Thursday, May 30, 2013

"Cheater BBQ" - (Crockpot) Ultimate Cheater Pulled Pork with Cheater BBQ Slaw (for Memorial Day)

Date I made this recipe:  May 27, 2013 (Memorial Day)

Cheater BBQ – Barbecue Anytime, Anywhere, In Any Weather by Mindy Merrell and R. B. Quinn
Published by:  Broadway Books
ISBN:  978-0-7679-2768-0
Recipes:  Ultimate Cheater Pulled Pork – p. 54-55 and Cheater BBQ Slaw – p. 151

I just posted on Facebook that dealing with this spring’s weather is like listening to a James Taylor record that keeps skipping:  “Oh, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain…and rain...and rain…and rain….”  If memory serves, Memorial Days are often rainy and overcast but yesterday took the cake – dark cloud cover all day and then rain…and rain…and rain.

Given the crappy spring weather we’ve been having, I didn’t even bother to actually find a recipe for grilling out, resorting instead to a book called Cheater BBQ that, just like the title says, allows you to barbecue anytime, anywhere in any (in climate) weather.  And so I dusted off the crock pot, added the ingredients and walked away and in 6 hours (or less), you have yourself a tasty barbecue without fighting raindrops and/or mosquitoes (with all this water, we are in for some kind of mosquito season in these parts).  Add an easy coleslaw recipe to the mix and aloha, we have dinner!

This recipe calls for liquid smoke and while I’ve seen in it various and sundry recipes, I’ve never used it before and have to say I don’t know where I come down on this item.  On the one hand, it sure smelled like barbecue in the house but not necessarily in a good way although perhaps I’m picky:  I want barbecue to smell more like the sauce, less like a smoky fire.  And then there’s the spice rub issue and again, I am torn.  Our pork butt was 2.5 pounds instead of the 5-6 pounds required and so I adjusted the seasonings accordingly but still tasted too much salt for my palate.  (You can insert the phrase “high maintenance” at any time during the course of this blog.) That said I have to tell you that cooking this sucker in a crock pot made the meat unbelievably tender and it “pulled” apart like nobody’s business.  So that was good and yet…I failed, and failed miserably, to see the attraction of pulling apart meat and fat and this is why I will never be even an honorary Southerner because I just don’t see the joy in it.  Hold the vitriol, but please pass the BBQ sauce!

Now in my book, you can’t have BBQ without a side and so I made the cole slaw.  It was quick and easy and what’s not to love about modern-day directions that tell you to basically buy and open a bag of premade anything?  I have quite the fondness for celery seed and this recipe contains a teaspoon of it so there it is – mix, stir, add – cheat!

And so on this Memorial Day, we did chores around the house, got in an indoor walk at a local mall, came home to some delicious vittles and reflected a moment or two on our veterans like my late father, who served oh-so-proudly in the Marine Corp in WWII.  And, of course, cursed the weather.  Dad would have because it would have interfered with planting his garden.  I just do it because well, why not?

“…and rain… and rain…and rain…and rain….”

Ultimate Cheater Pulled Pork – makes 12 to 14 servings
One 5- to 6-pound boneless Boston butt pork roast or same weight of boneless country-style pork ribs (We bought a 2.5 pound butt pork roast)
¼ cup Cheater Basic Dry Rub (p. 45 or see below)
½ cup bottled liquid smoke
Barbeque sauce of your choice (for their recipes see pages 38 to 43 or just use what you have on hand)

Cheater Basic Dry Rub (makes about 2/3 cup)
¼ cup paprika
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dry mustard

If using a larger pork roast, cut the pork butt into medium (2- to 3-inch) chunks.  (The ribs do not need to be cut up.)

Put the pieces in a large slow cooker (at least 5 quarts).  Sprinkle the meat with the rub, turning the pieces to coat evenly.  Add the bottled smoke.

Cover and cook on high for 5 to 6 hours or on low for 10 to 12 hours, until the meat is pull-apart tender and reaches an internal temperature of 190F.

Using tongs and a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a rimmed platter or baking.  Let rest until cool enough to handle.

Cheater BBQ Slaw – makes 6 servings
½ cup white or cider vinegar
½ cup sugar
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
One 16-ounce bag slaw mix (about 8 cups lightly packed)

Combine the vinegar, sugar, mayonnaise, celery seed, and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Blend well with a whisk or fork.  Add the slaw mix and toss to blend.  Chill before serving.

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