How about a recipe that can cook while you're slaving away at the office? Introducing BBQ Pulled Pork straight from the Crockpot. (Don't worry, you don't get swine flu from eating pork.)
If you don't own a Crockpot, head to your choice of discount stores and pick one up. We got ours on sale a while back for about $20 at Kmart. I rarely use it for anything besides pulled pork, but for that price it is worth every penny.
The best cut to use for pulled pork is Boston Butt, which is a cut that comes from the upper part of the shoulder, near the front leg. Sometimes this cut will have all or part of the blade bone in it. My friend, Carmelli, and I picked up some ribs that were trimmed from this section at Costco. It was $14 for a "Butt" load, enough to make Carnitas one night and BBQ Pulled Pork the next. (I'll see if I can get Carmelli to do a guest post on those Carnitas. They were delicious!)
The night prior to making the pulled pork, you can use your favorite rub (homemade or store bought) and season the meat. However, I've found that this doesn't exactly add a mind-blowing additional depth of flavor, so I tend to only do it when I've really preplanned the meal. When I typically make this, I'm doing it to satisfy a craving and I pick up the pork that morning and cook it right away. I think I'll do a side-by-side taste test some other time to further answer this question. For now, here's what I did:
- Pork butt or shoulder cut ribs
- 1 Cup apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
- 1 beer (I used an amber)
- 1 Tbs garlic powder
- 1/2 Tbs onion powder
- 1 Tbs brown sugar
- 1 tsp. Liquid Smoke (optional)
- Your favorite BBQ sauce (homemade or store bought)
- Rolls or hamburger buns
When the pork looks to be done (again, so tender that it's barely holding together), drain out the liquid. Pull the meat apart using a fork or your fingers (if you've let it cool down) and then place your favorite BBQ sauce and the liquid smoke, if you are using it, in the pot and turn it back to low. A note on the liquid smoke... I would consider myself somewhat of a purist in the kitchen. The only frozen dinners I'll eat are Amy's Mac&Cheese. I worship fresh produce and if I were independently wealthy, I'd spend my days scouring the local Farmer's Markets for fun. That being said, Liquid Smoke adds a depth of flavor that I haven't been able to duplicate- at least not with a Crockpot. Sure, if I had a backyard and a smoker I could get cracking on the natural approach. But we're in the city. We've already set off our smoke detector using our grill on the balcony. I'm making do with the resources I have available.
Back to the basics: Cook the pork for another hour in the BBQ sauce, then serve it on either rolls or hamburger buns. I like serving it on potato rolls, which soak up the sauce and juices really nicely.
The best part about this recipe is the fact that when you come home, your house will ooze with delicious smells. During football season, I'll often get this started right before bed and then we can have it for an early lunch while we're watching the games. It's always a crowd pleaser!
You can top it with cheese, pickles, coleslaw or (as my husband has been known to do) potato chips.
I'll throw a picture up of the finished product this evening. Enjoy!