If you haven’t been convinced that conventional, factory farm-raised pork is bad, all you have to do is read this article from PETA (or google around for yourself). I knew about grass-fed beef and pasture-raised chickens, but I wasn’t educated about pork until recently, but now I know I have to commit to buying the best pork I can, along with the rest of my meat.
Unfortunately, none of my regular weekly grocery stores even sells humanely raised pork. (I can get some grass-fed beef, usually ground, and some organic chicken at my regular stores, but the selection is limited.) So, I knew I would have to commit to making an extra trip to Whole Foods when we want to eat pork.
Is it more inconvenient and more expensive to eat humanely raised pork (and beef, and chicken)? Yes it is. I’m experimenting with how we can fit this better meat into our budget, though, because it is important to me to be an educated consumer and to put my money where my mouth—and my beliefs are.
Because of that, we’re looking at cheaper cuts of pork—and chicken, and beef—to make our meat dollars stretch as far as possible. It’s a nice bonus that cooking these cheaper cuts usually gives us enough meat for several meals!
We are very fortunate to have the option to buy higher quality meat, because I know many people don’t. Regardless, buying cheaper cuts of meat will be a boon for your budget.
This week’s menu uses a pork shoulder roast as its base. Bone in or bone out, these are usually a pretty good deal. At my Whole Foods, I was able to get one for less than $2/pound regular price. By contrast, a pork loin can run as high as $10/pound!
You can do a lot with a pork shoulder, but this week we’re doing pulled pork in the crock pot—because it’s so ridiculously easy and delicious!
Pulled Pork Meal Plan
These meals are ridiculously easy and quick to pull together. The pork takes less than 5 minutes to get started in the slow cooker, and each of these meals takes only minutes to pull together. Of course, I wouldn’t eat these three meals right in a row; alternate with some other easy meals for a great week of fast dinners.
Day 1: Vietnamese-Inspired Lettuce Wraps with Easiest Slow Cooker Pork
Make the Easiest Slow Cooker Pork recipe with a 3+ pound roast. Put a portion in a bowl for tonight’s dinner and store the rest in its juices for later.
Make the Vietnamese-Inspired Lettuce Wraps. In the recipe, I estimated 4 oz of pork for each person, which would be about four lettuce wraps (give or take). That might be more than you need! You can serve this with jasmine rice or rice noodles as well and skip the lettuce if you want.
Day 2: Pulled Pork Tacos
Warm the leftover pork in its juices. Add taco seasoning (cumin, chili powder, red pepper) if desired (it’s good with or without the extra seasoning!). Warm up some fresh corn tortillas and prepare your favorite taco toppings: shredded cheese or crumbled queso fresco, shredded lettuce or cabbage, diced onion and tomatoes, salsa, etc. Build tacos as desired. You can also serve this with beans and rice on the side to make the meal go further.
Day 3: Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwiches
If you have any pork left over, warm in its juices, then drain. Toast whole grain hamburger buns. Put meat on buns and top with your favorite barbeque sauce. I like to serve this with coleslaw made from broccoli slaw with blue cheese dressing (homemade or bottled) and potato chips or oven fries.
Original Photo Credit: stevendepolo via Compfight cc