Tag Archives: pork

One Week of Meals from One Pork Roast

 

Do you ever wish you had more time?  Do you feel like you spend too much time at the grocery store, or in the kitchen, or waiting for delivery? Does you bank account look emptier because of all the ordering out you do?  Do you want an easy way to make a week’s worth of homemade meals, for less than $100, with minimal prep and cook time from one grocery trip?

I thought so. Here is your answer!

This post is created to show you how to get a week’s worth of dinners (with some leftovers for lunches too) from a single 4 pound pork roast.  All recipes easily feed 2 adults, with many recipes making much more food for leftovers and re-make meals.

By planning ahead to use one main dish all throughout the week, you can get creative and ensure that none of your food dollars get wasted by literally throwing them away. You will save time throughout the week by not having to go to the grocery store to pick up “just one or two things” and not having to worry what to make for dinner, it’s already planned out. And you can eat healthy, whole food, home cooked meals all week long!

Here is the list of recipes you will be making if you follow this plan:

As far as cooking equipment, you will need at least a frying pan, and preferably a slow cooker. You can slow cook the pork in the oven, and make the casserole in the oven as well, but that requires slightly more hands-on time from you. The full grocery list can be found at the bottom of the post, and you can go to individual recipes by clicking on the links throughout.

The first thing you’re going to need to do is assess your pantry and freezer situation.  If you have plenty of Italian dressing, some frozen mixed veggies, noodles, and plenty of spices, you’re already halfway there on this week’s grocery list. Then make your list of what you still need to make the recipes, and head to the store.

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You will need to pick up a nice pork loin roast, or other pork roast. I recommend 3-5 pounds for 2 adults for one week’s worth of meals.  You can adjust to larger or smaller sizes if feeding a larger crowd, or just one, or if you wish to double recipes or omit certain recipes this week.

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Once you have your pork roast, use a sharp knife to cut 2-4 pork chops off the end. You can also ask your butcher to do so if you go to a regular grocery store. These pork chops can be frozen for later depending on when you want to make the Italian Pork Chops.

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Once you have your chops cut, take about 1 pound off the remaining roast. This will be diced up into cubes.  You can also freeze these chunks for later, depending on when you want to make the Pork Lo Mein Stir Fry.

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As for the remainder of the roast, put that guy into your crock pot.  This is gonna become one delicious, fall-apart pot of BBQ Pulled Pork. If you’re game, add a sliced onion and a can of beer, then cook on low for 8-10 hours or high at least 4 hours.

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Shred the pork roast with two forks.  I recommend removing half of the meat to a container in the refrigerator, and adding 1 cup BBQ sauce to the rest and cooking another hour on low.

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Now you have about a pound each of plain pulled pork and BBQ pulled pork! Plus 2-4 chops, and a pound of diced pork in the freezer. And that’s after less than an hour total of hands-on prep time.

Now you can use the shredded plain or BBQ pork for:

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Pulled Pork Burritoes (above) or Quesadillas:

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And slow cooker pork and rice and broccoli casserole:

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And the diced pork chunks for a delicious homemade lo mein:

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And the best part is, you can choose when to make these recipes and in what order, because the pork chops, diced pork, and shredded cooked pork all freeze very well. You can turn these into breakfast and lunch too, pulled pork omelettes are great, as are BBQ pulled pork sandwiches on nice thick buns.  Enjoy!

 

Full Grocery List

  • 1 4-5 pound pork roast
  • 1 cup Italian dressing
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • Frozen or fresh vegetables of your choice
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce (or more, to taste)
  • 1 package tortillas
  • ~1 cup white or brown rice
  • 1 can beans (black or pinto)
  • 1 package lo mein noodles
  • Soy sauce
  • Shredded cheese
  • Fresh or frozen broccoli
  • 1 cup milk (optional)
  • Burrito toppings – sour cream, guac, salsa, etc.

And seriously, that’s it! I guarantee you can buy all of these items for under $100 (at least everywhere I’ve lived from Colorado to Connecticut).

 

Also, if you’ve read this far and you’re curious, I also have a post explaining all the cuts of a pig. So next time you go to the store, you can know the difference between a rump roast, shoulder roast, and a loin. 🙂

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Pulled Pork Burritoes

 

Burritos are a staple in my house, I’d say we have them at least once a week if not more often.  They are just so simple to put together, yet always delicious and hit the spot.  You can use basically any meat you have, just add rice and beans to bulk it up, and whatever toppings you prefer.

