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I Meat the Enemy - Crockpot BBQ Pork

I Meat the Enemy - Crockpot BBQ Pork
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  • I Meat the Enemy - Crockpot BBQ Pork

    Post #1 - March 11th, 2009, 7:52 am
    Post #1 - March 11th, 2009, 7:52 am Post #1 - March 11th, 2009, 7:52 am
    LTHForum,

    I am a BBQ Guy, BBQ Life Coach to be exact. I cook BBQ, teach BBQ, even wrote a book about BBQ. I have strong opinions about BBQ and am not shy about voicing them, one of which is those who refer to crockpot pork in BBQ sauce as BBQ should be shot, preferably multiple times.

    That said, I have a long standing policy of trying something before being dismissive be it a McFib or Crockpot BBQ Pork. Thus follows my rendition of one of the 9-deadly BBQ sins.

    Crockpot BBQ Pork

    Image

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    BBQ sauce flavored baby food, pork pablum if you will.

    Image

    Seven hours of crockpot cooking, an overnight rest in the refrigerator to facilitate defatting, shred then reheat with additional sauce yielded mealy mushy meat product coated with candy bar sweet BBQ sauce. An outcome even worse, both texture and flavor wise, than expected.

    I have no doubt with time, temperature experimentation and use of home made BBQ sauce a palatable product could be produced, which I would happily consume, long as no one called it BBQ.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #2 - March 11th, 2009, 8:09 am
    Post #2 - March 11th, 2009, 8:09 am Post #2 - March 11th, 2009, 8:09 am
    Right - leave it to you to make bad crockpot pulled pork. It's akin to judging airports by the result you'd get if Mayor Daley were forced to resurface Meigs Field.

    I will give you that it's not BBQ. However, you can easily get better results than what you see here - foremost, meat needs to be seared on the stove or broiler before being put in the Crock-Pot, this addresses (to some degree) the mushiness. Second, I usually don't add any sauce to the cooking liquid; it's usually simmered in a small amount of wine, beer, or rich stock with lots of vegetables and spices - garlic, onion, allspice, maybe a clove or two, black pepper, cumin, maybe fennel. I also often add collard greens to the braise. I drain and sauce just before it's ready to go to the table - I usually play fast and loose with the pantry until I like the flavor: maybe a little hoisin, a little siracha, some mojo criollo, some ketchup, some molasses, or citrus juice of some kind, maybe a splash of some bottled premade.

    It's braised pork, no two ways around it, no smoke, no bark, no crispy bits. But it can make a decent pork sandwich.
  • Post #3 - March 11th, 2009, 8:18 am
    Post #3 - March 11th, 2009, 8:18 am Post #3 - March 11th, 2009, 8:18 am
    Can't wait for this thread to develop
  • Post #4 - March 11th, 2009, 8:19 am
    Post #4 - March 11th, 2009, 8:19 am Post #4 - March 11th, 2009, 8:19 am
    Sorry, meant to add :wink: to my first line, there.
  • Post #5 - March 11th, 2009, 8:28 am
    Post #5 - March 11th, 2009, 8:28 am Post #5 - March 11th, 2009, 8:28 am
    There's nothing wrong with braising pork shoulder that NOT cooking it in a sugary barbecue sauce won't fix.

    Next time this temptation overcomes you, even though you know what the dire final result will be, I suggest you make something like Porc Guisat amb Fruita Seca, which is plenty sweet, what with kirsch, dried fruit and so on in it, but will not merely evoke memories of Sloppy Joe Tuesday at Robert LaFollette Elementary School.
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  • Post #6 - March 11th, 2009, 8:32 am
    Post #6 - March 11th, 2009, 8:32 am Post #6 - March 11th, 2009, 8:32 am
    It is possible to make good shredded pork in the corck pot and then cover it with BBQ sauce afterwords. When I make mine I just put in a 4 or 5 pound pork shoulder with a rub on it into the crockpot. On low for about 6 hours, then keep warm for another two hours or so. Just a bit of water in the bottom. I get home from work and shred the pork up and then add a bit of BBQ sauce to the meat.

