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Old 06-26-2006, 06:03 PM   #1
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Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

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

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Old 06-26-2006, 06:29 PM   #2
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There was a recent thread here about whether or not to cover the pork roast with foil after a period of smoking. In my view that was to get the moistness in a smoked roast that you got by braising in the slo-cooker. I'll sometimes make a pork butt in the crock pot with a bunch of guajillo peppers, onions and a few spices that I like as well smoked.
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Old 06-26-2006, 06:39 PM   #3
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I have never used liquid smoke, Weed. I'll have to give it a try.

You used the chicken broth the way I use a beer. Your sauce sounds good. I've always been lazy and just used Maull's, but it's full of sugar, so I guess I'll have to mend my ways.
By the way, according to their recipe site, Splenda does make a brown sugar substitute, if you can find it.
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Old 06-27-2006, 11:23 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Constance
I have never used liquid smoke, Weed. I'll have to give it a try.

You used the chicken broth the way I use a beer. Your sauce sounds good. I've always been lazy and just used Maull's, but it's full of sugar, so I guess I'll have to mend my ways.
By the way, according to their recipe site, Splenda does make a brown sugar substitute, if you can find it.
Yes they do, but it's a combination of Splenda, sugar, and mollases. It has more textural body than does my mixture, but has more carbs as well (sugar = concentrated carbs, pure carbs). The thickness of the tomato paste gives body to my sauce and it tastes great. You can also personalize it by adding garlic, onion, mustard seed, horseradish/wasabi, etc.

And be careful with the liquid smoke. It will add a true smokey flavor if used correctly as it is made from real smoke. But, it is powerful stuff. A little goes a long way. Use the rule, you know the one, you can always add more flavor, but once it's in the sauce, you can't take it out.

Hmmmm. Have I ever been guilty of forgetting that rule?

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 06-27-2006, 11:28 AM   #5
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thanks for this gw. looks really good. definitely on the "try soon" list. and thanks for the informative post as well.

now don't spill it on the living room carpet...
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Old 06-27-2006, 12:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buckytom
thanks for this gw. looks really good. definitely on the "try soon" list. and thanks for the informative post as well.

now don't spill it on the living room carpet...
Been there and done that, with a very large pot of chicken soup. I was getting ready to transport it from my kitchen to my care. When I got to the threshold between my living room and kitchen, one handle broke from my Crock Pot brand slow cooker. I had soup and shattered crockery all over my living room carpet. My GE slow cooker's handles aren't any more sturdy. But I found an absolutely phenominal slow cooker at Wal Mart that has metal handles welded to the metal sides, and a clamping mechanism to hold the lid in place. I love the thing. And it was only 20-some bucks.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 06-27-2006, 01:19 PM   #7
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The best pulled pork you'll ever eat.

. It is truly easy and delicious.
1 pork shoulder or butt, bone in or out--any size--the cooking time is the same for a 3#or 8# piece. BBQ rub of your choice just rub the meat with a mixture of coarse ground black pepper and brown sugar. Let marinate 8 hours or overnight.
Method 1--IF you have a smoker that can control the temp (I have a sidebox smoker and can keep the temp at 200*-250*) smoke the meat for 4 hours, keeping the temp low. Then place the meat in a 250* oven for 4 hours to finish. It will be meltingly tender and have a wonderful smoky flavor. Method 2 (and this is the one I have really used for 30 years). Place the meat in a 250* oven for 8 hours uncovered . I have often done them overnight. It will still have the melting tenderness. You will have to slap your hands to have any left over as you take it out of the oven.
When ready to serve pull chunks of meat off and then "pull" the meat into shreds by pulling between 2 forks. Do not discard the fat--mix it in. This is not a low fat dish and to really enjoy, use it!!!
For a traditional Carolina serving method very lightly moisten the meat with sweetened vinegar (1 qt. vinegar + 1/4C sugar and 2TBS coarse black pepper).
To warm before serving put the vinegared meat in a pan (black iron frying pan is good) and cover tightly. Heat at 250* until heated.
To serve, offer bbq sauces, cole slaw (in the Carolinas, it goes ON the sandwich), baked beans, rolls, and banana pudding. For fall bbq's Brunswick Stew is also offered.
For BBQ sauce here is my tomato based:
1 bottle ketchup (28 or 32 oz.) 1 ketchup bottle of cider vinegar 6 oz. yellow mustard 6 oz. worcestershire sauce 1/2C brown sugar 3 oz. liquid smoke 2-3 TBS coarse black pepper Tabasco to your taste Simmer for 45 minutes.
If you use commercial bbq sauce I suggest diluting them 1/2 with vinegar for this use.
Eastern NC uses vinegar sauces--sweetened vinegar with 1/4C (at least!!) cayenne pepper OR black pepper. It is too hot for me!
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Old 07-06-2006, 09:59 PM   #8
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Gretchen. Your recipe does indeed sound right up my alley. In fact, it sounds really, really great. Unfortunately, the black pepper would light my poor wife's mouth up like a firestorm. And, I don't have a smoker, but could improvise on my Webber Kettle.

I had a surprize on the 4rth of July. My wife invited some freinds over, my daugher invited her new boy-freind, and I invited a new member of our neighborhood. I cooked a brbecued turkey on the Webber (famous aound these parts and always a hit, usually the first thing gone). I also use two boneless pork shoulders to make crock-pot pulled pork. This time, I added no hcicken soup base, but let the captured natural juices flavor this batch. I did cook the meat with a whole chopped onion, and a bit of mesquite liquid smoke. I also salted the meat surface lightly. These particular hunks of shoulder were laced with fat, but not too much. I cooked them overnight.

In the morning (about 8 am), I made the homeade bbq sauce. I tasted the pork just for grins. I almost decided against pulled pork in favor of sliced pork for sandwiches. It was so good. But I dutifully shredded it and added the natural juices back in. Then I added the bbq sauce, covered and turned the slow-cooker to low. And this time, I added just enought bbq sauce to lightly flavor. I wanted the natural pork flavor to shine. And shine it did.

That turkey I so carefully cooked, with apple wood on the fire for smoke, well it definitely took second fiddle to the pork. I had 1 whole turkey breast left. And out of two, three-pound pork shoulders, there was barely enough left voer to make a single sandwich. My only regret, I didn't make any juicy cole slaw to go with the pulled pork.

I have a new favorite recipe around town. The smoked turkey is dead. Long live the pulled pork.

Wait until the next office pot luck. I'm gonna knock 'em dead.
But boy do I wish I could use some good cracked black pepper in this stuff. It would really take it over the top.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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