Pulled Pork Barbecue

Posted on 09/20/2011. Filed under: Dinner, Life, Pork |

Hey y’all! I do believe I have mentioned before how much I love the pig. I love bacon, I love ham, I love prosciutto, I love sausage (ha ha, double entendre!), and I love some pulled pork barbecue. Really, I love barbecue in general. I’m the chick who has sauce all over her face while holding a rib in one hand and sucking sauce off her fingers from her other hand. I will slap my mother for some good smoked brisket. Barbecue chicken is summer. Anyway, I love barbecue. Last weekend, I was driving home from the Goochland Drive-In after seeing my friend Celia Finkelstein in Horrible Bosses, and I had the brilliant idea to turn my crock pot into a smoker and make some pulled pork barbecue. Why not?? I’d heard and read about methods where people turned their oven into a smoker with a roasting pan and keeping the temperature low, smoking the meat for 8 hours or more, so why not do it in a crock pot?

All week I’d been plotting in my head how this was going to work: I was going to put soaked woodchips in the bottom of the insert of the crock pot, put non-stick foil over the chips, poke holes in the foil, put the meat on top of the foil, put the lid on it (and everything will turn out riiiiiiigggghhhht! I love the Squirrel Nut Zippers!!), set that sucker to low and in 8 or 9 hours, voy-ola you have barbecue! Sounded easy and totally do-able! This means barbecue in the winter!!

So I consulted my Facebook friends, one of whom is the executive chef at Tommy’s Restaurant in Reedville, about my methods and where to purchase the woodchips as I had no idea, especially since fall arrived here suddenly this week and we’re now past Labor Day. I also figured this would be a good Supper Club meal for The Men as Matt would be home from college and Flogging Molly was playing The National on Sunday, September 18. Saturday, I went to Lowe’s and bought a bag of Hickory woodchips. Then I went to Kroger and bought a pork butt (I have no idea how much it weighed but by feel, I had a big butt…get it? No, seriously, the butt probably weighed 5 lbs? I know it was about $15 with my Kroger card), paprika, cumin, a 24 oz. can of Heineken, and a few other things. I came home and put dry woodchips in the crock pot to measure out how much to use, then put them in a pitcher, poured the Heineken over the chips, added about an ounce and a half of Wild Turkey American Honey, and let the chips soak starting at about 5pm on Saturday afternoon.

Chips soaking in beer and bourbon

And then I took Mom out for her birthday dinner at her favorite place in Richmond, Joe’s Inn in the Fan. We always get the same thing, her the Spaghetti a la Joe, and I get the Spaghetti a la Greek. And another great thing about going to Joe’s this time of the year is that they have my beloved Legend Oktoberfest on tap. This beer is one of the many reasons why I love fall. Awesome beer. After dinner, we picked up a friend from church and went to the Goochland Drive-In. Yes, this was actually my third week in a row going to the Drive-In, the first one being for a date (who then later dumped me after two dates because I didn’t put out….nice! haha!!), the second with a friend, and then this weekend for Chick Flick Double Feature of The Help (which was so good, really well written, directed and acted. I love Emma Stone and have a tiny girl crush on her) and Bridesmaids(which really could have been funnier…Melissa McCarthy totally stole the movie and was incredibly hilarious but Kristen Wiig’s character was just really frigging depressing). When we got home from the movies, I stayed up and rubbed my pork butt.

I’d found a recipe online (on my iPhone, how 21st Century of me) for a rub that looked good. It was a quarter cup of paprika and two tablespoons each of the following: sugar, brown sugar, salt, black pepper, cayenne, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder. I mixed the spices together in a bowl with a fork, rinsed and dried the pork with paper towels, and then massaged the hell outta my butt. (hee hee!) I coated the pork with the rub and got in any nooks and crannies, put it on a plate and wrapped it in plastic wrap (which my friend Frank later pointed out to me that next time to leave it unwrapped in the fridge as to let the meat “dry out” a little and there would be more of a bark on the pork…will try this for next time!). I put the butt in the fridge and went to bed at 2am Sunday morning.