    It is not "BBQ" but it can be quite good, and non-baby food like.
  • Post #7 - March 11th, 2009, 8:33 am
    Post #7 - March 11th, 2009, 8:33 am Post #7 - March 11th, 2009, 8:33 am
    :shock: thanks for the unappetizing picture Gary, I dont have time for lunch today, and your pics of that "pork" just made going without lunch alot easier. :D
  • Post #8 - March 11th, 2009, 8:39 am
    Post #8 - March 11th, 2009, 8:39 am Post #8 - March 11th, 2009, 8:39 am
    Mhays wrote:It's braised pork, no two ways around it, no smoke, no bark, no crispy bits. But it can make a decent pork sandwich.

    M,

    I fully realize a tasty pork sandwich can be made using the crockpot, which I mention in my post. The point of my little experiment was to make crockpot BBQ pork. I surfed crockpot web sites looking for the most basic recipe such as a new bride in central Iowa* might use with her bridal shower crockpot. An exercise in lowest common denominator cooking if you will.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    *Just wondering if central Iowa is redundant :)
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #9 - March 11th, 2009, 8:54 am
    Post #9 - March 11th, 2009, 8:54 am Post #9 - March 11th, 2009, 8:54 am
    Ah. Sandra Lee.
  • Post #10 - March 11th, 2009, 12:04 pm
    Post #10 - March 11th, 2009, 12:04 pm Post #10 - March 11th, 2009, 12:04 pm
    I hope thats not going to be in the new book Gary :)..
    I never realized how many people cook pulled pork in crockpots until I starting doing product demos..
    First Place BBQ Sauce - 2010 NBBQA ( Natl BBQ Assoc) Awards of Excellence
  • Post #11 - March 11th, 2009, 1:18 pm
    Post #11 - March 11th, 2009, 1:18 pm Post #11 - March 11th, 2009, 1:18 pm
    Absent access to actual fire, I've found the best way to do pulled pork is to approach it as your basic barbecue pulled pork, but oven roast it at 250-300 until done. I've never been happy when any of the crockpot methods, but I've never tried cooking it dry (or relatively dry) in the crockpot, so brandon_w's method sounds promising. Also, most people I know don't bother defatting the pork after crockpotting, which makes for quite a heavy product with a slimy mouthfeel.
  • Post #12 - March 11th, 2009, 1:49 pm
    Post #12 - March 11th, 2009, 1:49 pm Post #12 - March 11th, 2009, 1:49 pm
    That looks horrible. Nice work Gary!
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #13 - March 11th, 2009, 2:23 pm
    Post #13 - March 11th, 2009, 2:23 pm Post #13 - March 11th, 2009, 2:23 pm
    I like to do pulled pork in the oven. I do a typical dry rub for about 18 to 24 hours in the fridge
    then the foil sealed brick-o-pork goes into a covered cast iron pot then into a 225˚oven
    for 8 to 10 hours. I let it cool to touch then break down the meat and removed all the extra bits my girls do not wish to eat. Usually this happens after dinner on day two so we'll have pulled pork for dinner on day three. the majority of the pulled pork get vacu-sealed for later use. If I remember I plop a hockey puck sized disk of frozen BBQ sauce in the bag with the meat so I can boil up some pulled pork at a later date.
  • Post #14 - March 11th, 2009, 5:39 pm
    Post #14 - March 11th, 2009, 5:39 pm Post #14 - March 11th, 2009, 5:39 pm
    Bless you Gary

    I always love the people who will try my my 12 hr. smoked Boston Butt and then say - "That's pretty good - I make mine in the crockpot. Put it in before work and when I get home, all I have to do is pour some BBQ sauce over it and pull it apart. Makes a great BBQ."

