But I'd sure like to have one. But that's not what this post is about anyways. Here's why I'm posting, with some Goodweed history (can't give proper info without some background, ya know. I just can't do it.
)Saturday night, I decided to prepare Sunday's dinner. I took a three lb. pork shoulder roast and through it in my slow cooker, with just salt and 2 cloves of garlic. I wanted a dry, slow heat for this chunk of meat.
I let it cook all night and for about another 5 hours on Sunday, on the low setting. By that time, it was around 3:00 pm. I added a chopped onion and about 2 cups of chicken broth, covered and let it simmer for another three hours, while I and my wife went to a freind's 50th birthday celebration.
When I got home, I removed most of the liquid from the slow cooker and pulled the pork. I added 6 oz. of tomato paste, about 1/2 cup of mollases, and enough Splenda to make it taste like brown sugar had been added (Splenda + mollases = brown sugar substitute). I added some mesquite flavor liquid smoke, and about 1 cup of the broth back in. I also added 1/8 cup of cooking oil to add moisture and good mouth feel. Then, it was just a matter of correcting the seasoning to taste.
My wife can't handle anything hot, not even extra-mild chili powder so I had to avoid that. This was all just impromptu, throwing flavors in to develop depth and texture. It was a huge success with my family.
But the two things that made this worth writing about are these:
1. My daughter works at a very popular local restaurant that specializes in down-home-style cooking, with smoked ribs, smoked brisket, smashed spuds made with the skins on, corn on the cob, etc. My Lisa exclaimed of by pulled pork that it was in a whole 'nuther category compared to the stuff prepared at the restaurant where she works. She said it was much, much better. It was more moist, and had more flavor.
I siad that whe had to be careful with her comparisons as she grew up with my cooking and her tastes were somewhat geared to the flavors that she grew up with.
She said that it wasn't just a greqt flavor, but that the pulled pork she had eaten at virtually every other restaurant was dry and tough by comparison.
2. You can make great food without expensive and specialized equipment. I would put up that batch of pulled pork agains anybody's. Of course if my wife and her overly sensitive tongue weren't factored in, I'd have added some chili powder, maybe some cloves, and a few other herbs and spices. But all in all, my daughter made my head swell just a bit more (I love that feeling).
So, you apartment dwellers, and people with condoes and no yards, or just plain folks (like me (now just hold on there, plain folks doesn't mean ordinary. I got's imagination in this here head. Why I used to get in trouble nearly every day in grade school for day-dreamin'.)) that can't afford to spend a couple thousand dollars on a super smoker, you can make a great meal with just a bit of injenuity.
I feel the key ingredients that made the dish work were, broth and cooking oil. They worked to vastly improve the texture and mouth-feel of the pork. Also, following the rule: add a little bit of ingredients, let the flavor cook in, taste, and adjust as necessary, was essential for developing the target flavor.
If you're hungry for something, and you don't have the super-grill, or the pasta pot, or whatever it is that someone tells you you have to have, Tell that someone to go jump in the lake. With imagination, some cooking skills, and knowing how foods react to heat, you can make virtually anything you want with good, inexpensive, and basic tools.
Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North