Slow Cook, Taste It Easy


So Alex got me this sweet crock pot for my birthday this summer, and I’ve been waiting months for a perfect cold Sunday to kick back and cook up some BBQ pulled pork.

Now before anyone gets all up in my face and yells that this is not BBQ at all (I’m looking at you, Tim), let it be known that I fully understand this is not BBQ at all, but merely a city kid’s indoor imitation of it. You might even call it cheating, but you had better not, because it took me 12 effing hours.

I searched around quickly for this, but the basic recipes (here, here, here) are all pretty much the same, with the only main argument about how long you should cook it for. So I went out to the supermarket and bought a giant pork shoulder, which surprisingly cost about 8 bucks – pretty great considering I’ve got a good 10+ meals coming out of this. The shoulder was so big that I actually had to chop it up a bit to get it to fit in the slow cooker.

Now, ya’ll might yell at me again ’bout this, but as much as I love pulled pork, I’m not a huge fan of the sauce. I often find traditional BBQ sauce too ketchup-y, and you know how we feel about ketchup. So instead I whipped up my own semi-hot sauce: Sriracha, white wine vinegar, worcestershire sauce, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper.

So I poured the sauce on my pork shoulder, set the thing on low and let it cook there for eight hours! I am not the most patient chef ever, to say the least, so as you can imagine I was a little antsy all day. I checked it after 8 hours, and, as one of the recipes recommended, at that point began to remove the fat. I felt like a pretty hardcore butcher chopping off fat.  The meat tasted good, but not quite as tender as I wanted, so I put it back on to simmer for another four hours. This of course meant I didn’t even get to eat it for dinner that night, but I was determined to get this one right…

So around midnight, there I am in my kitchen, chopping the remaining pork fat away, ripping the meat off the bone, and shredding it with forks. Quite a process this is for an imitation meal! It’s pretty effing great though.

Since I went with a kind of Asian sauce instead of traditional BBQ, I had the idea to serve it on this naan bread type thing that I bought in Jackson Heights. And I put sour cream on top. I know this isn’t BBQ-style or Asian-style, but can you really blame me for sour cream?


For my next pulled pork meal, I went a l’il more traditional. I chopped up a pickle from Guss’, mixed it up with the pork and toasted it all up on some whole wheat bread. I was gonna try to do no-dairy for this one, but couldn’t resist melting a bit of jack on top.


This weekend, I think I’ll go for pulled pork tacos or pulled pork quesadillas. Any other ideas? I’ve got practically a gallon of this stuff. BUT – here’s where I really need help. I also have a pork bone in my fridge, and a container of pork fat in the freezer, which makes me feel pretty badass, but i have no idea what to do with either. Soup recipes? Pork fat popcorn? Drop some ideas, people!

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  • disgruntled girlfriend November 13, 2008  

    a crock pot! what an awesome birthday gift. Some of us get crock pots for our birthdays from our SOs…others receive gardening gloves….

  • disgruntled girlfriend November 13, 2008  

    ….when the garden is full of tree-like weeds….

  • Maidelitala November 13, 2008  

    I know a really amazing cook (whose cooking I rarely get to sample because it’s so heavy on the leche and the meat) who used leftover pig carcass to make what – by all accounts – was a truly tasty potato soup. He soaked the bones in cold water for a few waters, drained the water, boiled the bones is fresh water for a few minutes, drained the water again. Then he added fresh water, to the bones, brought to a simmer and added a bunch of spices and potatoes, adding more water as the broth reduced. it took several hours, but in the end everyone oo’ed and ahhh’ed and I glared menacingly at our host.

  • BS November 13, 2008  

    wow that sounds pretty amazing. But I’m a little confused (about soup in general, to be honest)…are you saving all that water or draining it? what’s used for the base of the soup? the boiled water?

