Thursday, August 6, 2009

Super Easy Faux Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork

So most of us don't have a BBQ Pit or are pit masters. But after watching several BBQ cookoffs on Food Network and the Travel Channel this summer when I spotted a pork butt (shoulder roast) at the meat market for only $.99 a pound this week I couldn't pass it up. When I got it home I had to figure out how to cook the thing. I've had lots of luck making pulled beef in my crock pot and last week I successfully roasted a chicken in the crock, so I knew that would be my vessel of choice again. However, I really didn't want to add any water to the roast, and since I roasted the chicken last week without water I figured I would do a little experiment and put the pork butt in dry and see how it turned out. I have to say it is perfect! Now I've never been a big pork fan but this is really good. Here's how I did it:

I sprinkled on some liquid hickory smoke, seasoned the pork butt (isn't that just fun to say?) with sea salt, fresh ground pepper, garlic powder and onion powder (it's the base seasoning mix hubby and I use for all our meat cooking), and cooked on each side in a skillet until browned (this is to add flavor). When all the side were browned I put the pork butt in an oiled crockpot (olive oil spray), added a little more liquid hickory smoke for good measure, and cooked for 10 hours overnight on low.

When I woke up (waking up to check on food is always a good start to the day!) I tried picking up the pork butt with a pair of tongs and it just fell apart, so I tried picking up the bone with the tongs and the meat fell clean off the bone (this was a great treat for my black lab mix, Geordi, although it occurred to me after I gave him the bone that it would have been an excellent way to season some pinto beans when I make refried beans from the crock pot). So I shredded the meat with a fork and tongs and as soon as hubby is done working on the car I'm going to mix part of the meat with some BBQ sauce (haven't attempted making this homemade yet, so I buy various Texas brands when we're out at restaurants) for pulled pork sandwiches. The remainder of the meat I plan on making my tomatillo sauce (much like salsa), tossing the meat with it, then serving it with chipotle mashed potatoes (one of my hubby's faves).

So have no fear and give this method a try. I may have to try the same method with a rump roast or brisket just to see what happens. I suspect the rump roast may be a little drier in the end and the fat in the brisket will make this a perfect cooking method. Generally I use a little water with my rump roast then drain before making pulled beef sandwiches, tacos, or empanadas. Each meat (beef, pork, even chicken) would also be great in a posole (soup made of meat and hominy).

A great frugal tip is to look for these cuts of meat when they are on sale: beef rump roast (a good price where I am is $2.19/lb which is comparable to ground beef) and pork butt (shoulder) (good price is $.99/lb). I can easily get 3 meals out of each and sometimes stretch them further. Whole chickens are also inexpensive and I'll blog about how to make it when I try it again within the next week.

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