You know what? One might think that as much as I love barbecue, my living in Texas would make me a really happy, satisfied person. But it doesn’t. I just don’t like Texas barbecue that much. It’s too smoky, too dependant on beef and brisket and . . . well it’s not my cup of tea (or bottle of sauce, as it were). And speaking of sauce, I don’t like Texas sauce.
Which I suppose means that I prefer Georgia or Carolina barbecue. Maybe. What I like is my dad’s barbecue and I don’t have a clue what regional affiliation he might be going for. He’s from Florida, there’s just no telling.
Anyway, the purpose of this is to say that even though I live where I live, I don’t get to eat the kind of barbecue I like. And what I really like, more than anything, is pulled pork. And that is reallly hard to find in super beef-eating Texas.
So it seems obvious that I should make it myself. However, I don’t have a grill and the smoker I was given is sitting at Molly’s house because my porch is way too tiny for something like that. What’s a girl to do?
The answer? CHEAT like it’s going out of style and use a Crock Pot.
I looked around online for how to do it and found a few different answers. But the basic answer seemed to be to rub the meat with some spices, let it sit for 2-3 days in the fridge, put it in the Crock Pot for 10 hours, shred, eat. Well, okay. I can do that.
I called my dad for a few pointers. After he was done laughing at me for trying to do something like this without wood chips and/or a fire, he told me two very important things:
1) Throw in a little liquid smoke or you’ll be sorry
2) The meat has to reach an internal temperature of 200 degrees or it won’t shred properly.
So I went to the store and found a 6-pound, bone-in pork butt. I was looking for a boneless pork butt or a pork shoulder, but that’s all the store at the front of my neighborhood had. It’s pork, I figured it would be fine.
I threw together what looked like some good spices: a little brown sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and cayenne. I mixed all that in a bowl and then rubbed it into the meat. Then I wrapped the meat securely in plastic wrap (like 3 times around), and let it sit in the refrigerator for 2 days. I could have let it sit another day, but I was getting a little impatient, honestly.
I woke up early one morning and dug out my Crock Pot. I poured 1/4 cup of water and 3 tablespoons of liquid smoke into the bottom of the liner, set the meat inside, turned it on low, and popped the lid on. And then I went right back to bed.
Some time later, I wondered if the pork was done. It hadn’t been 10 hours, but I was curious anyway. So I got my handy meat therometer (the kind with a cord that plugs into an alarm/sensor, I love it so much) and poked the meat. Voila! It was just over 200 degrees!
I took the meat out to cool and contemplated the juices and liquid left behind. I threw them out, but only because I intended to toss the meat with sauce when I reheated it. If I hadn’t, I would have cooled and skimmed the liquid to keep around for moistening the meat.
Once the meat was cool enough to handle, I grabbed my giant cutting board and started pulling hunks off of the . . . bigger hunk. I shredded all the meat with two forks, discarding any fat, and threw it all back into the (cleaned) Crock Pot liner.
Then I grabbed a bowl and mixed a couple of barbecue sauces I had on hand. One was a vinegary sauce, the other was a dark, sweet concoction that almosted tasted like candy. I played around until I got the balance I liked, and poured it over the meat in the Crock Pot. That went back on low while I made my potato salad to go with it.
And it was gooooood. The gf came home from work and pretty much lost her mind at the smell that was wafting through the apartment. We made Pulled Pork sandwiches and ate potato salad and watched stupid tv. And I finally got my barbecue!