Pulled-pork: another summertime treat! (Also known as BBQ.) I think there is a little debate on this, but in my book, BBQ refers to Pulled Pork with BBQ sauce on it. I know you can barbecue just about any meat, but I call them barbecued chicken, barbecued ribs, etc. BBQ is pulled pork with sauce, so from here on out you will know what I mean.
I love to eat slow-cooked BBQ from the grill or smoker, but sometimes I just don’t want to put all the time and effort into making it that way, so I use my crockpot. It is super easy to make, but still requires a tiny bit of planning, so be sure to give yourself a little time to do the prep.
BBQ is just not BBQ without coleslaw. It’s also terrific served with hush puppies, and if you don’t know what those are, you are really missing out. We’ll save those for a future post as I’m still trying to find the perfect recipe.
Coleslaw can be a tricky thing sometimes. I got this “recipe” from my mom who got it from her mom, except I add a pinch of celery seed. The exact quantities of ingredients vary every time we make it, but you have to taste it and decide if it needs a little more of this or a little more of that. If it is too vinegary for you, you can add some sugar. If it is too sweet, then add a touch of vinegar. It all comes down to personal preference. I like mine a little more on the vinegary side to complement the sweetness of the BBQ sauce. You just have to remember all the ingredients are approximations.
Growing up, I preferred my coleslaw on the side, as I liked everything very separate on my plate. But, as an adult, I like my coleslaw served on top of the BBQ in my sandwich. I think the flavors complement each other perfectly!
Crockpot Pulled-Pork BBQ Sandwiches
1 boneless pork butt or shoulder roast (4-5 pounds)
Wet Rub (see recipe below)
1/2 cup water
Barbecue Sauce (your favorite)
Sandwich or Hamburger Buns
3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 1/2 Tbsp)
1/2 cup whole-grain mustard
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp coarse salt
2 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp paprika (preferably smoked)
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 (16 ounce) package coleslaw mix
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup milk (or buttermilk)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/8 tsp celery seeds
1-2 Tbsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1. To make Wet Rub: Stir together all ingredients in a small bowl to form a paste.
2. Trim pork of excess fat. Spread wet rub evenly over pork and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to overnight.
3. In a large skillet, over medium high heat, sear pork roast on each side until browned. It is optional, but for maximum flavor, pour any extra rub paste into the pan with the roast as it sears. Transfer to a crockpot. Deglaze pan with 1/2 cup water, stirring up any browned bits, and add to crock pot. Cook on high until done and meat pulls apart easily, about 4-6 hours. (Mine often cooks quickly in my crock pot and I turn it down to low, about half way through the cooking process.)
4. When meat is done, transfer to a large bowl. Remove any large pieces of fat and pull apart into shreds. Drain any extra liquid from the crockpot and discard, or use to make your own sauce. Combine shredded pork with your favorite sauce and keep warm until ready to serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.
5. To make coleslaw, combine all ingredients, except coleslaw mix in a small bowl until evenly combined. Toss with coleslaw mix and refrigerate several hours to allow flavors to meld. (If coleslaw gets too watery, just drain off some of the liquid.)
6. To serve, make pulled-pork sandwiches and top with coleslaw (or serve on the side).
Wet rub adapted from Martha Stewart