Monday, February 11, 2013

Slow Cooker Carolina Barbecue

Slow cooked pork, shredded, and in a vinegar based sauce.  It reminds me of home.


For those of you who don't know, I grew up in North Carolina.  Everyone in NC has different ideas about what makes great barbecue.  Some like a tomato based sauce, which you find more in the western part of the state, and others only like the vinegar based eastern style.  One thing I think we can all agree on is that it has to be pork.  I grew up in western NC but I did not find a love for barbecue until I went to college in Greenville, NC which is east.  In college I fell in love with the vinegar based sauce that has a spicy kick.  Once again every cook has their own idea of what makes the vinegar sauce taste great.  I usually make it a little different every time trying to develop the flavor I like.  Here is my version, this time, and I think it is the best I've made so far.

Vinegar sauce:

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup pickled jalapeno juice
1/4 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp habanero flakes

Stir all of the ingredients together until combined and place in a sealed container to refrigerate overnight.

Place pork roast (usually called butt but I think it is actually shoulder, I used something called 'pork shoulder country style boneless ribs--because I found it on sale) in the slow cooker.  Season with salt and pepper, then pour on the sauce (I only had a little over 1 pound of meat so I only used half of the sauce).  Add a dash of liquid smoke if you like, and let it cook on low for about 8 hours or until falling apart.

Using a fork pull apart the cooked pork into shreds.  You can lift the pork out of the slow cooker and shred it in a separate container to make it a little less greasy but make sure to reserve some of the vinegar sauce to add to it once it is shredded.  I just added the shredded pork back to the cooking liquid.  It all depends on how much fat was on your roast, it tastes better to leave the fat on while cooking, but you can remove some of the grease by removing the pork from the cooking liquid.  If you do not put the shredded pork back into the cooking liquid, heat the reserved vinegar sauce before pouring it over.

The number of servings depends on how much pork you used, I had about 4 servings with over 1 pound of pork.  Serve with your favorite sides like cole slaw, greens, fried okra, corn, and bread (just to name a few) or make a sandwich with the pork on a good bun and topped with some cole slaw.  Enjoy.


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