    I used to argue with them - now I just smile. Not much you can do.
  • Post #15 - March 11th, 2009, 11:17 pm
    Post #15 - March 11th, 2009, 11:17 pm Post #15 - March 11th, 2009, 11:17 pm
    I've smoked many a pork hunk under the tutelage of GWiv...but, I believe the enemy here is strictly terminological. The problem word (or rather acronym) is "BBQ," and I usually prefer sharper rather than squishy definitions, so I'm fine with limiting that term to smoked meats. BUT...if you can make a good sauce (and I, like many of us, can) and if you get some good pork, why not add the two together in a crock pot? Call it what you will. It can be tasty...in fact, I'm inspired to try making some soon.

    David "Crockpot" Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #16 - March 12th, 2009, 7:40 pm
    Post #16 - March 12th, 2009, 7:40 pm Post #16 - March 12th, 2009, 7:40 pm
    GWiv wrote:I surfed crockpot web sites looking for the most basic recipe such as a new bride in central Iowa* might use with her bridal shower crockpot. An exercise in lowest common denominator cooking if you will.


    Hopefully you didnt get any on your wedding dress :wink:
  • Post #17 - March 13th, 2009, 8:39 am
    Post #17 - March 13th, 2009, 8:39 am Post #17 - March 13th, 2009, 8:39 am
    David Hammond wrote:BUT...if you can make a good sauce (and I, like many of us, can) and if you get some good pork, why not add the two together in a crock pot? Call it what you will. It can be tasty...in fact, I'm inspired to try making some soon.

    Hammond,

    Agreed, maybe I should bold this line in my original post.
    I have no doubt with time, temperature experimentation and use of home made BBQ sauce a palatable product could be produced, which I would happily consume, long as no one called it BBQ.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #18 - March 13th, 2009, 9:29 am
    Post #18 - March 13th, 2009, 9:29 am Post #18 - March 13th, 2009, 9:29 am
    G Wiv wrote:The point of my little experiment was to make crockpot BBQ pork. I surfed crockpot web sites looking for the most basic recipe such as a new bride in central Iowa* might use with her bridal shower crockpot.

    One stop website for this would be Taste of Home, which is the culinary-lifestyle magazine with the greatest circulation in the country. Their circulation outpaces the combined circulation of Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Cook's Illustrated and Saveur. They are not too shy about canned foods, either.

    When I am at the State Fair, almost everyone who competes in the Blue Ribbon competitions subscribes to Taste of Home. You get a good sense of what most of the population eats via Taste of Home. Once I learned the stats on their circulation, it cleared the air on why Cook's Illustrated created the offshoot Cook's Country. I am sure it was aiming at the Taste of Home crowd.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #19 - March 13th, 2009, 10:25 am
    Post #19 - March 13th, 2009, 10:25 am Post #19 - March 13th, 2009, 10:25 am
    Cathy2 wrote:
    G Wiv wrote:The point of my little experiment was to make crockpot BBQ pork. I surfed crockpot web sites looking for the most basic recipe such as a new bride in central Iowa* might use with her bridal shower crockpot.


    One stop website for this would be Taste of Home, which is the culinary-lifestyle magazine with the greatest circulation in the country.


    From Cathy's link:

    2 cups finely chopped celery


    Two cups? I don't think a recipe for a dish where celery is the main ingredient (for that matter, I can't think of a recipe that actually focuses on celery, though read downthread to remind me, I'm sure) calls for two cups of chopped celery. They'd be better off asking you to add a cup of water and some grass from your front lawn.
  • Post #20 - March 13th, 2009, 11:51 am
    Post #20 - March 13th, 2009, 11:51 am Post #20 - March 13th, 2009, 11:51 am
    Santander wrote:From Cathy's link:

    2 cups finely chopped celery


    Two cups? I don't think a recipe for a dish where celery is the main ingredient (for that matter, I can't think of a recipe that actually focuses on celery, though read downthread to remind me, I'm sure) calls for two cups of chopped celery. They'd be better off asking you to add a cup of water and some grass from your front lawn.

