Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Pork Barbecue from a Crock Pot?

While we do own two smokers, they are not the type of equipment that can be set up and forgotten about; specific temperatures, wood supplies, and maybe even water in a pan must be maintained.  Considering the several feet of snow outside, and especially blocking the door to the shed, where the smokers are housed, they will not be used any time soon.

How to get a good pork barbecue if not using a smoker?  Believe it or not, but it can be done simply in a crock pot; a piece of equipment that can be set up and walked away from until ready to eat.


Attempts have been made using pork roast or tenderloin, however, Boston butt is the way to go whether using a smoker or not.  This section of pork comes from the upper part of the shoulder, on the front leg, of the pig; usually sold with the bone intact.  Unless you have plans for that bone, have your butcher take it out; why pay per pound for something you will more than likely throw away?  Sometimes the butt is sold with the bone already out, but the cost is more; I was very, very lucky to find a nice four pounder without the bone and on sale. Think about it, I have 4 pounds of meat as compared to perhaps 3 to 3 and 1/2 pounds after the bone is removed; definitely a bargain!  By the way, it is a given that the meat might have to be cut apart here or there to get the bone cleanly out; you want those sections!  If in a package, you will find them tied together into one big roast with butcher's twine; just remove the twine before cooking...well this recipe anyway.

Personally, most times I have found pork to be on the dry side.  To solve this problem, the meat will be brined, overnight, before cooking it. This salt water soak will help to open up the meat fibers to allow the fat, as it melts, to flow into the meat and keep it moist and juicy. It also allows seasonings, and sauces if simmered in them, to do the same thing.  If there is a lot of extra fat hanging off the butt, it is alright to trim some of it off as there is plenty within the Boston butt itself.  Now, when you are ready to begin the cooking process, set up a 6-quart crock pot (spray the inside with nonstick cooking spray) and set the temperature on low; place the brined Boston butt inside.  Some folks rinse the brine off the meat before cooking, but it really is not necessary, and the salt helps to flavor the meat itself.

Whether you use homemade barbeque sauce, or store bought bottled, make sure to add two cups of diced onions.  When all is cooked and ready to be devoured, you will appreciate the addition of those onions.  Cover the meat with six cups of sauce; cover and cook for 6-8 hours.  The meat should be so tender, it simply comes apart with a fork.  With my crock pot (Hamilton Beach 3 in 1 with tall, round crock pots), the four pounds of pork only took six hours before perfection was achieved.  Depending on how your equipment works, it could be the same or longer; but you want it so tender that it shreds without effort.


I serve up my pork barbecue sandwiches two ways; first off, large potato buns for both; the first way is simply with barbecue sauce on top.  The second, and our very favorite way, is with coleslaw layered on top.   In case you missed the August 3, 2022 edition, of the San Juan Record, here are the recipes for Coleslaw Dressing, and putting together Coleslaw itself.

Roasted Potatoes is a tasty side dish.

Coleslaw Dressing 


2 cups mayonnaise

2 and ½ Tbsp. sugar

2 Tbsp.  lemon juice

3 Tbsp. white vinegar

½ tsp. ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon salt

½ tsp. celery seed


Whisk all ingredients together in bowl until smooth and creamy.

To Make Coleslaw

In a large bowl containing 1 lb. shredded white cabbage (or ½ lb. white plus ½ lb. purple) plus ½ cup shredded carrot, pour dressing over; toss until all vegetables are coated.

Makes 8 servings of Coleslaw.

In case you have a good amount of barbecue sauce left over after the pork is all gone; put it into a plastic bowl and into the freezer for about an hour.  Any fat in the sauce will solidify at the top and you can scoop it off to throw away.  Seal the container, label it, and keep it in the freezer, up to six months, until you need barbecue sauce again.  Cooking it with the pork does not ruin the flavor, only enhances it.

There you have it, smoky, juicy pork barbecue, made in the kitchen, simply with a crock pot.  Enjoy!

Mary Cokenour


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