Tasty Tuesday: Slow-cooked Barbecue Pork or Beef

Beautiful smells of slow-cooking barbecue are already wafting through my kitchen and it’s only 9:00 AM. I’m halfway through making one of our favorite meals and by dinnertime, we’ll all be salivating something fierce! I will be the first to admit that this is NOT Carolina barbecue; the meat will slow-cook in those barbecue flavors for a couple of days. This is purely BARB barbecue.

Several times a year the grocery stores around here have sales on pork loin or some sort of beef roast. The last time I found a great sale for $.99/lb. I bought 50 pounds and stashed it in my deep freeze.

I’m going to give the basics for one large pork loin, but I often cook two or three at once and put lots and lots of leftovers in the freezer. This recipe also works beautifully with beef (7-bone roasts or chuck roasts are great.) Keep in mind throughout this recipe that either pork or beef can be used even though I refer to pork loin from here on out.

Usually I take the pork loin straight out of the freezer and either put it into a deep stock pot that goes into the oven or into a large¬†crock-pot. If I’m cooking 2 or 3 lions, the stock pot usually works better. (And yes, I know there’s a typo in that sentence; it’s one of our favorite typos! ūüėČ ¬† )

I usually fill the pan a third of the way up with water and cover it well. I cook the meat for about 12 hours. The first hour, I set the oven on 350 and then I turn it down to 225 for the remainder of the time. After the meat is well and truly cooked, I put the entire pan (or crock-pot) into the fridge overnight.

On the second day, take the pork out of the fridge. Trim off any fat and remove bones. There will be a lot of fat that has collected on the top of the liquid; it’s very easy to scoop off when it’s cold. The stuff on the bones usually comes off in small pieces. Then I take the larger chunks of meat and put them through my food processor, using the spinning blade to slice it very thinly. Sometimes the meat just falls to pieces, depending on the cut of meat, so that works fine too. Return all the meat to the jellied juice in the pan.

In a bowl,  whisk together:

  • 2 oz. liquid smoke
  • 2/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1 bottle of commercially prepared barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 T. brown mustard
  • 1 c. water

This is one of those recipes that you can add things in your fridge that sound good to you. Pickle juice adds a good dimension, for instance.

Just a quick note on the liquid smoke. I consider this to be the “magic ingredient” of this recipe. It has a huge impact on the flavor of the entire dish. It’s worth making a special trip to the grocery store to buy this ingredient. It’s not expensive; I pay between $0.99 and $1.59 for a 4 ounce bottle. Because I grew up in the Southwest, my favorite “flavor” of smoke is mesquite. I can’t always find Mesquite liquid smoke on this side of the country so I usually settle for hickory smoke. Your mileage may vary.

Pour the barbecue sauce mixture in with the meat and the meat juice. Cover the pan; either turn the crock-pot back on or put stock-pot back in the oven at 250 degrees. Simmer for about six hours.

At this point you can serve the BBQ pork on sourdough rolls. We especially like to garnish the sandwiches with homemade cole slaw. The flavors seem to really enhance each other.

For MAXIMUM flavor, put the barbecue in the fridge a second night and heat and serve on Day 3. And actually, after the second day of cooking, you can store the barbecue for a few days if you want to serve it later in the week.

You can freeze the leftovers and get several meals worth from two pork lions. When I get to the point where I don’t have quite enough left to serve all six of us, I use the rest of the BBQ pork in a huge¬†stromboli- type of sandwich. That’s another recipe for another day though.

This week, this recipe is on my to-do list because my oldest son is graduating with honors from App State. He’s now the bearer of a Bachelors of Science degree in Physics. And I am TOTALLY the proud mom–yes, this is a huge brag on my part; I’m so very proud of him. We have a lot of out-of-town family coming in to celebrate with us, so I’m trying to do a lot of my cooking ahead of time. This recipe is perfect for that.

For some ideas on feeding a crowd of houseguests, visit¬†My Sister’s Kitchen throughout the week where I’ll be sharing some thoughts on how to manage that this week.

Barb Kelley.