BBQ Pulled Pork in the Crock Pot

I am good at everything I do.  I am successful at everything I attempt.  These are just an example of positive self-talk statements that I use  when starting something I’ve never tried before.  Usually, I believe me.  And usually, I am right.  There is certainly something to this kind of thinking.  I did say these before trying this recipe, which was made up on the fly, However, this is a FOOD post and not a Law of Attraction post, so let’s get right to the food…

Boston Butt is not something I have attempted to cook in my adult life.  I’m not sure why; as a kid it was a favorite, and one of my dad’s favorites to prepare.  Last week I was thinking about the 4th of July and how to celebrate it.  We weren’t taking a beach trip, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to take the kids downtown to see fireworks.  (In my experience, the level of difficulty/frustration in doing anything downtown that late with a 3 year old and a 16 year old is about one billion-point-two.)  So we decided that since we have a large swimming pool and we’d both be off work this weekend, let’s cook!  Just us, some fresh watermelon, and lots of sun and fun.

I went to the grocery store a few days ago and I’ve just been chomping at the bit to cook this roast.  Last night I perused a ton of recipes, using Google and Pinterest, looking for inspiration.  I didn’t find anything that I really wanted to try.  Granted, my bar was a little high because 1) this is my first pork roast and I want it to knock my socks off, and 2) I needed something that listed the ingredients I have in my cabinet.

So, as per usual, I decided to make something up.  I didn’t write everything down, because I was moving quickly and chattering to myself, mad scientist style, so I could get the roast in the crock pot and get some sleep.  Here is, to the best of my recollection, here’s how it went down:

Unwrapped the Pork Butt (mine was from Publix, 3.78 lbs) and assembled the following: salt, black pepper, cumin, ginger, yellow onion, low sodium soy sauce and barbecue sauce of your choice.  (What I used was Kraft Original, because it’s what we had.  They do make a “light” version, which I did have but wanted to use on some chicken later in the week.)  I chose ginger because it’s a flavor that I always associate with Asian dishes, and I knew it would go well with the soy sauce, so I figured what the heck.

First I chopped the onion and placed it in the bottom of the pot. Next I placed the pork in the pot and salted it moderately and sprinkled some pepper on top.  Also some shakes of cumin, maybe 1 tsp and ginger, maybe 2 tsp.  Rub all of that in, the top and sides of the pork.  (Note: When I say I salted moderately, I mean moderately for me, and I rarely use seasoning so my moderate might be your “light”.  Just use your discretion here.)  Then, in a measuring cup, I poured soy sauce until my inner culinary guide said “when”, which happened to be right at 1/4 cup.  Sure, sounds good.  We’ll go with it.  Then into the same measuring cup I poured the barbecue sauce.  I kept going until the liquid reached just over 3/4 cup line.



I stopped for a minute to take in the smells.  One of my FAVORITE things about cooking and creating recipes, are the smells.  Before they become flavors, they are sweet, sour, tangy, seductive aromas wafting all around me.  My kitchen smelled delicious.

I mixed the soy sauce and barbecue sauce together with a fork, not paying attention to lumps and bumps since it’s a crock pot, which tends to be very forgiving of things like that.  Poured it on top of the rubbed pork butt roast and added maybe 1/2 cup of water.  Set the crock pot to HIGH.

Rubbed, sauced, ready to go!
Rubbed, sauced, ready to go!


Yes, I set it to high!  Everything I had read about crock pot roasts said to set it to low or medium, which is what I meant to do.  However when I woke up this morning to check the roast, the pot was on HIGH!  Of course, there was a fair amount of freaking out before I found the courage to look inside.  Thankfully, the roast was not a charred, stinky, inedible mess.  It looked PERFECT!  But was it perfect?  Only one way to find out.  I gently transferred the roast from the pot to a plate, and THIS is what it looked like:

Did someone say rump roast?
Did someone say rump roast?

It’s everything I dreamed it would be!  Hard, flavorful outer “shell” with tender, juicy, fully cooked but not dry meat inside.  Just look at that juiciness!  I grabbed a fork and started pulling this pork!  I was (I still am) elated at how this “not a recipe” recipe turned out!  Here’s the final product, off the bone and ready to be devoured:

The only pig I ever loved.
The only pig I ever loved.

Does that not look amazing?!!  Let me tell you, it tastes even better than it looks.  My socks are decidedly off.  I’ve said it before about other dishes, but this truly is one of my best.  The taste was right on, all the flavors blended well together and for me, it was everything I want my barbecue pulled pork to be.  It isn’t too sweet, and I’m glad about that because one thing I cannot eat is sweet barbecue.  So, thanks for reading, and PLEASE try my recipe and give me feedback!  I’d love to hear what you think!  (Good news if you are Paleo/Atkins/low carb, I don’t know the exact macros but I can tell you that the sugar and carbs in this dish are negligible.  If you go with a sugar-free or “light” barbecue sauce, they’re even less.)



Cheaters [Never?] Win

So it’s been WEEKS since I’ve blogged and it feels like YEARS.  It’s also been weeks since I’ve baked or cooked anything new, and I’m so happy to report that today I was able to do some of that also.  I’ve started a new day job, which is awesome and keeps me busy during the daylight hours.  The last few weekends have been spent sleeping. Oh, how I’ve missed the sleep.

