Thursday, July 15, 2010

Crock pot pulled pork

Some of the grad students and postdocs at work are major foodies of the meat 'n barbeque type.  They're always talking about what they're cooking for dinner or what kind of meat is on sale, the merits of different types of barbeque sauce, etc. This week they were talking about cooking meat in the crock pot, and they also started talking about how they get good deals at the local Smart and Final type store, Mainesource.
So anyway, I went to Mainesource after work.  They had boneless pork roasts for cheap.  I bought one since it looked like it was the right size for my crock pot, and I remembered hearing that you could make pulled pork that way. (I don't have a gas grill yet, although I do have my trusty charcoal grill.) I found a recipe on the internet for North Carolina style pulled pork a la Crockpot, and then proceeded to take liberties with it, since I didn't have any barbeque sauce.*  (Besides, that would blur the line in barbeque sauce styles, not like I'm the least bit authentic, a Californian living in upstate New York, cooking it in a crock pot)  I rubbed the roast with an applewood spice rub, put it in the crock pot, and then put about half a can of diet coke in there since some of the other recipes called for coke or ginger ale. I also added a few drops of liquid smoke for good measure.  Better living through chemistry, baby!  I set the crockpot on low and let it cook overnight.  The house smelled deliciously of fake barbeque.  I also made the sauce, so that it would have time for the flavors to develop.  The smell of barbeque permeated my dreams, and I dreamt that I was grilling.  It also made Rugrat wake up extra early and start pestering me.  I got up and examined the contents of the crock pot.  The meat was falling apart. I plopped it into a bowl and pulled off the fatty bits, and shredded the rest.  I have enough for about 8 or nine portions, plus some for the cats.
It didn't have that nice mix of tender inner bits and slightly dried out but flavorful outer bits, but it had a nice clean, mildly smoky flavor and good texture. I could only taste the slightest hint of the cola flavor.  There was very little fat.  With the vinegar sauce, it tasted pretty authentic.  Even though I'm planning on getting a grill, I'm sure I'll make the crockpot pulled pork again, especially in winter when I don't want to go outside.

*NC style barbeque doesn't use tomatoes at all.  Instead, the pulled pork is served with a sauce made of vinegar, black and red pepper, hot sauce, and a bit of sugar.  I'm not really crazy about traditional barbeque sauce, so I like NC barbeque a lot.

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