Spices assembled for butt rub

Ready to be rubbed


All rubbed up and ready for the fridge

Y’all, 7am is damn early when you’ve only slept for five hours. Or for me it is anyway. I stumbled downstairs, rubbing my eyes and got to work. I took the woodchips that had been soaking in beer and bourbon since 5pm the day before out on the counter, strained the liquid from the wood and nearly got drunk from the fumes of the boozy wood. That was a hell of a way to suddenly wake up! I decided to reserve the beery bourbon for a sauce later and put it in the fridge. I think I had about two cups left.

I put the chips in the crock pot and put some non-stick foil over the wood and poked holes all over with a toothpick. I put the pork on top of the foil (fat side up), put the lid over the pork, plugged her in and set the temp to low. I quickly washed my mess and went back to sleep. When I got up four hours later, the house smelled so good. Smokey and spicy and porky yummy.

Then I got some bad news. Matt texted that he wouldn’t be able to make it, his fraternity was holding their pledge initiation that night. Well, I understood but since the pork was already cooking, and Dan was coming for dinner anyway, we went ahead with Supper Club. Although, Dan and I decided not to see Flogging Molly as he’d just gotten off work and I had household stuff to do like laundry. Besides, I was exhausted from all this cooking.

I took the beery bourbon out of the fridge and poured it in a saucepan and heated the pot on medium with a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and a splash of apple cider vinegar and let it simmer and reduce down for about 45 minutes. While that was going, I roasted a head of garlic for hummus.

Simmering booze

I removed the sauce from the heat and took the garlic out of the oven, and let them both come to room temperature. When the pork was ready, I heated the vinegar sauce back up and in another saucepan I heated up the rest of an old bottle of still-good Whole Foods Mesquite barbecue sauce with liquid from the chips and pork in the bottom of the crock pot. I also added the same crock pot liquid to the vinegar sauce. I let the pork rest for about 20 minutes before shredding. I took the pork out of the crock pot at about 5:30. Mom had told me later that the outlet I’d plugged the crock pot in had stopped working and needed to be reset, and the pork didn’t start really cooking until 8am that morning.

I pulled apart the pork and it was just falling apart. Tender and juicy, the rub was nice and spicy. While it didn’t have a crust that I was hoping for, and it wasn’t as smokey as I’d hoped (because there ended up being a lot of juice in the crock pot from the chips and the pork), but it was still very good. I then added pulled pork to both the vinegar sauce and tomato barbecue sauce, put Tabasco in both pots for more kick. To the vinegar pulled pork, I added rice vinegar for more tang, Worcestershire sauce, and several dashes of Tabasco, salt, pepper, and honey for a little sweetness.

All done!

Just falling apart and fork-tender

Pulled pork with the vinegar sauce

Pulled pork with the barbecue sauce


Dan came over for dinner and we had a sandwich of each type of pulled pork, along with Kraft macaroni & cheese, Martin’s red skin potato salad, and Martin’s cole slaw. Y’all, my barbecue is so good! It’s different than what you’d expect of pulled pork barbecue but it’s just really good. Mom and Dan loved it and raved, and both had a hard time deciding which type was better. And the best part is that there are tons of leftovers. Dan brought a Meritage that was delicious and complimented the meal perfectly. A nice soft juicy wine that had the right amount of dryness.

Dessert was a devil’s food cake with white buttercream from Martin’s for Mom’s birthday. We watched football and laid about in a barbecue daze.

I would totally do this again, but I think next time I do believe I will try the oven method of smoking to see if I could get more of that smokey flavor and a bark to the meat. But who knows, I may go back to the crock pot method for more simplicity. Either way, barbecue and the pig are gifts from God.

Bon Appetit, Y’All!


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2 Responses to “Pulled Pork Barbecue”

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Shannon! Never, ever leave me! This is a great idea – I love pulled pork barbecue and I love my crockpot. I don’t know if I’m cook enough to pull (get it!) it off, but it sure sounds delicious! Love your blog.

Love you more, Anna!

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