will be discarding the cooking liquid when we’re done anyway.

To top things off you’re going to want to fill it about two-thirds of the way with water. Be careful and don’t over fill it because it will get boiling and bubbling and you don’t want to make a mess on your counter to clean.



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