Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Slow Cooker Barbecue Pork and Sweet Potato Tian

Here is my favorite slow cooker recipe for making pulled pork barbecue. Staying true to my North Carolina roots, I use a vinegar based sauce and try to recreate that delicious pulled pork I grew up enjoying. I don't have a smoker, which is one reason I cook this in a my slow cooker. If you do have a smoker, first of all I'm jealous, and secondly you should stick to the original recipe I found on the Food Network Website.

You will lose the smoky flavor from cooking this in a slow cooker, but the barbecue flavors are still there and the pork is tender, moist and falls apart with the lightest touch of a fork. And, as I have said before, why would you pass up an opportunity to use your slow cookers?!

I served this with a Sweet Potato Tian, which shouldn't be missed! Found in the February issue of Martha Stewart Living, this is a great new way to cook sweet potatoes. Thinly sliced potatoes are baked with leeks and grated apple, then topped with Gruyere cheese. The flavors are fabulous and your kitchen will smell amazing. I've made this twice in two weeks! Recipe not posted on Martha's website yet-maybe in March?


2-4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed
16 ounces apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons red hot sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/4 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1-2 cups water or chicken broth

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Liquid should come to top edge of pork. If not, add more water or chicken stock. Cook on low for 8 hours or until pork pulls apart easily. Shred pork in slow cooker with sauce and serve.

**If you prefer a thicker sauce, add bottled barbecue sauce to slow cooker. I recommend Sweet Baby Rays original barbecue sauce, or marinade. I think I usually add a little anyway just for the extra flavors!**


2-3 sweet potatoes, thinly sliced
1 granny smith apple, cored and grated
1-2 leeks, white and pale-green parts only,
halved lengthwise, sliced 1/4 inch thick and rinsed well
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss together sweet potatoes, apple, leeks, oil, and 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a 9 x 12 inch oval or 9 x 13 baking dish. Spread into a thin layer and cover with parchment-lined foil. Bake for 15 minutes. Raise oven temperature to 400. Remove, uncover, and top with Gruyere. Bake until bubbling and top is browned, about 30 minutes.

**I used a mandoline to slice the sweet potatoes, but a regular sharp knife is fine. I set aside some of the sweet potatoes to bake in a single layer on a cookie sheet for my kids, who will eat sweet potatoes, apples, and cheese, but not in casserole form. I used shallots the first time I made this and it was just as delicious as the leek version!**

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