Unwinding in the kitchen
By Erica Nedrick
LIFE - The new normal." "Quarantine." "Social distancing." These are just a few of the new words and phrases we are already sick of hearing, but they have become a part of our daily conversations. This pandemic has undoubtedly changed most of our lives in countless ways. So many of us have obviously noticed an increase in cooking and cleaning. For me, the extra cleaning was a little nerve-wracking at first! I consider myself to be reasonably clean and thorough when it comes to keeping my house “in order." But as we continued to learn new things about how this virus was spread, sanitization became unnerving.
One of my favorite de-stressors, though, is cooking. My state (I’m a Jersey Girl!) began lock down in mid-March. While some local restaurants were allowed to remain open for delivery and/or takeout, the idea of interacting with people who were possibly sick was still looming. Many people have started cooking more than ever before, like myself.
During those early months, I would try to make my family feel warm, safe, and secure by making lots of comfort foods. Comfort food is exactly what it sounds like, especially at times like this. Sitting down as a family and eating a warm, delicious meal can invoke feelings of nostalgia. If you're reading this, I hope that you have felt that cozy feeling during these uncertain times. My wish for everyone is that the recipes I share will help you to create your own sentimental memories for you and your loved ones!
Now onto the recipe!
I made this during the summer, on one of the hottest days of the season. It was too hot to turn on the stove, but it was fulfilling and so easy! Pulled pork in the crockpot! It slowly cooks all day, and your house smells amazing!
Crockpot Pulled Pork
(I generally eyeball most of my ingredients with no real measurements. I will try to include specific amounts where I can)
Pork Butt (or Pork Shoulder), you can also use a Pork Loin for a smaller yield
1 cup of Pepsi, Coke, or Dr. Pepper
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup of yellow mustard
1-2 Tablespoons (depending on the size of your meat) of each of the following: Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Black Pepper, Adobo
2-3 Tablespoons of Goya Sazonador Total Seasoning
Barbecue sauce (optional) to your liking
Rinse the pork in water after removing it from the package.
Place the pork in your crockpot.
Add your apple cider vinegar and soda.
Next, add your yellow mustard.
Finally, sprinkle all of your seasonings over your pork. You can rotate the pork so that all of your ingredients are evenly spread, but this is not a necessary step.
The flavors cook amazingly together over the course of the day.
Place the cover on your crockpot and cook on low for up to 8 hours. (You will adjust your times for larger or smaller pieces of meat. You could also adjust your time if you cook it on high. I do not recommend cooking it on high, though, as you may end up boiling the pork and creating a tough finish to the meat.)
Check on your pork when there is about 30 mins to 1 hour left to cook. At this time, you will shred your meat and add barbecue sauce if you so desire.
Serve on hamburger buns, with a side of coleslaw or macaroni or potato salad!
About: Erica Nedrick is a Jersey Girl who has worked full time for Child Protective Services in a clerical role since 2005. Cooking has been Nedrick’s secret passion since she took her first Home Economics class in 6th grade. Nedrick has always considered writing to be a pet project since elementary school. Growing up, Nedrick ate “Soul Food” from her mother’s family, but Costa Rican and Jamaican dishes with her father's family. Today, Nedrick loves trying to recreate the dishes she loves for her son and boyfriend, who are picky eaters.