These burritos use pulled pork, with or without BBQ sauce, of which you should have plenty if you’re doing One Week of Meals from One Pork Roast.  I would recommend the BBQ, but it is not required. And of course, always customize to your preferences.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large tortilla
  • 1/2-1/4 cup pulled pork
  • 1/4 can pinto beans
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 1/4 cup cooked rice
  • Sprinkle of shredded cheddar

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Step 1: Put the pork loin in a slow cooker with about 1/2 cup of liquid. You can use beer, cola, or stock.  Cook on low for about 8 hours, it won’t hurt to go a little shorter or longer. Shred the meat with 2 forks. If you want BBQ pulled pork, add 1-2 cups sauce and cook another hour.

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Step 2: Layer all your ingredients in the tortilla. Make sure there’s a good distribution so that once you roll it up, you get a little of everything in each bite!

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Step 3: The best way to roll is to flip 2 opposing sides in just about 2 inches. Fold the corners over on both sides.  Then take one open end and roll it towards the other, scooping the fillings under. Roll it tight, and enjoy!

 

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Pork Lo Mein Stir Fry

 

If there’s one food I’m pretty sure I could eat every single day forever, it would be Chinese food.  There is so much variety; you can have pork, chicken, steak, shrimp, tofu.  Almost every vegetable tastes better fried in a wok with soy sauce on it.  And seriously, rice is amazing.  Put anything on top of it and it’s better than it was alone.  Or you can have noodles instead. Or both!

Speaking of noodles, Chinese lo mein is always so delicious, do you ever wonder why?  (Besides the week’s worth of salt and addictive MSG)  I think it’s the slurping you get to do, one noodle at a time or swirl a big batch around a fork and shove it all in. But it is so easy to make at home! You don’t have to buy special noodles either, plain spaghetti will do in a pinch.

This recipe uses diced pork, and is very flexible. You can use ground meat instead, or use a different type. You can also sub in tofu for the vegetarian crowd. And for the vegetables, I used zucchini, onion, and green bell pepper, but you can add whatever you happen to like and have at home. Try edamame, carrots, mushrooms, cabbage, or more exotic things like baby corn, sprouts, or bamboo.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup diced pork meat
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped veggies of choice
  • 1 pound noodles
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or butter
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2-3 tbsp fish sauce (if you have it)
  • 2-3 tbsp lemon or lime juice, or rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp flour or cornstarch if you want a thicker sauce
  • Optional to serve: hot pepper, sriracha, lime wedges, diced fresh herbs, crushed peanuts or cashews

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Step 1: In a hot frying pan, melt the butter or olive oil and cook the pork until browned on all sides. In a separate pan, boil the noodles per directions on package, and drain.

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Step 2: Remove the pork to a plate and add the vegetables. Stir fry on medium high heat until cooked throughout and beginning to brown, about 3-5 minutes.

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Step 3: Add the soy sauce, fish sauce if using, lemon or lime, and any other spices you want (Sriracha lovers?). Mix well to coat the veggies, add the pork back to the pan. Add the cornstarch and mix well if you want a thicker sauce.

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Step 4: Serve over the noodles with your desired toppings!

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BBQ Pulled Pork Quesadillas

 

It’s no secret that I love my slow cooker. We’ve been through a lot together, at least 4 houses, half a decade, and many many delicious home cooked meals. And hopefully many more to come! One of my favorite meals for totally hands-off cooking that tastes magical is slow cooker pulled pork. A roast, an onion, some beer or broth and a little bit of time, and you have a delicious pot of meat that falls apart and tastes like you spent hours perfecting it.

BBQ Pulled Pork Quesadillas

As if barbeque pulled pork couldn’t get any better, here is another way to use that meaty, juicy goodness.  I love a classic BBQ pulled pork sandwich on a thick bun with heaps of shredded cheese, but you can only have so many in one week.  So after you’ve made a big tasty roast, save some for later, for this in particular!  Makes one huge quesadilla, enough for 2.

