The surprise was pleasant. Not super-fantastic and unique, but really good in a stick-to-your-ribs, comfort food, kinda way. The flavors were all very familiar. It tasted like a typical crock pot meat and gravy meal. The dish gave the impression that it took more time and effort than it actually did...so that was very cool.
The meat was literally fall off the bone tender...I had to fish the bones out of the gravy before serving. I felt that the gravy was a little thin, but really that was my fault. I did not feel like putting a lot of effort into thickening the gravy. I did not want to fight with consistency, so I let the thin gravy slide...the overall taste did not suffer.
I tempered some sour cream, a tablespoon of butter, and a little splash of milk into the pot to dress up the gravy. To do this, I mixed the new ingredients together in a separate bowl. I put some of the hot liquid in the separate bowl, as well. This allowed the different temperatures time to get used to each other (so the cold ingredients did not curdle). I mixed everything together before adding to the big slow cooker. Then, I just turned off the slow cooker, removed the meat bones, and mixed the contents of my second bowl into the slow cooker with a wire whisk. Once everything was smooth and combined, I served the meat and gravy over rice with green beans on the side.
Overall, I was happy with the result. It was yummy and very, very easy. I would make this again in a heartbeat. Also, I think you could use any protein and get the same outcome. Chicken would definitely work. This was a great no-fuss, time-saver of a meal.