Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Barbecue, Eastern North Carolina Style!

Last winter I made our favorite Southwestern style barbecue for Larry's birthday. Since A Bend in the Road has a barbecue connection, and like most of Nick's novels, it's set in Eastern North Carolina, I decided for authenticity's sake I would try a barbecue recipe more like the one Miles Ryan would have eaten at his favorite diner.

After browsing the Internet for recipes, I decided to try this one, from The Houndstooth Gourmet:

(Oh, by the way, if you click on the link to the recipe and read the comments, you'll see one complaint that this isn't REALLY North Carolina style barbecue because it should only have cider vinegar and pepper flakes, and nothing else. I don't care. I like this barbecue sauce.)

Crock Pot Pulled Pork in an Eastern NC BBQ Sauce


• 2 large yellow onions, cut from pole to pole and sliced to your liking
• 3 lbs. pork loin (be sure that it has a decent fat cap) or pork shoulder
• 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar or pomegranate balsamic vinegar (Sharon here: I used a combination of balsamic and pomegranate vinegar since I had both)
• 1 cup apple cider vinegar
• 1 cup red wine vinegar
• 6 tbsp brown sugar, dark
• 3 tbsp sugar
• 2 Tablespoons paprika
• 2 teaspoons kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon fresh-cracked black pepper
• 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
• 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
• 2 Tablespoons spicy brown mustard
• 1 Tablespoon garlic powder

Layer the sliced onions on the bottom of the crock pot. Place the pork loin on top of the onions, fat cap up. Place the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Pour over the pork and onions. Set the crock pot on low and cook for 6-7 hours until pork is fork-tender and ready to pull apart. Baste the pork with the sauce and onions about once an hour. Also, as the pork nears finishing, check the acidity of your sauce to adjust for sweet/sour ratio that is to your liking.

Remove pork and shred/pull. Reserve sauce and onions separate to serve a la minute with the pork. If you keep the pork and sauce together, the sauce will get absorbed and you will not be able to “dress” your dish and have those juices flowing down your chin!


The sauce was amazing, and there was plenty of extra to mix in with the meat. The meat itself was a little dry, probably because a). it sat in my freezer way too long and b.) I left it in the Crock Pot an hour or so longer than I should have. The spicy-sweet sauce took care of that nicely, though! I was able to freeze at least a pint of leftover sauce; next time we want barbecue I'll roast a nice fresh pork loin in the oven and use the sauce I already made. It might even be good for a weeknight!

I had mine on gluten-free bread. I wanted to make my favorite Bobby Flay coleslaw, but since I was already making two cakes (this one and this one) and strawberry pink lemonade that day, I decided to pick some up at the deli this time.

Stay tuned for some DELICIOUS chicken and pesto, with a teensy lesson in Civil War History.

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