BBQ Pulled Pork Quesadillas

Ingredients:

  • 2 flour tortillas
  • 1/2 cup pulled pork
  • 4 tbsp cooked rice
  • 2 slices tomato (or 2 tbsp salsa)
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 4 tbsp pinto or black beans
  • Cooking spray
  • Shredded mixed cheese
  • Optional: sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

BBQ Pulled Pork Quesadillas

Step 1: Grease a large frying pan and heat it to medium high.  Lay out one tortilla, and layer on the pork, rice, beans, tomato, avocado, and some cheese. Cover with the other tortilla.

BBQ Pulled Pork Quesadillas

Step 2: Depending on the size of your pan, either transfer the whole tortilla, or cut into halves or quarters. Cook in the pan about 3-4 minutes, until brown and crispy. Carefully flip, and cook on the other side.

BBQ Pulled Pork Quesadillas

Step 3: Transfer to a plate, serve with sour cream or greek yogurt, more cheese and salsa.

 

 

BBQ Pulled Pork Quesadillas

BBQ Pulled Pork Quesadillas

Ingredients

  • 2 flour tortillas
  • 1/2 cup pulled pork
  • 4 tbsp cooked rice
  • 2 slices tomato (or 2 tbsp salsa)
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 4 tbsp pinto or black beans
  • Cooking spray
  • Shredded mixed cheese
  • Optional: sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

Instructions

  1. Grease a large frying pan and heat it to medium high. Lay out one tortilla, and layer on the pork, rice, beans, tomato, avocado, and some cheese. Cover with the other tortilla.
  2. Depending on the size of your pan, either transfer the whole tortilla, or cut into halves or quarters. Cook in the pan about 3-4 minutes, until brown and crispy. Carefully flip, and cook on the other side.
  3. Transfer to a plate, serve with sour cream or greek yogurt, more cheese and salsa.
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Italian Pork Chops

 

Everyone who is a fan of recipes that are cheap, and quick, and take less than 5 ingredients, raise your hand!

Ok now put your hand back on your mouse or keyboard, so you can keep scrolling and read your newest favorite weeknight recipe.

Italian Pork and Veggies

This recipe kind of just happened one day; I had a bottle of Italian dressing in my refrigerator, as I often do. I had also picked up a “family pack” of boneless pork chops and separated them into 2-per-bag zip locks. (HUGE money saving tip if you’re cooking for one or two! Buy in bulk to save $/per pound, then parcel it out into meal-sized bags and freeze.)

Since I also always keep cans of diced tomatoes in the pantry, and bags of frozen veggies in the freezer, this meal came together in a snap! With supreme flexibility (Green beans and zucchini, no? How about broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, or onions? Boneless, bone in, doesn’t matter. Or use chicken! Or shrimp. Or tofu, why not), healthy options galore, and a very low price point (I’d estimate $2 per meal for 4 meals), this is a go-to recipe in my repertoire.

Italian Pork Over Rice

Ingredients:

  • 2 pork chops
  • 1 cup vegetables of choice
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup italian dressing

Italian Dressing Pork Chops

Step 1: Put the pork chops and the Italian dressing in a frying pan, and cook on medium heat for 7-9 minutes, until browned on one side.  Flip and cook 5-7 minutes until brown on the other side. You will have to decide when to add the vegetables based on whether you use fresh crispy ones (broccoli, carrots) vs softer or frozen ones (peas, fresh green beans, zucchini).

Easy Weeknight Pork and Veggies

Step 2: Add the canned tomatoes with juice and any other vegetables at this point. Simmer for 4-6 minutes, until heated through. Serve like this for a low-carb meal, or serve over rice or with baked potatoes on the side.

 

Italian Pork Chops

Italian Pork Chops

Ingredients

  • 2 pork chops (or chicken breast/thighs)
  • 1 cup vegetables of choice
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup Italian dressing

Instructions

  1. In a frying pan, put the pork chops and the Italian dressing. Cook on medium heat for 7-9 minutes, until browned on one side, and flip. Cook 5-7 minutes until brown on the other side. You will have to decide when to add the vegetables based on whether you use fresh crispy ones (broccoli, carrots) vs softer or frozen ones (peas, fresh green beans, zucchini).
  2. Add the canned tomatoes with juice and any other vegetables at this point. Simmer for 4-6 minutes, until heated through. Serve as is for a low-carb meal, or over rice.
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Creamy Peas and Panchetta Pasta

 

Nothing is quite so satisfying and delicious as enjoying a brief crop of produce in its prime.  Spring peas are a great example.  They burst into bloom in the early spring, swell to full pods, and then quickly disappear, leaving round seeds to dry and protect until next year.

