You probably did. I didn’t. Apparently, though, it is.
But actually, I guess I kind of did know, because isn’t there, like, a lucky pig thing with a peppermint candy pig that you crush up with a hammer or something?
Oh wait…I think that’s for Christmas Eve.
I know I’ve heard of little marzipan piggies for New Year’s, though… Right?
Obviously, I’m an expert.
From what I gather from the true expert (Google), the pig is a symbol of progress, wealth, and prosperity (depending on where you come from), and eating said pig on New Year’s Day is a way of trying to bring those things into the new year, and to move forward.
Personally, I’ve never been a New Year superstition kind of girl, but it can’t hurt, right?
This one totally works for me, because this pulled pork is pretty much the easiest recipe ever.
And it tastes pretty frickin’ fantastic, too.
When we lived in Maine, we had some great friends who used to have lots of fun parties for the holidays (like, all of them, not just the winter ones…it was awesome). Most of the parties included pulled pork, and our friend was kind enough to share his technique.
All you need is a crockpot, some pork butt (which totally isn’t actual butt, FYI), and a little cider vinegar.
Oh, and about six hours to let it cook.
Easy, easy, easy.
I always use the Hubster’s homemade BBQ sauce, because it’s amazing. And no, I’m not biased. It really is amazing.
My pictures are deceiving. These guys look normal and big and all, but they’re little. They’re only about three inches across, but I guess when something tastes as delicious as these do, it comes across in the photos.
I decided to make sliders because…I’ve never made them before. I loved them all small and cute, and They were a little easier to eat, as well, because they were more my size.
I put the pork on amazing little brioche buns, which was also a first for me…never made brioche before.
It was easier than I expected.
Okay, so yes, technically, this recipe took all day. I put the pork in and I started the buns at the same time. Some mixing, rising, and baking later, and I had plenty of little buns for our sandwiches, but really, they were quick and easy, it was just a lot of waiting for rising.
I actually made everything in advance; the BBQ sauce can be made well in advance (we made ours three of four days early), and I think the earlier, the better, because the flavors really develop more as it sits. I cooked the pork all day on a Monday (Christmas Eve), and made the rolls at the same time, but we didn’t eat our sandwiches until Tuesday.
Yes, we had pulled pork sliders for Christmas dinner. It was awesome.
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
Makes 8 to 12 servings
3 to 3.5 lbs. pork butt
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (red or white whine vinegars work perfectly, as well)
about 2 cups BBQ Sauce (optional)
Pour the vinegar into a large slow cooker. Place the pork in, fat side down. Cover and turn the cooker on to medium to medium high for at least 6 hours (you can cook this at a lower temperature, for longer, just make sure to give it plenty of time to cook; I have cooked it on low for 10 hours without any issues).
Once the pork reaches 195 to 200 degrees, internally, use two large forks or tongs to pull or shred the pork, removing any large pieces of fat.
Place the pulled pork in a large bowl and stir in 2 cups (or more, to taste) of barbecue sauce, if desired.
Makes about 20 mini, or 14 regular buns
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 cup bread flour
1/2 cup milk, warmed to about 100 degrees (preferably whole milk, but not required)
3 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks or 339 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1 egg, lightly beaten (for egg wash)
Lightly oil a large bowl; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the yeast and 1/2 cup of flour. Stir in the warm milk until thoroughly combined. Cover and rest for 20 minutes.
In another medium bowl, combine the remaining 3 cups bread flour, sugar, and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, lightly beat the eggs, then stir in the yeast mixture until combined. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, mixing on low speed for a couple of minutes, until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
With the mixer on medium speed, add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, allowing it to be fully incorporated between each addition. Once all of the butter is added, continue mixing for about 6 minutes, until the dough is very well mixed, smooth, and very soft. (The dough will be very soft, and may be slightly sticky; this is how it should be.)
Transfer to the prepared bowl, rolling the dough around to coat it lightly with the oil in the bowl. Cover and sit in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Once doubled, divide the dough into 2-ounce pieces for mini buns, or 3-ounce pieces for standard buns. Roll into boules and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat mat, or in a lightly oiled bun pan. After each boule is shaped, press down lightly on top of each one with your hand, flattening it slightly. Cover with a clean, dry towel and allow to rise until doubled, about an hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush the rolls lightly with the egg wash. Bake mini buns for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown and firm, but not hard. Bake standard buns for 15 to 17 minutes, until golden brown and firm, but not hard.
Allow to cool completely before serving.
Recipes by Darla