  • Maidelitala November 13, 2008  

    yeah the first two times the boiled water gets thrown away when it’s drained. Apparently the pork bones add enough flavor that he just needed to use the boiled bones and the potatoes (and other spices, salt Im sure, etc). But basically, you soak the pork bones in cold water for a couple of hours to get rid of excess blood (ew!). Then you boil them for several minutes and get rid of that water, and then you really take time to cook them and retain the water and add more water as the water level gets low. Apparently it’s what uncivilized people did before god invented bullion cubes.

  • BS November 13, 2008  

    thanks! Way to drop some knowledge, vegetarian!!

  • Maidelitala November 13, 2008  

    I’m so embarrassed ….

  • Tim November 13, 2008  

    No, I’ve only got love for it, and you. We’re from the streets, and we don’t have all those fancy smokers and pits. I actually let a pork shoulder hang out in my oven for 12 hours just about 3 weeks ago. The texture was perfect, but the flavor was way too hammy, so my indoor method needs improvement. I just found Alice’s gramma’s crockpot last night, so I’m bound to slow cook something soon. Respect. Also, you know I hate ketchup-y bbq sauces. That doesn’t mean you can’t be traditional. …next time try cider vinegar, distilled vinegar, bourbon, mustard, and a little brown sugar and cayenne pepper. Es good.

  • Tim November 13, 2008  

    As far as your fat and bones, there are two other options that may be a little more simple than Maidelitala’s… not that the potato soup doesn’t sound awesome. I also suspect you have plenty of fat and bones to go around. Anyway, those bones and fat will make the most incredible greens you’ve ever had. Kale is definitely the best, but they’ll make you see collards, turnip, mustard, any greens in a whole new light. You’ll never cook them w/o pork fat again. Also, bean soup. Grab a lb or two of your favorite beans (dry), or if you don’t have favorite beans, then get the 16 bean mix, soak in cold water overnight, drain, rinse, and then slow cook them with bones and pork fat for a few hours. Throw in some celery, salt, and pepper and you’re good to go. Word. Oh, and apple cider vinegar goes perfectly with the greens, actually I put it in the soup, too.

  • BS November 13, 2008  

    oh that is such a good idea! gonna go get me some greens asap.

  • gansie November 13, 2008  

    there is nothing i want to eat less than slow cooked bbq pulled pork

  • gansie November 13, 2008  

    let me explain:
    i hate the texture of pulled anything
    i’m still not down with pork
    i don’t like bbq sauce, asian or otherwise

  • Alex November 13, 2008  

    I really want to eat the pulled pork. And I’m not ashamed, either as a Jew or as a vegetarian.

    But can’t you also just roast the bones and then boil them to make stock instead of all this soaking, boiling, boiling, etc.?

  • 80 Proof November 13, 2008  

    I hope my friend Jeb gets online here at some point with his recipe. He’s become a pig shoulder slow cooking and bbq sauce expert.

  • Harmony November 13, 2008  

    Ham and bean Soup

    Ham bone, with a good amount of meat on it still
    1 can reduced sodium chicken broth/stock
    1 can reduced sodium vegetable broth/stock
    1 lb. baby carrots
    2 cans white beans, rinsed. or 1 lb dry beans, prepped accordingly
    2 stalks celery
    1 onion cut into quarters
    1 can corn

    I did this all in my crockpot, but you can easily do it in a pan

    Put ham bone, celery, onion, both broths, and enough water to fill crockpot/pan
    up to the 2/3 full. I cooked all this on low with some adobo seasoning overnight,
    but simmering in a pan for an hour or so should achieve the same result. Pour liquid
    through a strainer and put back into pot/crockpot. Pick out bones and any fatty or
    gross looking ham bits, and remove meat from bone. Add meat back to liquid. You can
    also put the onion and celery back in, but I chose not to.

