Southern California culinary scientist Jessica Gavin has written a cookbook that aims to teach readers essential techniques and practical tips to expand cooking confidence. Her book, “Easy Culinary Science for Better Cooking” (Page Street, $22.99) contains approachable dishes with everyday appeal, everything from Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps to Grandma’s Ginger Beef Stew.

Her Pulled Pork with Barbecue Sauce seems a perfect choice for fall. It’s prepared in a slow cooker and after it’s cooked, the sauce that surrounds it is defatted and reduced to enhance its rich flavor. The recipe calls for boneless pork shoulder, a cut that is sometimes labeled “pork butt” or “Boston butt.” If the meat is not available boneless, purchase about an 8-pound roast to account for the bone’s weight.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Barbecue Sauce

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


1/4 cup tomato paste

1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus, more for seasoning

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons molasses

2 teaspoons Asian chili sauce, such as sambal oelek

1/2 cup minced yellow onion

3/4 cup orange juice

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

4 to 4 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 4 pieces

Black pepper, as needed for seasoning


1. In a medium bowl, whisk tomato paste, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, mustard, molasses, chili sauce, onion, orange juice and vinegar. Add pork to slow cooker and pour sauce mixture over the meat. Cover and cook on high for 6 to 7 hours, or on low for 8 to 10 hours. Transfer pork to plate and use two forks to shred it into pieces.

2. Skim and remove excess fat from surface of sauce, or transfer sauce to a fat separator. For a difference approach, it can be poured into a large glass measuring cup and chilled until the fat solidifies on the surface and can easily be removed. Discard fat.

3. Place defatted sauce in a large pan and bring to boil on medium-high heat. Cook until sauce is reduced to about 1 1/2 cups and is thickened, about 15 to 18 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Reserve 1/2 cup of sauce to serve on the side.

4. Heat shredded pork and remaining sauce. It can be heated in the slow cooker or on the stove top. Serve warm with the reserved sauce on the side as an entrée or in a sandwich.