    The standard crawfish etouffe recipe I make is with two cups chopped celery (granted, it's for 2 pounds of crawfish tails -- but that's still a higher celery-to-meat ratio than the recipe from Taste of Home), a gumbo with two pounds of chopped celery and a cornbread dressing with at least two cups of chopped celery. Each of those is probably in 8 servings category, so it's arguably a "double" recipe for each.
  • Post #21 - March 13th, 2009, 12:48 pm
    Post #21 - March 13th, 2009, 12:48 pm Post #21 - March 13th, 2009, 12:48 pm
    I would like to acknowledge (once again) the exemplary finesse of G. Wivs photographic abilities. Not only can G. Wiv photograph a food in all its glory, he can also capture the grit in nitty gritty of what many Americans think is BBQ. Thanks G. Wiv for disgusting me so wonderfully!
  • Post #22 - March 13th, 2009, 1:05 pm
    Post #22 - March 13th, 2009, 1:05 pm Post #22 - March 13th, 2009, 1:05 pm
    One stop website for this would be Taste of Home, which is the culinary-lifestyle magazine with the greatest circulation in the country. Their circulation outpaces the combined circulation of Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Cook's Illustrated and Saveur. They are not too shy about canned foods, either.


    Wow, who would have guessed that. I never even noticed that magazine before, which is to say, I've probably seen it a million times and looked right past it.

    Reminds me of the time Readers Digest set up a display in the lobby of the creative dept. at DDB, to help make the agency more aware of what's still the highest-circulation magazine you don't get automatically for belonging to something like the AARP. The hip twentysomethings stared and pawed at this alien intrusion into their universe like the apes examining the monolith in 2001.
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  • Post #23 - March 13th, 2009, 1:18 pm
    Post #23 - March 13th, 2009, 1:18 pm Post #23 - March 13th, 2009, 1:18 pm
    My mother used to subscribe to Taste of Home so I would flip through it occasionally. What bothered me the most was the lousy food photography. I have made some recipes from the magazine, which have turned out well. Baked goods with decent ingredients -- it's hard to mess that kind of stuff up.

    Now back to the crockpot BBQ pork...
    -Mary
  • Post #24 - March 14th, 2009, 11:41 am
    Post #24 - March 14th, 2009, 11:41 am Post #24 - March 14th, 2009, 11:41 am
    I'm a pretty heavy duty crockpot user. I came up with this recipe after I found some very aged pork tenderloins in the back of my freezer a few years ago. I knew they needed to be cooked into oblivion, as opposed to a gentle saute.

    This is not Amazing BBQ or High Cuisine, but it's easy party food and a decent weeknight dinner. I've always used tenderloins because I like that I don't have to defat the final product. The loin gives great long strings of meat in the sandwiches.

    Here's My Crockpot Pulled pork recipe.

    2 Pork Tenderloins (Can cook from frozen)
    3/4 cup BBQ Sauce (I usually use Sweet Baby Ray's)
    1/2 cup Cider Vinegar
    1/2 cup water

    Crock on Low 4 - 6 hours (6 - 8 for frozen)

    Shred and season with more vinegar and sauce to taste. Serve with buns and cole slaw for topping.

    This produces a low-fat non gloppy pulled pork. I've made 15 pounds of it in my 18qt Nesco roaster for a party.
  • Post #25 - June 27th, 2010, 12:19 am
    Post #25 - June 27th, 2010, 12:19 am Post #25 - June 27th, 2010, 12:19 am
    This recipe makes some lovely slow-cooker pulled pork, though in a nod to Robert Rodriguez I omit the cinnamon stick and sub in some achiote and a cup of orange juice. I also highly recommend using a bone-in shoulder, marinating in your paste overnight (and no need to cook the paste, that's a bit fussy in the original recipe) in advance. It sloughs off the bone after about 6 hours on high, yet still retains a nice crust on top. If you want some indoor smoke flavor that won't have Gary at your back window with a Super Soaker, may I recommend some smoked Spanish paprika.

