Monday, March 7, 2011

It's a Pig Pickin'!

Originally posted 2/15/11

Hello all-how was your Valentine’s Day?  Mine was fine.  I worked in Addy’s classroom for her Valentine’s part.  It was cute.  They are at a good age…..they haven’t hit the age where you really start to care about what the opposite sex thinks of you.  She had no problem giving out Valentine’s cards that said anything about “love” to the boys in her class.  I can remember being young and sorting through the Valentines to make sure I wasn’t giving a boy one that could be read the wrong way.  And the kids are still so cute and loving.  A couple of them hugged me for helping with the party….You definitely don’t get that when they are older;)
Anyway….I made one of Chris’s favorite things last night for dinner….pulled pork.  Or my version of “pulled pork”.  I use my slow cooker, which I know would be frowned upon in the south….where they smoke their pork.  I don’t have a smoker, nor do I have the skill to BBQ something in a pit….But I do have a slow cooker, and I’m not afraid to use it;) 
Many of you know that I have an obsession with the American South….and I know I have mentioned it before.  Pulled pork is big in the south; therefore it is big in my house;)  I even had a “Pig Pickin” party for Paisley’s first birthday.  I didn’t cook a whole pig, so I was using the “Pig Pickin” name loosely.  Everybody loves a good pig pickin', right?  Well, unless you keep kosher;) 
So instead of a whole pig, I use a pork butt.  Mainly I use it because it is the best part of the pig to throw in the slow cooker, but I also like saying “pork butt”.  The pork butt (or you could use pork shoulder), will get all tender and fall apart after a good amount of time in the slow cooker. 
I start by browning the pork in a big pot.  I always brown my meat before I put it in the slow cooker.  I think this is a vital step.  It makes the flavor so much better, and you won’t end up with weird grey meat like you could if you don’t brown it first.  I brown it on all sides in a bit of oil.
My butt has a net on it that helps hold it together.  I keep it on the entire time, but if your butt isn’t wearing a net….no big deal.  Now that was a sentence I never thought I would type!
Above is what I am going to add to the slow cooker with the butt.  I cook it in beer!  Don’t laugh at the beer I am using, it was all I had.  I also use Worcestershire sauce and a whole bunch of spices.  I use paprika, minced dried onion, minced dried garlic, chili powder, cumin and salt & pepper.  This makes the pork smoky and so, so good.  It will smell like good barbecue….
I put the browned pork in the slow cooker with the beer and spices.  Yes, this is a spice rub, and yes you could put it on the pork before you brown it.  I choose not to because I feel that too much comes off the pork while browning and doesn’t make it to the slow cooker.  But if you want to put it on earlier, that’s your prerogative, Bobby Brown.  I let this cook for 8 hours, but you could go 6 or 10….whichever works for you and your schedule.
After the pork has cooked and cooled a bit, I shred it.  It will be falling apart already, so shredding it is pretty much your only option.  I discard the sauce it cooked in.
I mix my shredded pork with Gourmet Rooster Caroline Style BBQ Sauce.  It is mustard based and amazing with pork. 

I like to serve my pulled pork in a sandwich, topped with coleslaw.  I make the coleslaw in the morning so that it has time to sit in the fridge and let the dressing really soak in.  I make my own dressing.  Coleslaw dressing is one of the easiest things to make.  There really is no reason to ever buy it pre-made.
I use mayonnaise, sugar, white vinegar and more Gourmet Rooster Carolina Style BBQ Sauce.  I like to echo the flavor of the pork…..that is very cheffy of me, right?  Sometimes I like to pretend I know what I’m doing;)
After I mix the dressing ingredients together, I pour it over a package of pre-shredded coleslaw…..meaning somebody shredded the cabbage and carrots for me.  I cover it tightly with plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge until the pork is ready.
Ummmm, seriously….have you ever seen a prettier sandwich?  This is a recipe that you have to try.  It is so easy and delicious.  It is perfect for a busy day….if you know you will be too busy to cook dinner, you can pop this in the slow cooker in the morning!  I’ve always thought that the slow cooker is a working mom/dad’s best friend.  Plus, when you get home from work….your house smells amazing!  And, it makes a ton…..so you get yummy leftovers too!

Slow Cooker Puller Pork
1 pork butt
12 ounces beer
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons minced, dried onion
2 Tablespoons minced, dried garlic
2 Tablespoons paprika
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper

Brown pork butt on all sides in oil.  Transfer to slow cooker.  Add beer, Worcestershire and spices.  Cook on low for 8 hours. 
Let cool and shred.  Discard cooking liquid and top with BBQ sauce.

Coleslaw Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup sugar
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
1/3 cup Gourmet Rooster Carolina Style BBQ Sauce
Salt and pepper

Whisk ingredients together and pour over coleslaw. Salt and pepper to taste. Chill for at least 2 hours.

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