Slow Cooked Jerk Pork with Caribbean Salsa

Crock pot cooking is tough in the summer. Most of my favorite crock pot meals are more appropriate for the fall and winter. Yet, using the crock pot in the summer seems ideal as it results in a tasty, hot meal without slaving over a hot stove. This recipe seemed to be a good option for a summer meal – and that Caribbean salsa, with mangos and avocado…yep, perfect! You will find the original recipe here at Skinnytaste.

Out of sheer luck, I happened to look at the recipe the night before only to realize that you need to prep and marinate the pork shoulder overnight or for at least 5 hours prior to cooking. So consider that. Oh, and trimming the fat from a pork shoulder can be an arduous task. But I got it done. Another note, the Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning – I couldn’t readily locate it locally and it would take 7-10 days to arrive if I ordered from amazon.com so I went with the McCormick Jerk Seasoning that I could find. Now, read on for the recipe

SLOW COOKED JERK PORK

Ingredients: 3 lbs boneless pork shoulder blade roast (lean, all fat removed – I mistakenly grabbed the bone-in pork shoulder cut), 6 cloves garlic (crushed), 2-3 Tbsp Jerk Seasoning (recipe calls for Walkerswood mild), ½ Tbsp coarse salt, 1 lime (squeezed), ½ cup fresh orange juice

Cut slits into the pork with a knife. Stuff the holes with half of the crushed garlic. In a small bowl combine the rest of the garlic, jerk seasoning, and salt. Rub this mixture over the pork – I used the back of a spoon (the recipe suggests wearing gloves so that your hands won’t smell like garlic). Put into a container, preferably with a lid, (even a large Ziploc baggie would work) and pour the lime and orange juices over the pork. Cover and refrigerate for 5 hours or overnight. (The original recipe suggests turning the pork over occasionally so that the meat marinates in the juices evenly – I was asleep while it marinated, so this didn’t happen. Instead, I made sure to turn it over when placed in the crock pot.)

Put the pork in the crock pot and cook on low for 9 hours. When finished, remove pork from crock pot and shred (using two forks or a knife and fork). The recipe then states to remove all liquid from the crock pot, returning only 1 cup of it with the shredded pork. I had just about 1 cup of liquid, so I left it as it was. Add salt and pepper (I added a little extra orange juice to tame some of the flavor for my kids) and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

CARIBBEAN SALSA:

I made this (leaving the avocado out until it was time to serve) in the morning right after I started my pork in the crock pot – I figured it would be best to let all the ingredients marinate in the fridge throughout the day.

Ingredients: 1 haas avocado (diced), 2 large ripe mangos (peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped), 1 ½ Tbsp chopped red onion (I chopped approximately half of a medium sized red onion), 1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (I added a little extra), 3 Tbsp fresh lime juice, salt (I use garlic salt) and pepper to taste.

Mix the ingredients together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve. As I noted before, if you are making this a while in advance, I might suggest holding off with adding the avocado until you are ready to serve so that they don’t brown in storage.

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I served the shredded pork on top of a small amount (1/3 cup) of rice, then topped with a serving of salsa. The pork is amazingly flavorful – it is spicy but I would describe it more as savory than hot. For example, my kids (who don’t like hot spicy things) could handle the taste of this, though they still asked for mac & cheese (seriously?!?! – fine, more for mom and dad!). The mixture of the pork with the salsa is pretty sublime…it’s a combination of hot and cold, spicy and sweet, succulent and crunchy. I really can’t do much more to describe it other than to say that you should try it.

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I chose to serve this with a White Wine and Peach Sangria and I was in heaven….until it was clean up time. Enjoy!

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