If you’ve had enough ground hamburger and grilled chicken to last you a lifetime, then it’s time you investigate the other white meat: pork! Pork can often have a bad name (and taste) because it can dry out really quickly. However, if you prepare it appropriately, pork can be the tastiest of all! The key is paying attention to your cut of meat, your cook time, and your brine or rub. Cook the pork too long, and it’s dry and inedible. Cook it correctly and you’ve got something truly delicious on your hands. I love cooking shredded pork because it’s so versatile and easy to make ahead. I’ve included a few pork recipes that use shredded pork as a base. Having some glass Tupperware (like these) on hand help to keep your pork from drying out. It’s also a good idea to liberally sauce your pork with drippings from the pan or bottled sauce to help the flavors marinate and keep the meat tender. Happy cooking!
Pork Recipes To “HOG” The Spotlight
Recipe 01: Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Tangy and a little spicy, this recipe is great for beginners and pros alike. This is one of my favorite pork recipes!
- 1 finely chopped onion
- 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 4 medium sweet potatoes
- 1 tsp. mustard powder
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 4 medium sweet potatoes
- 1 trimmed pork shoulder (3-4 lbs)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Coleslaw and buns for serving
Start by mixing the onion, ketchup, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, paprika, garlic powder, mustard powder, and cumin together in a mixing bowl until completely combined. Next, season your pork shoulder with salt and pepper before placing into your slow cooker (don’t have one? Grab this one!). Then smother your pork shoulder with the tomato paste before placing the lid on and cooking on High for 5-6 hours or Low for 8-10 hours. I prefer cooking meat on low for longer periods of time because it tends to be a little more tender, but high gives you good meat as well. When it’s done, the meat should fall apart easily when shredded with a fork. Last, shred the pork before serving on buns topped with coleslaw.
You can always switch up your seasonings to change up the flavor profile of your pork. If you want something a little spicier, try putting in chopped garlic, cumin, oregano, green peppers, and sliced pimento-stuffed olives. Or try apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, yellow mustard, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, and garlic for something a little sweeter.
Recipe 02: Pulled Pork Loaded Sweet Potatoes
This is a perfect way to use leftover pulled pork from the recipe above! It’s the perfect blend of creamy with just a hint of sweetness.
- 1/4 c. salt
- 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 c. barbecue sauce
- 2 c. cooked pulled pork
- 1 c. sour cream
- 1 tsp. honey
- 4 medium sweet potatoes
- 1 tsp. chipotle chili powder
- 1/2 c. crumbled cooked bacon
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 c. candied pecans
- 1/2 c. chopped scallions
Start by heating your oven to 425F and lining a baking sheet with parchment paper. Next, rub each potato with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and poke with a fork a few times to allow the steam to escape. Then place the potatoes onto the baking sheet and bake for at least 40 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. While the potatoes are baking, mix the sour cream, honey, and chili powder together in a small bowl and set aside. When the potatoes are done, slice them lengthwise to open and gently fluff with a fork if desired.
Before serving, top with 1/2 c. pulled pork, 1/2 c. cheese, 1/4 c. barbecue sauce, a drizzle of the sour cream mix, bacon, pecans, and scallions. You can also top with whatever leftover veggies you have in your fridge. Then serve and enjoy!
Recipe 03: Pork Empanadas
Another recipe to use with shredded pulled pork, this one is a great way to use up your leftover pulled pork, or serve it in a new way!
- 1 box puff pastry seats, thawed
- 3 c. leftover pulled pork
- 1 beaten large egg
- 1 c. salsa verde
Begin by heating your oven to 400F and lining a baking sheet with parchment paper. While the oven is heating, roll the puff pastry out onto a lightly floured surface. Continue to roll pastry sheet until you have a 12-inch square. When you have the right shape, cut it into four equal squares before trimming off the corners to create a roughly 6-inch round.
Then scoop 1/4 c. shredded pork into the middle of each circle before wetting the edges with water and folding in half, pinching the edges to seal them. Alternatively, you can use an empanada press like this one (it’s dishwasher safe!). Continue to repeat until you’ve used all puff pastry dough.
After the empanadas are made, transfer them to the prepared cookie sheet and brush each empanada with egg. Lastly, bake for 25 minutes or until they are golden brown and serve with salsa verde.
Recipe 04: Busy Week Night Pork Chops
Perfect for those busy weeknights, this is one of our favorite pork recipes!
- 1/4 c. milk
- 1/4 c. seasoned bread crumbs
- 1/8 tsp. pepper
- 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 4 boneless pork loin chops (4 oz each)
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Begin by heating your oven to 375F and prep a baking sheet with parchment paper. Next, place the milk in one shallow dish and the breadcrumbs, cheese, and seasonings in another. When your dishes are ready, dip the pork chops in milk, then into the crumb mixture, making sure to evenly coat the chops.
Before baking, spritz each chop with cooking spray to help them crisp. Then bake for 8-10 minutes on each side, with the internal temperature reaching 145F (need a meat thermometer? Get one here). Allow the meat to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
So the next time you’re tempted to reach for beef or chicken, give them a rest and try cooking up some pork instead. Your family will thank you!