Anyway, my husband’s employer is having a contest tomorrow.  A cupcake contest.  This will be simple.  A breeze.  Like shooting fish in a barrel.

Not so fast.  Actually, last year I made something for the same contest.   I poured my blood, sweat, tears, and some gorgeous produce into that dish.  I was incredibly proud of my entry, and I was sure I had won, even before my husband called from work that evening.

Actually on that call he told me “Well I thought you did an amazing job.”  Aha.  The pat-on-the-back, “A for effort”,  I love you anyway talk.  I had lost.  And it must have been by a landslide, the way he was holding my hand while delivering the news.

A few things I should have thought about last year:  I carefully selected a healthy/vegan recipe, which was mistake number one.   When your target audience (or appetite) is middle-aged American men who lift heavy things for a living, healthy/vegan isn’t what you want on your nutritional info label.  I also made sure to make it really “neat” looking.  Photo-ready.  (A habit of mine, you know.)  That was mistake number two.  Men like these don’t eat things that look like they’re meant for afternoon tea.  They eat chicken wings covered in hot sauce and messy things with gravy.  Basically if it isn’t on their faces and hands or staining their clothes, it isn’t even a threat in this challenge.

I expected to win last year’s contest because I made something I would be thrilled to eat.  I was not only a loser last year, but mine was one of the few dessert trays not totally emptied during the judging.  Ouch.  That was a punch in the ego.  The grand prize winner was something called “death by chocolate”.  When I asked my husband to describe it to me, he just used the word “chocolate” a lot of times.  So… yeah.  I felt like my pure-bred racehorse had just lost the Preakness to a lame old (chocolate) donkey.

This year, determined to win, I approached the contest from a completely different perspective.  My culinary plan of attack is much more man-centric.  I can’t believe I’m going to say this out loud, but… I … CHEATED.   Yes, I made red velvet cupcakes with icing inside.  But, I cheated.  I… *gulp*… made them FROM A BOX MIX!

Nothing says loving like powder and oil.
Nothing says loving like powder and oil.

Cooking or baking things from packages might not be shocking to some of you, but I grew up in my grandmother’s home.  All the dishes, desserts, birthday cakes, ALL of it was made from scratch.  Real ingredients, real “elbow grease”, or not at all.  Box cakes are blasphemy.  Of the devil.  A shameful, horrible invention.

However, box cakes are also what Americans eat.  I want to win, and so I stooped to the lowest level I could fathom.  And you know something?  Perhaps the worst of all of this is that it doesn’t actually taste that bad.  (Please don’t tell Grandmother I said that!)

Holy fakecakes, Batman!
Holy fakecakes, Batman!

The cake is moist and bouncy.  Certainly not the color or texture of something that occurs in nature, but not completely unappetizing.  They smell good, too.  I used my apple corer to dig out holes in the middle for the icing.  Looks yummy, no?

Another upside to “cheating” in baking is the time difference.  These cupcakes took me about 45 minutes, from start to finish, including cleaning up the kitchen.  If I had made these by hand from scratch, well, I’d probably still be baking and not blogging about what I’d baked.  So here’s a photo of hte finished product, all iced and (dare I say it) delicious-looking.

This is what winning looks like.
This is what winning looks like.

Beautiful, no?  Unfortunately the icing turned out a bit thin, but I don’t think the guys at my husband’s job are going to notice.  Mark my words, these from-the-box, spongy, blasphemy cupcakes are going to win me that prize.  These cupcakes are this year’s chocolate donkey, my friends.  I can feel it. Winner’s circle, here I come.

Changes ‘Round Here

Hello World.  It’s been a while since my last post.  Not so long that I’ve forgotten how to type, but long enough that I feel a quick explanation is in order.

I am working.

It’s as simple and as complicated as that.  If you believe in the Law of Attraction, as I do, you know that this is something I chose, whether consciously or unconsciously.  My dreams are coming true in unexpected ways.  I find myself in transition again, which is positive, though my cooking, photography, and my blog have been neglected as a result.

Change is good so I’m embracing it.  I’m learning to be meticulous with planning and much more organized in my daily life.  I’m learning how much I like not being accessible by cell phone all day long.  I’m learning to trust.  I have been given the opportunity to give of myself, my time, my knowledge and my resources, which is crucial to a happy life.  I’m learning to let go.  I’m learning to be uncompromising and to take an honest look at my priorities.  [At the end of the day, I could care less what’s on t.v., all I want to do is kiss my son and hear him giggle!)  I am full of hope, gratitude, joy, expectation.

A couple weeks ago I started a gratitude journal, and it has opened my eyes, my heart, and my mind.  I highly recommend writing things daily that you’re thankful for, saying “thank you” out loud when good things happen, doing positive affirmations and visualizations, really putting your whole self into a happy state.  As a result of doing this, I feel like the future is right now and it’s looking good!

I say all that, really, to say that I’m still here and I plan to post some mind-blowing recipes this weekend, so stay tuned!  And stay grateful!