The following post was written by our friends, Mindy and R.B. from www.cheaterchef.com.
The best quality a recipe can offer is that it solves a particular problem. A few years ago, with that idea in mind, we wrote a book called Cheater BBQ: Barbecue Anytime, Anywhere, in Any Weather (Clarkson Potter 2008).
The fun of an all-day (and sometimes all-night) barbecue smoking session isn’t always an option, and it isn’t for everyone. So, how can everyone make their own delicious barbecue anytime, anywhere, in any weather?
Well, you turn the steadfast rules of barbecue upside down and bring it all back into the kitchen. Swap the smoker for the low-and-steady heat of the oven or slow cooker and swap the wood chunks for all-natural liquid smoke. It’s that simple and works beautifully. What to serve during the January football play-off season? Why, a batch of Cheater BBQ pulled pork with cornbread or corncakes. Problem solved!
Years of kitchen barbecue later, we can say with confidence that the basic recipe for our Cheater Slow Cooker Pulled Pork BBQ is the one we make most often. Combine a simple dry rub, liquid smoke, and a pork butt in the slow cooker. No other liquids, no saucy ingredients added. The pork butt will exude plenty of liquid as it cooks and will magically develop a gorgeous crust. When it’s fall-apart-tender your pulled pork is ready to go in any flavor direction you like. Just vary the sauce, slaw, cornbread, and beans to create more meals that you can imagine.
For a traditional southern barbecue approach, we use the recipe on the Martha White® Self-Rising White Enriched Corn Meal Mix bag for perfect skillet cornbread, muffins, and corn cakes. We also love crunchy Corn Meal Waffles topped with barbecue and slaw. Barbecue served with a tangy/sweet sauce pairs nicely to sweet cornbread. Try Sweet Corn Custard Cornbread, traditional Middle Tennessee Corn Light Bread, or the super-easy pouch of sweet yellow cornbread mix. A can of doctored-up baked beans is the necessary side dish at our house.
Taking the same slow cooker barbecue in a Tex-Mex direction, consider these favorite Martha White recipes like Mexi-Corncakes and BBQ Stacks, Easy Corn and Green Chile Spoonbread, Open-Face BBQ Sandwiches on Jalapeno Cornbread, or substitute the barbecue in Beef Fajita Stuffed Green Chile Cornbread. Everyone should have a Classic Tex-Mex Cornbread Supreme in the barbecue recipe arsenal.
This time make a big pot of pinto or black beans in your other slow cooker and add some fresh lime juice, chopped fresh jalapeno peppers, and cilantro to your favorite slaw.
We always look forward to leftover smoky barbecue for a weekend brunch. Crisp up the barbecue in a cast iron skillet and warm up the leftover spoonbread, cornbread, or corncakes. Or, make a pot of grits. Fry some runny eggs and serve it all together. You’ll never miss the bacon.
Cheater Slow Cooker Pulled Pork BBQ
1 (5 to 7-pound) pork butt or boneless country style ribs
¼ cup basic dry rub (equal parts Kosher salt, coarse ground black pepper, and paprika or your favorite rub)
½ cup liquid smoke (no, that is not too much for this recipe!)
Put the pork butt in a large slow cooker (at least 5 quarts). Sprinkle the meat with the rub, turning to coat evenly. Add the liquid smoke. Cover and cook on high for about 6 hours or on low for 10 to 12 hour, until the meat is pull-apart tender and reaches and internal temperature of at least 190 F. Using tongs and a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a rimmed platter or baking sheet. Let rest until cool enough to handle. Pull the meat into strands with your fingers or two forks. It should shred very easily.
To serve the barbecue later, cover and refrigerate the meat when it has cooled. Pour the meat juice into a separate container and refrigerate. Before using the juice, skim and discard the congealed fat layer on the top.
To reheat the barbecue, place it in a covered casserole with some of the reserved juice and heat in a 350F oven for about 30 minutes, or until hot.