Slow Cooker Pulled Pork and Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Not to be dramatic, but….this recipe will rock your world. The pork is tender and juicy, and the barbecue sauce has just the right amount of tang. Combine their powers and you won’t know what happened to your taste buds. Try this pork once, and you will never again frequent your local barbeque joint. Think I’m kidding? Give it a try.

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This is a great dish to make on a weekend. You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the scent emanating from your kitchen as the pork cooks. Alternatively, it’s a crock pot meal, so assuming you make the BBQ sauce ahead, this is totally a weekday dinner option.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Adapted from Food Network

Serves: 6

You’ll need:

  • 3 Tbs. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground mustard
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3-4 lb. boneless pork shoulder
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/3 cup vinegar (any kind will work)
  • 2 Tbs. brown sugar
  • 3 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 Ciabatta buns, toasted
  • Barbecue sauce (see below)

1. Combine brown sugar, paprika, ground mustard, cumin, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

2. Rub the pork with the sugar and spices mixture.

3. In a heavy frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Brown the pork on each side for 2 or 3 minutes to sear in the spices.

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4. Combine the vinegar, 2 Tbs. brown sugar, tomato paste, and water in your slow cooker. Add the pork, cover, and cook on low for 8 hours.

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5. While the pork is doing its thing, make your barbecue sauce.

Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Based on Chow

You’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 brown sugar, packed
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Tbs. vinegar
  • 3 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 cup water

1. Add all ingredients to a pot, and cook over medium heat, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil.

2. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes, or so, until desired consistency is reached.

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3. Remove from heat and cool. Once cooled, sauce can be refrigerated and stored until you need it.

 

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork, cont.

6. Once the pork is done, remove to a cutting board. Pour the liquid from the slow cooker into a pot. Rough chop the pork, and return it to the slow cooker (either off or on a warm setting) to keep warm.

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7. Bring the liquid to a boil, and allow it to reduce for roughly 10 minutes. Once reduced by about half, add 1 cup to the pulled pork. Stir.

8. Toast your ciabatta buns, and serve.

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Enjoy!

If you’re interested…another slow cooker recipe and a delicious cheesecake.

Saturday Small Talk

Folks, it’s a crazy weekend. I worked last night, and I’m spending all of today accompanying a dozen junior high kiddos at Solo and Ensemble. Thankfully, tonight and tomorrow afternoon promise to be relaxing and enjoyable. Three cheers!

IMG_20150416_150211If you’re a blogger and want to increase your traffic (because that’s all of us), Michael Hyatt has some killer resources posted right now. Start here.

Some tips for selling your stuff on the internet, including eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook.

One phrase every kid deserves to hear over and over and over again.

As candidates are announcing their presidential runs, more and more Americans are identifying as Independent.

This summer, I’m going to put in plants that repel mosquitoes.

Strong is the new pretty (a gorgeous photography project).

Would you allow your body to be composted after you die?

A long, but worthy read about moral traits of the people we want to become.

Cheers!

Venice, Italy + your travel tips

Our last stop in Italy (after Rome and Florence) was Venice. We just had a day and half there, but it ended up being a perfect amount of time to see the highlights. First stop, lunch and a beer!

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Venice is an interesting town. As you probably know, it’s entirely made up of islands. There are no cars in historic Venice, only boats on the canals.

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In our day and a half, we rode the vapparetto (water taxi) from one end of the grand canal to the other several times, and we spent an inordinate amount of time wandering around on foot, looking at buildings, shops, and homes.

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How cool is that farmer’s market? It’s a boat!

Bob was pretty psyched to find Campo de San Barnaba, which is where the beginning of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was filmed.  The inside doesn’t actually look like the library from the movie, unfortunately.

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We capped off our time in Venice with a gondola ride, one last gelato, and a fancy dinner. It was a beautiful evening, and the perfect way to end a great trip.

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Venice tips!

  • Lodging: we stayed in Mestre, where it was much more affordable. There are plenty of buses that run to and from historic Venice on a regular basis–just ask at your hotel, and they will direct you to the closest stop.
  • Transportation: if you’re under 30 years old, buy a Rolling Venice card for 4 euro, and you will get 3 days of unlimited boat and bus rides for only 20 euro. If you’re over 30, there are still transit passes available. They’re a bit more expensive, but still very worth it. You can ride unlimited amounts of Venice transit boats or buses for however many days you purchase (1, 2, or 3). The advantages:
    1. You don’t have to constantly be refilling cards and monitoring your balance.
    2. If you swipe into the wrong stop, no worries! Just leave and find the right one. Without an unlimited transit card, a mistake like that would cost you 7 euro per person–because you already swiped it for one ride.

I wanna hear from YOU. Based on your trips, travels, and vacations, what do you recommend? Where do you like to stay? How do you get around? Any must have shoes or clothes or luggage? Can’t live without beauty products? Favorite way to sleuth out the best restaurant in town? Share in the comments below, and I’ll link to you in my post next week Thursday.