    Image

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    Image

    I used half in tacos and made pulled pork sandwiches with the rest on Whole Foods buns; my sauce was a reduction of pork drippings, piloncillo, and the adobo from the canned chipotles.
  • Post #26 - June 27th, 2010, 6:53 am
    Post #26 - June 27th, 2010, 6:53 am Post #26 - June 27th, 2010, 6:53 am
    Funny - I was just looking up recipes yesterday for Cochinita Pibil, but I did a quick version it in the pressure cooker as I was pressed for time. It worked OK - I wonder how it would do there if you did the whole thing, including the banana leaves.
  • Post #27 - June 27th, 2010, 10:20 am
    Post #27 - June 27th, 2010, 10:20 am Post #27 - June 27th, 2010, 10:20 am
    The simple solution to those whose sensibilities are offended by either the idea or the outcome of this dish is to not call it BBQ pork. It is a pork shoulder braised in a crockpot, which you later shred and either mix with or top with barbecue sauce, if you wish, or not. Braising always means fairly little liquid, and that's all the more true in a crockpot.

    BUT...if you can make a good sauce (and I, like many of us, can) and if you get some good pork, why not add the two together in a crock pot?

    Because then what you've made is barbecue-sauce-flavored pork soup. Mushy pork soup. As several others have mentioned, do not add barbecue sauce to the crockpot; mix it into or put some on top of the pulled pork later, before serving.

    I wonder if even the quantity of chopped onion in Gary's picture results in too much liquid. A season-rubbed pork shoulder and a little water or broth would seem to me to be all you need in the crockpot, given all the fat in the pork that's going to melt out. Second Santander's comment that a bone-in pork shoulder is best and the timing is whenever it all falls off the bone.

    Nothing against preferences for smoked or grilled or oven-roasted pork shoulder, those are great, but the crockpot approach is certainly the lowest-energy-consumption option of the three.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #28 - June 27th, 2010, 10:35 am
    Post #28 - June 27th, 2010, 10:35 am Post #28 - June 27th, 2010, 10:35 am
    Mhays wrote:Funny - I was just looking up recipes yesterday for Cochinita Pibil, but I did a quick version it in the pressure cooker as I was pressed for time. It worked OK - I wonder how it would do there if you did the whole thing, including the banana leaves.


    I believe the cochinita pibil recipe in Bayless' Mexican Everyday cookbook uses the crock pot cooking method, banana leaves and all.
  • Post #29 - June 27th, 2010, 10:53 am
    Post #29 - June 27th, 2010, 10:53 am Post #29 - June 27th, 2010, 10:53 am
    the wimperoo wrote:
    Mhays wrote:Funny - I was just looking up recipes yesterday for Cochinita Pibil, but I did a quick version it in the pressure cooker as I was pressed for time. It worked OK - I wonder how it would do there if you did the whole thing, including the banana leaves.


    I believe the cochinita pibil recipe in Bayless' Mexican Everyday cookbook uses the crock pot cooking method, banana leaves and all.


    I think Michelle was wondering how the cochinita pibil would work + banana leaves in the pressure cooker.

    The last time I made this dish, I did it in the dutch oven in an oven - at 375 for the first hour and 325 thereafter. I now agree with sentiments expressed in this thread that cochinita pibil doesn't belong in a slow cooker. Either insufficient moisture, the dutch oven, or a combination helped give pork a crust that gave nice textural contrast once pulled. I will be making it in the oven going forward. But I think I'll put it in at 325 the whole time or check it sooner because the pork was a little dry.
  • Post #30 - June 27th, 2010, 12:41 pm
    Post #30 - June 27th, 2010, 12:41 pm Post #30 - June 27th, 2010, 12:41 pm
    Santander wrote:I used half in tacos and made pulled pork sandwiches with the rest
    Pork sandwich on Green Zebra plates, nice touch. :)
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow

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