I love BBQ. Being a person from the South, BBQ was an important staple in my diet. Growing up, we had BBQ at least three times a week if not more. When I moved to Arizona, one of the most disappointing things was the lack of "good" BBQ. Sigh. Needless to say, I do not have BBQ nearly enough. Also, there is a distinct difference between "good" long-cooking, slow-smoked, BBQ and the "so-so" BBQ that is available in this part of the country. Unfortunately, most of the BBQ I have had lately has fallen into the "so-so" category. Oh well...what AZ lacks in BBQ, they certainly make up for in excellent Mexican food.
Needless to say, I crave BBQ from time to time. At least when I make it at home, I can get a good facsimile of BBQ...but certainly not the real deal. Even when we use our smoker, it still only partially meets my expectations. I don't know what it is...I think it is some sort of Southern magic that makes the BBQ down there so good.
Well, tonight's meal is a dumbed-down version of traditional BBQ pulled pork. I had part of a pork loin to use up, so I decided to take the easy way out and put it in the slow cooker. I have never tried this method before, but it is kinda like the way I make my BBQ ribs. The only difference is that I boil my ribs in beer first, then I slather 'em with a rub, and then throw 'em on the grill or smoker. I hope that I will get a similar result by cooking them in beer, in the crock pot. Keep your fingers crossed for me! I am also making homemade whole wheat hamburger buns (a first...see separate post) and fresh cole slaw to go with these sandwiches. All in all, this should be a tasty and comforting dinner.
Jen's Easy BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches
1 pork loin (mine is about 2 lbs.)
1/2 bottle of your favorite beer (I used Foster's)
1/3 cup of water
Salt and pepper to taste
3-4 shakes of Worcestershire sauce
2 smashed fresh garlic cloves
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
About 1 teaspoon of the following spices:
Cajun blackening seasoning (I use Paul Prudhomme's Steak Magic)
Place pork loin in slow cooker, fat side up. Sprinkle pork with spices, including salt and pepper. Add beer, water, and garlic cloves. Add Worcestershire sauce. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 4 hours (depending on how fast/hot your slow cooker runs). With a large spoon, baste pork with juices every two hours (this step is optional--if you decide to do it, work quickly and get the lid back on fast). When cooking is complete, pull pork out of slow cooker. Pour slow cooker liquid into a separate bowl and set aside. Place pork back into slow cooker and shred the meat with fork or pull it apart with fingers. Pour 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid back into the meat (maybe more depending on how much meat you have and how saucy you like your pulled pork). Mix shredded meat with 1/2 to 1 full bottle of BBQ sauce (once again,the quantity will depend on how saucy you like your meat). Mix thoroughly. Cook on high for an additional 1/2 hour with lid on (if you need it thicker, leave the lid off). Serve mixture on buns and enjoy!
Jen's Cole Slaw
1 bag of pre-shredded cole slaw salad mix
¾ cup of mayo
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of lime juice
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of white sugar
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
Combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl, mixing thoroughly with a wire whisk. In a separate, large bowl place cole slaw salad mix. Pour dressing over cole slaw mix and toss to combine thoroughly. Use as a side dish or a sandwich topping.
I don't have bagged cole slaw mix, so I am just going to make my own. I shredded 1/2 head of cored green cabbage, 1/2 head of cored red cabbage, and 4 peeled carrots in the food processor. Then, I just followed the directions for the dressing and tossed with the salad greens. Yum! I can't wait for dinner!
Delicious, comforting, yummy. Perfect, Perfect, Perfect!!! Seriously good eats.
I love that our whole meal tonight was basically all homemade, without any processed ingredients (with the exception of the BBQ sauce). I feel a certain sense of accomplishment...some sort of strange version of pride. I don't know...I just really like taking care of my family and making sure they have wholesome, nutritious foods to eat. I guess I could call it "job satisfaction", since as a stay-at-home mom, my main focus is taking care of our house and family. I sometimes feel guilty over 'not enough vegetables' or 'cooking with canned, condensed soup and tater tots'. Like a lot of people, I sometimes cut corners to get dinner on the table. I need to remember that it's only an occasional thing. I need to cut myself some slack and remind myself that more often than not, I do make an effort to keep healthy and economical meals on our table. Okay...I am done patting myself on the back....
Anyway, I froze the remainder of my hamburger buns, except for one. I plan to have another one of these sandwiches tomorrow for lunch!