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The beauty of frozen produce is that you can lock in all the enzymes and living nutrients of a fresh item and keep it for use many days or weeks or even months later.  Flash frozen vegetables can be the next best thing to right-from-the-dirt produce, and maybe even better because it is washed and minimally processed. This way, you can enjoy this fresh taste of spring any time of the year!

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The cream sauce is made with a minimal amount of fat. I used some half and half and some regular 2% milk. Add fresh grated Parmesan cheese and if you desire a tbsp or so of flour for a thick, creamy, salty sauce that tastes like velvet and will satisfy any Alfredo lover.  You can use other types of cheeses too, don’t be shy about trying mozzarella or reggiano, asiago or feta.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 – 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 cup torn greens of choice (kale, swiss chard, collards, spinach)
  • 2 slices thick cut bacon (optional, you can omit for a vegetarian recipe or use turkey bacon instead)
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup grated hard cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 pound cooked fresh pasta, drained

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Step 1: Boil and drain your pasta.  In a frying pan, cook the bacon until crispy.  Remove and drain all but about 2 tsp of fat*, and crumble the bacon.  Cook the peas and greens in the bacon fat for 5-10 minutes, until softened.

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Step 2: To the pan, add the milks and bring to a slow simmer.  Add the cheese and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well until thickened, add flour 1/2 tbsp at a time if desired.  Pour it over the hot drained pasta and top with a sprinkle of fresh grated cheese!

 

*If you want a vegetarian dish, omit the bacon and use vegetable of coconut oil instead!

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Ham and White Bean Soup

 

As the days grow colder and shorter, sometimes there is nothing quite so amazing as a steaming bowl of soup.  Soup is wonderful for so many reasons.  You can easily sneak all kinds of healthy veggies and ingredients into soup.  Soups are generally very kind to the budget, with frugal ingredients like beans and grains, and the ability to save about-to-expire produce.  Soup feels good on a sore throat, and is mostly healthy (if broth based, not fatty/creamy).

And soup just tastes great.

This ham soup starts with a rich & nutritious broth made from the ham bones, but if you don’t have the time (or the bones) you can use pre-made stock as well.  You can also substitute in any type of veggie you prefer, though I recommend sticking to about 2 cups of some sort of leafy green, and 1 cup of another harder veg for contrast.

Ham and white bean soup simmering

Ingredients:

  • 1 ham bone + 6-8 oz meat
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1/2 bunch kale
  • 1 large can white beans, or 2 small cans
  • Optional: 2 tbsp chicken bouillon

Scoop of ham and white bean soup

Step 1: In a crock pot or stock pot, simmer the ham bone in enough water to cover for 8-12 hours, during the day or overnight.  Strain the liquid, pull any remaining meat off the bone and shred it, and return it to the pot.  Discard the bones.

Scoop of ham and white bean soup with veggies

Step 2: Bring the stock to a boil, and add the kale and carrots.  Drain and rinse the beans to get rid of excess sodium and add to the pot.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes, until carrots soften.

Ham and white bean soup in bowl

Step 3: If needed, add in the bouillon.  This soup seems simple, but the base is so flavorful from being stewed so long.

Ham and white bean soup with cheese and bread

I suggest serving this with thick, soft Italian or multi-grain bread, and you may or may not want to shred some cheese over top.  I added just a touch of Vermont white cheddar, and it was absolutely scrumptious!  Even the fiancee, who just kind of tolerates soups, loved it and had seconds.  If you’d like your soup a little thicker, add less water and mash up one of the cans of beans before adding it.

 

Slow Cooker Red Pozole with Pork

 

So I’ve been tutoring a high school kid in Biology for a year. He’s great, as are his parents. And his mother is a large part Native American. She is an amazing cook, I often show up to tutor and/or leave to tempting smells wafting from the kitchen. They are kind enough to ask me to share their dinner with them quite often.

As I love cooking myself, typically I have dinner already started in the Crock pot or at least plans, so I decline. However, one night she was serving up this thick, red stew that smelled too irresistible. This was my first introduction to pozole.

