I’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve seen the Moana movie. We always get a good laugh at the part towards the beginning, right after Moana repairs the roof of a hut, and she samples some food and exclaims, “That’s good pork!” She then notices Pua, her pet pig, looking up at her. So when it came to Moana Party dinner ideas, easy slow-cooker, pulled pork sandwiches were an obvious choice.
Actually Pulled Pork really is an ideal party dinner in general. I always make mine in a slow cooker so you can make it ahead and kind of forget about it. It always turns out so delicious, and one pork roast can feed a lot of people for your Moana Party dinner.
Moana Party Dinner: Easy Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork
Large Pork Roast (Shoulder, Boston Butt or Picnic Roast)
Full Bottle of Your Favorite BBQ Sauce
TO MAKE: My pulled pork recipe, the one passed down to me from my mama, couldn’t be simpler. The key is really in selecting the right cut of pork at the grocery store. I once mistakenly bought a cut of pork tenderloin for making pulled pork, but evidently that type is meant for slicing. OOPS ;)
You obviously want a cut of pork that will easily shred and fall apart for your sandwiches, and the pork shoulder is the one most commonly recommended for pulled pork. When shopping I usually can’t find a piece called “Pork Shoulder.” The one time I did, it was a massive-looking thing that was like half a pig. So I had to ask the butcher, and he told me that the pork shoulder is typically cut into two parts: the Boston Butt, and the Picnic Roast. I have heard the Butt is preferred, but I’ve used both with equally good results. Sometimes you can only find one or the other at your grocer. So I just get whichever one I can find for the best price.
Okay so now that you’ve bought your pork I promise the hard part is done. Just throw that sucker in your Crock Pot and smother with your favorite BBQ sauce. I know there are TONS of crock-pot pulled pork recipes out there with spices and all kinds of goodies, but seriously I just put in a liberal amount of BBQ sauce and cook it.
A quick word about barbecue sauce, I know this is a matter of personal preference, but at least for our family we think Trader Joe’s Carolina Gold is THE BEST barbecue sauce. It’s a perfect sweet-tangy-mustard blend, and my mouth waters just thinking about it. I almost cried when Trader Joe’s made it a seasonal item, only available for the summer. We ran out and had to go without for a few months, but this year I’ll be stockpiling it. GOOD NEWS! I found Carolina Gold on Amazon for those of you without a Trader Joes.
So the pork roast needs to cook for a LONG time… we’re talking 8-10 hours on low in your Crock Pot. So the other big trick is to start it early. When I’ve been in a pinch I’ve cooked it on high for shorter times, but it never turns out as well as when I cook it low. As far as getting overdone, the real danger is in drying out. So you want to make sure there is enough juices in there throughout, but you almost can’t cook it too long. Give it 8, 10 even 12 hours and you’ll be rewarded with incredibly tender meat you can cut with a spoon!
You could also cook your pork way ahead of your Moana Party dinner. My mom actually cooked all the pulled pork we served at my sister’s barn-themed wedding last year. This was NOT a small gathering — it was at least a 200 guests. She made the pork a week or two ahead and froze it in zip-top freezer bags. Then our kitchen helpers warmed the pork up to serve on the day of the wedding. It was seriously SO good people wanted to know who the caterer was, and then they wanted to know her recipe. Sometimes simpler really is the best!
Serve the pork at your Moana Party with extra barbecue sauce, and I like to use homemade-style buns — have you ever had the Sister Schubert’s rolls? AMAZING! (I get mine at Sam’s Club.)
So now that you’ve got mouth-watering Pulled Pork for your Moana Party dinner, you need to make this Pineapple Coleslaw to serve with it. I am a coleslaw SNOB! I love the stuff but only when it’s just right. Most are too vinegary or just too bland. I made this recipe up, and it’s got a bold flavor that is the perfect balance of tangy sweetness. Based on how good this coleslaw tastes, you’d never realize how healthy it is. My kids actually love this recipe too because of the chunks of pineapple.
Kid-Friendly Pineapple Cole Slaw Recipe
16oz chopped cabbage
1/2 cup carrots, julienned
(OR just buy one bag of the coleslaw blend sold with the other bagged salads)
FOR THE DRESSING:
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
1 lemon, juiced
1 TBS sugar
2 tsp mustard
1/4 tsp celery salt
2 TBS vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup canned pineapple (purée with juice)
TO MAKE: Add all the dressing ingredients to a glass measuring cup and blend well. Put your cabbage mix into a large bowl, and pour the dressing over. Stir until well coated. Refrigerate until serving. Lasts for up to 3-4 days in the fridge, but it can get soggy so it’s best within the first 24 hours. I try to make it a couple hours ahead, like the morning of the evening I’m planning to serve it.