I know I’ve mentioned before about how enjoyable I find cooking. I love experimenting, trying different combinations of ingredients and spices, and preparing things in new or different ways. Every once in a while I stumble upon something that becomes a family standard and I thought I’d share one of those with you. Crock Pot Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwiches.
The most wonderful thing (and worst thing for your wallet) about this recipe is that there are a bunch of ingredients that offers multiple opportunities to adjust it to your taste. Feelin’ spicy? Amp it up a bit with more hot pepper sauce. If you don’t consume alcohol, you can leave it out (but its so much better with it). Prefer something a bit sweeter? Sprinkle in some extra brown sugar. Alter the ratio of tomato paste to ketchup. I could go on all day!
So, first put about a cup of water in the bottom of the slow cooker, plop in a roast (either beef or pork, I used beef today) and let it cook. You should know your crock pot and whether you want to cook it all day on low or a few hours on high. Just keep an eye on it so it doesn’t go dry or your roast isn’t scorching on the sides.
About an hour before the roast should be done, you can start making the sauce. Here’s the base recipe which is a bit tangy, but you can tweak it to make it your own:
1/2 onion, minced
3/4 cup bourbon whiskey
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 Tablespoon salt
1 cup ketchup
1 cup tomato paste
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons Liquid Smoke flavoring
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
In a large saucepan combine onion, garlic and bourbon. Simmer over medium heat, approx. 10 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the black pepper, salt, ketchup, tomato paste, vinegar, liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and hot pepper sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium/low. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the sauce is simmering, pull the roast out of the crock pot into a large bowl or platter. (At this point, I usually remove any visible fat and discard it, but you can keep it if you choose.) My method for shredding the meat is to use two forks on small sections of the roast at a time. I like mine finely shredded, but again, texture it to your taste.
Once the sauce is done you can either use it as is or strain it to remove the pieces of onion and garlic. In a large mixing bowl, combine the meat and sauce, and carefully turn the sauce throughout (make no mistakes, this stuff will stain). After mixing, I usually let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then do a taste test. (It may just be me, but it seems the sauce tastes differently after its mixed into the meat.) Serve on buns or rolls of your choice with plenty of napkins. Enjoy!
Like a lot of things, this will taste even better the next day. If I have time, I try to make it a day ahead of when I need it.