The Ideal Amount Of Liquid To Use When Slow Cooking Pork, According To A Chef

Slow-cooked pork with chiles and herbs
Slow-cooked pork with chiles and herbs - AS Foodstudio/Shutterstock

Slow-cooked pork is a down-South delicacy, and finding the best methods to cook it shouldn't be taken lightly. The quality of the barbecue sauce, the best seasonings for flavoring it, and even the proper amount of liquid to use are all things to take into consideration. The latter is an important part of getting the best pulled pork, so we spoke to an expert to determine the right amount of liquid to use for slow-cooker pork.

Pulled pork should be obscenely tender with a delicateness that melts into your mouth with each bite. It takes adding the perfect amount of liquid to achieve this, and Rich Parente, chef and owner of Clock Tower Grill in Brewster, New York, has the formula. "When slow-cooking pork, I usually use enough liquid to leave a quarter of the meat uncovered, which usually comes out to a half cup of liquid per pound of meat," he explains. The 2:1 ratio uses just enough liquid to make the pork succulent without entering the mushy category. Using too much liquid runs the risk of diminishing the flavors that you've added to the pork.

Although the top part of the pork isn't submerged, the steam from the slow cooker provides plenty of moisture. In the heat of the enclosure, the pork begins to "sweat," keeping the meat juicy. If you don't use enough liquid, you could potentially wind up with dry or even burnt pork.

Read more: 13 Underrated Cuts Of Meat You Should Be Grilling

What Liquids Should You Use For Slow-Cooked Pork?

Slow-cooked pork with barbecue sauce
Slow-cooked pork with barbecue sauce - Mironov Vladimir/Shutterstock

Aside from barbecue sauce, something tangy and sweet is a good go-to for slow-cooked pork. Apple cider vinegar has the right amount of acidity to break down the fattiness and is equipped with a bright flavor that pairs beautifully with pork. Using liquids you would normally drink is also a good choice. A splash of apple cider is the key to tender and juicy pulled pork; it has a delicate tang that's tempered by sweetness. Plus, it's loaded with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and other warming spices that produce delicious pork.

You can also marinate pork in Dr Pepper for optimal tenderness. Fizzy drinks easily turn a slab of pork shoulder into tender strips of pork. With the 23 flavors that Dr Pepper boasts, the pork is sure to be well-seasoned. For pork that's brighter in taste, spring for orange soda or juice. Beer also delivers a nice, subtle flavor to pork; use dark, nutty ones like porters and stouts to give the pork a boost of sweetness.

Since the pork has plenty of time to marinate in the slow cooker, you can also build flavor by combining various sauces and liquids. You can create any concoction you want as long as the final result follows Parente's 2:1 ratio. Worcestershire sauce with cola is a classic combo for slow-cooked pork, but barbecue sauce and orange juice, a pale ale and apple cider vinegar, or Dijon mustard and honey are equally as delicious combos.

Read the original article on Tasting Table