Barbecue is a quintessential summer meal. Â From pulled pork to brisket to ribs, cooking meat low and slow practically defines lazy summer days. Â While unquestionably worth it, one doesn’t always have the time, inclination or equipment required for some of the more hard-core barbecue recipes (Kansas City-style ribs, for example, can take up to 20 hours to prepare — at least the recipe we used took that long.) Â Enter the slow-cooker and this recipe. Â The meat still takes a while to cook (6-8 hours), but needs less tending (just pat it down with the dry rub, place it in the slow-cooker with some onions, add the vinegar sauce, set the cooker on low and let it cook.) Â Barbecue doesn’t get much easier, and although it won’t have the signature smoke ring and flavor from pulled pork cooked in a smoker, the tender and tangy end result belies the simple preparation and cooking method. Â Perfect for a truly lazy summer day.
Start by mixing up the ingredients for the dry rub: Â brown sugar, paprika, salt and pepper.
Then whisk together the ingredients for the vinegar sauce: Â apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire, red pepper flakes, sugar, dry mustard, garlic salt and cayenne pepper.
Peel the onion and cut into rings. Â Don’t worry about being too precise with the size. Â We found that the onions add a lot of flavor to the pork while it cooks — so much so that they don’t really taste like anything when the pork is done — so no need to make them too pretty or presentable.
The original recipe calls for a boneless pork butt roast. Â We ended up using a bone-in roast, cut in half. Â (We cut it in half because we didn’t start cooking it early enough in the day for it to cook the recommended 10-12 hours, and we thought cutting it in half would help it cook a little faster. Â We were right.) Â Rub the pork on all sides with the dry spice rub.
Place the onions in the bottom of the slow-cooker, lay the pork on top, then pour half of the vinegar sauce all over the pork and onions. Â Set the cooker to low and let it cook for 8-10 hours, depending on the size of the pork roast (and how early of a start you get, or how late you’re willing to eat dinner.) Â The original recipe recommends drizzling half of the vinegar sauce over the pork and onions to start, then drizzling the remaining portion when the pork is halfway done cooking. Â Keep an eye on the meat and add sauce (or not) as needed to keep it moist as it cooks, without having it get too soupy. Â Turns out that ours didn’t need any of the extra sauce.
Being a blog writer, I’m also a blog reader. Â But not just food blogs — all different kinds. Â One of my favorites is a design/life/whatever-she-wants-to-write-about blog by the funny, irreverent (in a good way — she’s not afraid of the swear words, also in a good way), talented and entertaining Jenny from mfamb.com, which is where I came across this pulled pork recipe. Â Jenny wisely recommended serving the pork with this recipe for Alabama white sauce, and she was right: Â the sauce is “some seriously delicious sh*t,” made with mayo, white wine vinegar, garlic, spicy brown mustard, sugar, horseradish and salt & pepper. Â It’s a spicy/creamy/tangy/tasty alternative to traditional red BBQ sauce and pairs very well with the pork.
Use a couple of big forks to “pull” the pork into shredded pieces. Â It should be the definition of “fork tender,” in that it shreds and pulls away from the bone with very little effort. Â Are you sensing the theme here of “easy” and “lazy”? Â My favorite kind of cooking, that just happens to also be really delicious.
We served the pulled pork with the white sauce and hot & sour slawÂ for a simple, summery barbecue meal — no charcoal, wood chips, smoker or grill required.