Thursday, January 24, 2013

Crock Pot Cooking- BBQ Pulled Pork

Its raining today and its perfect weather for crock pot cooking! Don't you think?

I discovered the beauty of using a crock pot about 2 years ago and I can honestly say it is something I can't live without anymore. Its just too easy and convenient not to use, and to be able to take dinner off  my to do list first thing in the morning is such a blessing on busy days! There is nothing complicated or mysterious about using a crock pot, it is just a matter of having your raw ingredients and a few hours on your side and your good to go.

You just set it and forget it!  Oops, I think that's a different machine, right?  ;)

Anyway, but its true! I'm sure many of you have one and enjoy them yourselves, but since winter started I have been using mine at least once a week for different recipes, and I just thought it was the perfect day to share one of our family's favorites that I made last week during those nice cold days we just had. It was the perfect comfort food and maybe you all would like to try it too.

I've tried a few different recipes but my favorite so far has been this one which I actually cut out of a coupon insert. (See those coupon inserts do more than just save you money!)

Note: The recipe gives specific brand names for some of the ingredients but I will keep it generic because I'm sure we all have our favorite cooking brands and they all work just fine.

2/3 cup of Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 cup of Ketchup
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 med. white onion, chopped
2 tbsp. yellow mustard
2 tbsp. white vinegar
Salt and pepper
4-6 thick bread rolls (Any kind) 
Your favorite BBQ sauce to top off your sandwich to taste
3 1/2 1b. boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 4 pieces
(I don't usually cut mine into pieces until a few hours into cooking- but its all preference)

One thing that I discovered in using and taking care of my crock pot are these wonderful slow cooker liners. They are heat resistant but they allow you to cook your food as normal but without the messy clean up after. You just pull the bag out and your crock pot should be dry or at least minimally dirty so you don't have to soak or scrub it too much. I highly recommend them and Target usually has them priced really well.

First, slice openings in the pork shoulder with a knife to allow for flavors to set in. 
Salt and pepper to liking. Mix all ingredients (except bbq sauce)
 and pour over pork to make sure it covers it completely. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

4-6 hours later, I take two forks and shred the pork within the pot, 
and mix the shredded pork with the juices to further mix and set in flavors.
 Check taste and add salt and pepper (or even some seasoned salt) as you see fit.

Depending on the tenderness of the pork I will continue to check and reshred as needed.

Serving suggestion: I like buying those nice freshly baked 6" rolls from Vallarta (aka- bolillos, some bakeries have a whole wheat option too) which you can then, lightly toast in the oven or serve soft, cut down the middle and add a hearty serving of the pulled pork with its juices for flavor. I add the BBQ sauce at the end as a topping because 2 of my boys are not crazy about it and I let the others add as much as they like.

Add some baked fries or these great baked potato wedges from Trader Joes and you've got yourself a winning dinner!!

Its super tasty and very filling and I fed my family of 5 with this recipe. The best part being that I still had enough to freeze away for another dinner or a light weekend lunch. You decide!

Anyway, there it is for you to try and play around with. You might already have your own recipe or find that you'd like to add or change up this one, but whatever you do, you can make the crock pot work for your family and help you make an easy meal on the days you need more time for other things.

I've got other great recipes I've made and will share them on occasion, but I'm ALWAYS looking for others to try. Please, please email me your favorite crock pot recipe, and I will try it and will post it on my blog and report on how it came out for us.

From my little corner to yours...Enjoy this beautiful rain and may you use your crock pot today!

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