Crockpot, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but people in the foodie community tend to be really down on you. I am not quite sure why you’ve become the Sandra Lee of small kitchen appliances, Crockpot, cause in my book, you’re aces.
Remember that time we made those Chipotle Beef Short-Ribs? Those were like, really really good. Thank you, Crockpot, cause the day we made those, I was at work most of the day, and even though Husband was home, you and I both know that he doesn’t quite grasp the concept of pesky little things like cooking temperatures. (Like that time he tried to cook a Stouffer’s French Bread Pizza at 250F! Seriously, you and I had a good LOL over that!)
I also really have to take my hat off to you for always agreeing to be the designated Cook on Thanksgiving, and keeping the mashed potatoes warm all day so I can mash in the morning, guest-free. Sure, that third glass of Gewertzaminer before 2pm last year may have meant we all ate dry turkey, but everyone commented on how light and fluffy the potatoes were! Kudos, Crockpot. Nice save.
But your crowning achievement yet would have to be the Pulled Pork you whipped up this past Labor Day weekend. I may have called it a night and went to bed, but not only did you pull an all-nighter, you also kept the pork warm until 4pm the next day for our party! The pulled pork (with a bit of effort from me on the whole pulling part…I can’t exactly expect you to do everything) was moist and deeply flavorful – the kind of flavor that you only get when you cook something for like 16 hours. Seriously, Crockpot, I don’t know if there are words to describe your awesomeness.
So the next time you feel that I am neglecting you for Miss Orange Creuset or Mr All-Clad Sautee Pan, just remember – I love you all equally, but in very different ways. (Though, between you and me, Crockpot, you will always be my special little guy.)
Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork
feeds an army
For the rub:
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 7.5 pound pork butt or pork shoulder roast (pernil)
1 large onion, quartered
For the vinegar:
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
5 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
For the BBQ sauce (adapted from Tyler Florence)
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup yellow mustard
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 smashed garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
hot sauce to taste
One recipe The World’s Best Cole Slaw
toasted or soft potato rolls
Step 1: Don’t trim the fat from the pork, leave it as you got it from the store. Combine the rub ingredients, and rub all over the pork, in every little nook and cranny. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
Step 2: Set your crockpot to low, and place the onions in first, with the pork settled on top. Combine the vinegar ingredients, and pour over the roast. Cover, and let cook for at least 10 hours (if in a rush, you could set to high for at least 6 hours). Carefully remove the meat from the crockpot (it will likely fall into pieces on you), and transfer to a large cutting board. A lot of juice will run, so set up a work area for yourself to allow for it.
Step 3: Remove any extraneous fat, and if there is a bone, discard it. Using 2 forks, start shredding large hunks of the meat into small pieces, like above, until you have a large bowl of beautifully shredded pulled pork.
Step 4: Run the juices and onions remaining in the crockpot through a sieve, and discard everything but the liquid. Return the liquid to the crockpot, and add the shredded meat. Stir well. Lower your crockpot’s temperature to the “warm” setting. You can keep it this way for hours until you are ready to eat, stirring occasionally.
Step 5: Prepare the BBQ sauce by simmering all the ingredients in a medium saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Allow to sit, removing the garlic cloves when you are ready to serve.
Step 6: When you are ready to dig in, Pile a generous amount of meat on a roll, cover with BBQ sauce…
Step 7: …and pile high with cole slaw. Enjoy.
Now, I realize that some of you don’t own a crockpot, or at least not one large enough to accommodate such a significant piece of meat. Alternatively, you could slow cook the pork in a low temp oven, somewhere between 275F and 300F, in a dutch oven or roasting pan, well covered. Increase the cooking liquid if you plan to do this, as crockpots need very little.
I also realize that some of you have never tried cole slaw on a BBQ sandwich. Take my word for it, just do it. The contrast of the crunchy freshness of the slaw to the slow-cooked heat of the pork is really amazing. Further, I realize some of you just flat out do not like cole slaw (and that just makes me sad inside), so feel free to omit the cole slaw and just enjoy the juicy pork goodness. But seriously, would a little veggies kill ya?