Slow-cooker Pulled Pork with Barbecue Sauce

Summer cooking is often about trying to not heat up the kitchen any more than necessary. A slow-cooker adds some heat but certainly not as much as the oven. You could even set the slow-cooker up in the basement or garage if you really wanted to keep the heat out of the kitchen.

Slow-cooker Pulled Pork with Barbecue Sauce
Servings: 8
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 10 1/2 hours

Ingredients:

  • 10 lb. pork should, skin removed
  • 1/2 cup Alton Brown’s Rub Number Nine, divided
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup chili sauce

Special Equipment:

Directions:

  1. Rub the pork shoulder all over with 1/4 cup of the dry rub. Place in the slow-cooker. Add the orange juice. Cover and cook for 10 hours.
  2. When the time is up transfer the pork shoulder to a cutting board and allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes. While it rests combine the ketchup, chili sauce, remaining dry rub and 1 cup of the liquid in the slow-cooker in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes until sauce reduces to about 1 1/2 cups.
  3. When the pork is cook enough to handle start shredding the meat. I pull a large piece off the shoulder with tongs and then use 2 forks to shred it. Place shredded meat in a large bowl.
  4. When all the meat is shredded ladle about 1/2 cup of sauce and 1/2 cup of liquid from the slow-cooker over the meat. Toss the meat in the sauce and serve.

Notes:
I flipped the pork shoulder every 2 hours in the slow-cooker.

This could be made a day or two in advance. Pull the meat as above and stash the cooled meat in a large zip top bag. Strain the liquid in the slow-cooker and save that separately. To reheat: Place the meat in an oven-safe dish, add a cup of the slow-cooker liquid and cover the dish with foil. Heat in a 200°F oven for 15-20 minutes. Make the barbecue sauce while the pork reheats and toss the heated meat with the sauce when you are ready to serve.

If you are more ambitious, or just plan ahead, you can prep and rub the pork shoulder 24 hours in advance, wrap it in plastic wrap and stash it in the fridge. This will give the sugar and salt in the rub an extended bit of time to do it’s magic in seasoning the meat.

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Oven Barbecued Ribs

This recipe comes from my parents. It’s unclear to me who created it. I thought it was my dad however my mom still makes it and it tastes as good as ever. I think the only difference is that she finishes them in the oven while he used the grill. I find her way infinitely more practical as the grill can be a finicky thing.

Oven Barbecued Ribs
Servings: 6
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 2.5 hours

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs. country-style pork ribs
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 lg. onions, 1/2″ dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups ketchup
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. hot sauce

Directions:

  1. Cover ribs with water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour (start the timer after they come to a simmer). The pork should be fork tender but not falling off the ribs (yet).
  2. While ribs cook melt butter in a saucepan or skillet and cook onions until tender over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients and stir to incorporate. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 5-10 minutes. Taste for flavor, adjust as desired and set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil (the foil aids in clean up). Spray the foil with cooking spray.
  4. When ribs are par cooked transfer them to the foil-lined roasting pan. Cover with about half of the sauce. Bake for 45 minutes or until sauce has thickened and ribs are failing apart. Feel free to turn the ribs occasionally to get all sides covered in flavorful sauce.
  5. Remove roasting pan to a rack and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Reheat sauce. Transfer ribs to platter and serve with extra sauce on the side.

Notes:
This is a great make ahead meal. It tastes even better after cooling, sitting in the fridge overnight and reheating.

Baked Beans

I’ve made these several times for parties or large gatherings. They are heartier than the usual canned version with a nice dense bean.

Baked Beans
Servings: 12 to 16
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 2 hours

Ingredients:

  • 4 28-oz. cans of small red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato puree
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 Tbsp. ground red chipotle
  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Directions:

  1. Adjust the oven racks so a large Dutch oven (with lid) will easily fit. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Add the ketchup, tomato, brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire, paprika and chipotle to a bowl. Stir until the brown sugar has broken up and been well mixed into the other ingredients.
  3. Heat the oil in the Dutch oven over medium until shimmering. Add the chopped onions and a good pinch of kosher salt. Stir to coat with oil and cook for around 5 minutes. The onions should be translucent.
  4. Add the sauce mixture to the pot, stir into the onions, bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the beans and incorporate. Cover pot and bake for 75 minutes.
  6. Remove the lid and cook for another 15-20 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Test seasoning for salt and pepper; adjust as desired.

Notes:
For best results make this dish in advance, cool and refrigerate overnight. Reheat the next day in a slow-cooker or a 350°F oven for 30 minutes.

This recipe is roughly based on one by Dave Lieberman. I pulled the bacon to make it more vegetarian friendly though I don’t mark it as vegetarian because Worcestershire sauce is not vegetarian.