Monday, March 7, 2011

Crockpot Cooking: Pulled Pork

This is another one you can do in a crockpot, if the roast isn't too big, or a roaster oven. Mine was done in a roaster oven because I was doing two.

Pulled Pork

Boston Butt Roast
Your choice of seasoning salts or blends
Bay Leaves
Liquid Smoke

You can use whatever seasoning blend(s), pepper(s), herb blend(s) you like. What I used was nearly equal parts Lawry's seasoned salt and Tony Chachere's original creole seasoning, a little less Adolf's seasoned meat tenderizer, and then smaller amounts of McCormick's salt free garlic herb blend, rubbed sage, garlic pepper, and black pepper. You want to make sure there's enough seasoning to very generously coat the entire outside of the roast. It may seem like a lot of salt, but remember it will all be mixed into the whole cut of meat once it's cooked. I like to mix mine together and put it in a shaker jar with reasonably large holes; the pepper is larger than the other things and you want it to all come out evenly. You can sprinkle each thing on individually if you want, but I find this to be more trouble than it's worth since you have to keep one hand clean to handle all the spice bottles.
This was taken after it had been cooking for a little while, quite frankly because I forgot to do it sooner. The roasts were liberally coated with seasonings and placed fat side up in the pan. I add a 1/2" of water to the bottom of the pan, along with 2-3 bay leaves and several drops of liquid smoke per roast. I put the bay leaves and liquid smoke in the water, not on the roast. I know other recipes don't call for water, but it keeps the dripping stuff from burning before there is enough accumulated for it to stop burning on it's own, plus it keeps the liquid smoke from burning.
Cook the roast on low in a crockpot, or 250 degrees in a roaster or regular oven, for 8-10 hours. If your roast was completely or partially frozen you might want to bump the temp up a little (no more than 300), but that depends on the size of your roast. You want to cook this low and slow to ensure tender meat.
When the meat is done, allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes before chopping. The meat will just fall apart and usually has a blade bone in it, so be careful with your knife. You can chop it as fine as you like; we like ours kind of roughly chopped.

My dip recipe is similar to Lexington style dip, but it's a little thicker because I use a larger ratio of ketchup. I like my dip to cling to the meat instead of running through it. It's also not as sweet as some I've had, but you can add more sugar if you want. Amounts given are approximations since I don't typically measure, especially the spices. I just add things in, let it simmer a little, taste it, and then add some more if I think it needs it. The amount of vinegar, water and ketchup are pretty much spot on though.

Barbeque Dip

2c. vinegar - white or apple cider
1 & 3/4c. ketchup
1/2c. water
1/4-1/3c. brown sugar
2tsp. salt
1 &1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4-1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
red pepper flakes
garlic pepper
black pepper
you can use a few drops of liquid smoke if you don't have smoked paprika
If I'm near the bottom of a jar of unfiltered apple cider vinegar I'll mix it half and half with white, but you can use whatever you like. If you think it will be too strong on the vinegar you could use less vinegar and more water, or, if you've already mixed it, you can add some more water and ketchup. We like it with a strong vinegar bite. Also, as this cooks, and later sits, it will get a little hotter, so keep that in mind when your adding the hot stuff.
Mix together the vinegar, water, ketchup, sugar, and salt and set it to start heating on no more than a medium heat. Add a little each of the other spices, and once it has simmered for a few minutes start tasting and adjusting it until you like it.

I've been working on my recipe for years and I get rave reviews on my barbeque, but each person is different. Don't be afraid to expirement. Just keep trying different combinations until you come up with something you and your family likes. If you follow the general directions you will at least come up with something edible, so you don't have to worry about wasting food. If your dip really flops you can always put a little of the bottled stuff on it. It will still taste good and make a fine sandwich.
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