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Pozole means “foamy”; also spelled “pozolli” or “posole”. It is a traditional stew originally from Mexico, which once had ritual significance due to its use of maize, called hominy. The word “hominy” comes from the Powhatan language word for prepared maize. (Maize is corn).

Hominy is a very interesting thing. To make it, you take regular corn kernels, dry it, and then treat it with an alkaline agent to break down the cellulose in the corn. The result is puffy, chewy, soft kernels that look a little bit like corn-shaped popcorn.

Well, this tomato-pork-hominy stew was unlike anything I’d ever had, so of course I had to ask for the recipe. She had gotten it from the Denver Post a few years back, and was more than happy to share it with me.

red posole with pork

The red pozole with pork is the recipe I used and show here, but there is also one for Green Pozole with Chicken. I’ll save that for another day.

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I wanted to try this right away, but I forced myself to be patient. Normally I just center my grocery shopping around sales, but this time I kept an eye out for the ingredients I needed. Anytime I want to make something with a unique or expensive ingredient I try to wait to maximize my food dollars. As soon as I saw hominy on sale at the local Save-A-Lot I snagged a can.

As is my way, I took the recipe, tweaked it a bit to what I like and what I had in the house, and it turned out wonderful! I don’t like spicy foods, so I left out the peppers, but I did throw in a pinch of dried chipotle pepper to keep the Native American feel of the recipe. If you want to go all the way and buy the exact spices called for, be my guest. But I omitted the Mexican oregano, and used regular paprika, not Spanish. I also added a can of red beans for extra fiber and filling power.

Slow cooker red pozole with pork:

  • 1.4 pound pork roast
  • 2-3 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • Pinch chipotle pepper
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 whole white onion, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, with liquid
  • 1 can red beans, drained
  • 1 29oz can hominy
  • 6 chicken bouillon cubes and ~24 oz water
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 bottle beer (Colorado native)

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Step 1: In slow cooker, mix flour, beer, spices, diced onion, and tomato.

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Step 2: Heat water in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, dissolve the bouillon cubes and add to crock pot. Or just use chicken stock.

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Step 3: Dice the pork roast into bite-sized cubes. I had a 1.4-pound roast defrosted, so I used that. But you could use chops also.

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Peel or cut off fatty pieces to make it more lean.

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Step 4: Add the pork and hominy to the slow cooker. Cook on low 6-8 hours, or high 2-4 hours.

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The finished product is a complex but light stew, with an amazing depth of flavor. You can obviously add more spice to your taste, but I loved it the way it was. I also didn’t have ground cumin, so the little pieces were annoying at the bottom, but the flavor they added was worth it.

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I made some biscuits to serve with the posole, and my s.o. loved it too. The recipe suggests shredded cabbage, radish, cilantro, cheese, or sour cream as garnishes. If you add extra flour or cornstarch you can make it thicker, add more stock to make it more soup-like.

 

What’s your favorite slow cooker meal?

 

 

Slow cooker BBQ pulled pork

 

Slow cookers are a godsend to any busy cook, I myself often throw ingredients in it early in the day in order to come home after a long day of teaching, research, attending classes and work. But they can also add joy and flavor to a lazy Sunday. As the weather cools, warm and filling foods fill my imagination. This led to inspiration for some slow cooked BBQ pork.

Ingredients:
1 pork loin
5-6 garlic cloves
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 medium onion
1/2 cup vinegar
2-4 cups BBQ sauce of your choice

Step 1: Cut shallow grooves in the loin and insert garlic cloves. Place in the slow cooker with the vinegar, and the onion cut into chunks. Rub the top of it with the brown sugar, and put on high for 4-6 hours.

This is what it looks like after about 4 hours on high. I cut it into 4 chunks to shred it easier. Drain off the excess liquid and throw out the onion and garlic. Using two forks, shred the pork and return it to the slow cooker. Cover the meat with BBQ sauce and mix well.

Then leave it in the slow cooker on low for another 1 – 5 hours, to let it stew and the BBQ to cook into the meat. 

This is the first way to eat the pork, on a bun with some extra BBQ sauce. I had steamed broccoli and baked beans as side dishes.

However, you usually have plenty of meat left over. Therefore, this post includes a special bonus dish. With the leftovers, a great snack or even full meal is BBQ pork over tortilla chips. Just sprinkle on the pork, add cheese and heat in the microwave. Then add sour cream and enjoy!