Currently, I live in the south. Not the deep south, mind you. In fact, many southerner’s wouldn’t consider my location “The South”, even if it is south of the Mason Dixon line, and would probably laugh in my face. However, I used to live in the North. My family is full of Yanks with some southern roots as some of my ancestors apparently liked to play jump rope with the Mason Dixon line. I’ve lived along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, and have relatives who live in The South.
So I don’t know how much of an expert I would be on Carolina Pulled Pork, probably ambiguous at best, but I’ve tasted the genuine, native-born-and-raised version, and I love it. I’ll take the tangy, tart vinegar flavor over Memphis BBQ any day. I’ve a foundation to compare this recipe with, which gets me one foot in the door. If you’ve made real Carolina pulled pork, let me know how this compares. All I know is that it is dang tasty, especially since I don’t own a barbeque pit to really smoke the meat.
This tastes great over sautéed red cabbage garnished with raw onions, which we made since we happened to have them on hand. You can even try it over top of spinach with salsa for a pork taco salad. For breakfast, heap it onto mashed sweet potatoes or mashed plantains. Maybe even a bed of summer squash noodles. The possibilities are endless! Try it out during barbeque season during the summer, or chow down on it when you’re missing that languid, summer heat during the winter.
The best part is that this can all be done in a slow-cooker. No slaving over a pork butt for hours if you don’t have a smoker. No heading to a local barbeque pitt if you don’t have the time or money. Put everything in the slow-cooker, head to work, and come home to a delicious dinner!
Looking at these pictures make me hungry.
- 2 Sweet Onions, quartered
- 2 whole peeled cloves of Garlic
- 1 TBSP Smoked Paprika
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 2 TBSP Raw, Local Honey: You can use coconut palm sugar, which tastes closer to brown sugar, or Grade B maple syrup instead. Personally, I like the honey.
- 1 3-6 lb. Grass-fed Pork Butt: Shoulder roast can be used instead. Do not use tenderloin! It'll just turn out dry.
- 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1/4 cup Coconut Aminos: Or, if you don't have difficulty with Worcestershire sauce like I do, use Lea & Perrins as it is gluten-free.
- 2 tsp Raw, Local Honey: Again, you can use Grade B Maple Syrup or Coconut Sugar instead.
- 1 1/2 - 2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- 1/2 + 1/4 tsp Dry Mustard
- 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper: Depends on how spicy you like it.
- 1/4 tsp Chipotle pepper powder
- Rinse your pork butt and pat dry with a paper towel. Use a sharp knife to score the fat cap on your pork butt. If this piece grosses you out, cut it off. I leave it on because it adds a lot of flavor to the pork and keeps it moist. Grass-fed meats tend to be much leaner.
- In a small bowl (I use a ramekin), mix your 2 TBSP of honey, 1 TBSP Smoked Paprika, Salt, and Black Pepper. Rub this all over the pork butt. You might find that it is a little hard if you haven't dried the butt very well; keep working on it. The honey mixture will eventually grab onto the surface and you can slather the meat with it. Wrap the pork butt tight with saran wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for at least two hours. I leave mine in overnight.
- When you're ready to cook...Quarter your onions. Peel your cloves of garlic. Place the onions and garlic in the crockpot. Add your pork butt, fat side down.
- In a medium-small bowl, use a whisk to mix your cider vinegar, honey, coconut aminos, crushed red pepper flakes, dry mustard, garlic powder, chipotle powder, and cayenne pepper. Pour 1/3 to 1/2 of this mixture over your pork butt in the slow cooker. Cover the rest and stick it in the fridge.
- Cook the pork butt on low for 8-10 hours.
- When finished, shred the meat in a bowl, discard excess fatty tissue and the bone. Add the juices from the slow-cooker, and then remainder of your vinegar sauce reserve.
- Serve over top of sautéed red cabbage for dinner or whatever you desire. You can even use it to stuff an acorn squash. Enjoy it with great company. Yum!
© Julie Marie Pierpont and Death Defying Diet 2013