    Here I turned my crockpot up to high for about 3 hours, so I’d turn a pot up to boil
    for about a half hour or so, then added the baby carrots. I also didn’t have much meat
    left on my ham bone so I added another cup of diced ham at this point. Cooked on high for another 3 hours, so keep your pot at a low boil for another hour. After all that I added my 2 cans of white beans(rinsed) and my can of corn and cooked for one more hour, I would estimate that’s about another 20 minutes on the low boil in a pan. Viola! Soup’s done!

    I also made a garlic and cheddar quick bread to serve with the soup, fantastic pairing.
    Sorry for the super sized comment.

  • gansie November 13, 2008  

    girl! give us the quick bread recipe too. loving the super size comment!

  • Yvo November 13, 2008  

    Dude hotness. I’ve been eyeing a slow cooker for this very thing – pulled pork which I ADORE (sorry Gansie but pulled pork = teh yumz, the way it melty fat in my mouth ahhh). But – ok I’m going to guess you worked from home that day – I really have an issue with leaving it on all day while I’m at work, and I see yours doesn’t have a timer – I’m all sorts of confused over what kind of slow cooker I should get so that it doesn’t overcook 🙁 (I leave the house at 8:15 and on a good day, I get home at 6:30, but most days it’s closer to 8.) ANYONE HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR A FIRST TIME SLOW COOKER PURCHASER?

    PS I loveloveLOVE Alex and her calling-you-out-on-your-own-site comments =X Kick his butttttt!!! Gardening gloves *kick* hehe

  • Jeb November 13, 2008  

    I don’t have my recipe handy but I’ll go from memory. So I’m southern and I cook my pork in a slow cooker because…it’s really easy (and I like smelling pork when I wake up on a Saturday morning).

    Anyway, as far as I can tell, its really hard to mess up a pork butt or shoulder. I put together a dry rub of salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, chili powder and brown sugar amongst some other things. I coat the hell out of it. As for the liquid i add to the slow cooker, it includes white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, a bit of water to cut it, more red pepper flakes for spice, and my secret is a lot of pickle juice. I might be missing a few things.

    I don’t cut off the fat until it’s completely done cooking. I cook it for 10 hours and it falls off the bone.

    I also create my own BBQ sauce which is kind of a hybrid between eastern NC (which is a vinegar base, no ketchup whatsoever) and mustard (South carolina style). I’ll try to post my recipe later.

  • Jeb November 13, 2008  

    Oh, and our favorite thing to make with it for leftovers is pork nachos. The wife also made some also pork soup yesterday.

  • Harmony November 14, 2008  

    Per your request. the garlic cheddar quick bread.

    2 cups flour
    1 Tbsp. sugar
    1-1/2 tsp. CALUMET Baking Powder
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold butter or margarine
    2 cups shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
    1 cup milk
    1 egg, beaten
    2 Tbs. minced jarred garlic

    Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour 8×8 or 9×9 pan. Mix dry ingredients; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cheese. Add combined milk, egg and garlic; stir just until moistened. Mixture will be quite thick and heavy. Spoon into pan, and bake 25 – 30 minutes or until golden brown on top and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. It comes out almost like corn bread, but so much better.

  • Yvo November 14, 2008  

    Oh and what you can do with what you have left: invite me over. Sandwiches. Shovel it into your greedy lil mouth freehand. Put it on just about anything. Make a vegetarian bean soup and then layer that sucker on top. Quesedillas. The bad-ass-est sandwich in the world.
    PS I read a recipe that uses root beer, and I intend to use that one…

  • rooms November 15, 2008  

    We bought half a pig (aka a “side of pork”) from a local farm this year, so I’ve got plenty of pork around that I’m looking for recipes for. I just put my butt in the cooker and turned it on. This is what’s in there with it: some leftover BBQ sauce, some pickle juice from bread & butter pickles, some pickle juice from kosher dill pickles, a whole smoked and dried mystery chile that I got when I was in guatemala that is the size of my hand, worcestershire sauce, grey salt, brown sugar, a dash of molasses and some cab franc. I’ll let y’all know how it turns out. PS, is this post winning for greatest bulk of comments on ES ever?

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