Recipe: Crock Pot Carolina BBQ

This is the first post in my “Adventures in Cooking” section. Over the last few years, I’ve phased out a lot of my hobbies like fishing and kayaking due to the lack of time excuse, but the time I’ve spent cooking has made up for it. I really enjoy it, and I think I can hold my own among most “amateur” cooks (selling quesadillas at Phish show in college didn’t classify me as a pro).

Since it’s a passion of mine, why not share some tips, stories and recipes. The first recipe is one I shared with some of my former N&O coworkers a few years ago. I know a couple of them still use it, so why not start here?

I’m cooking a more complex charcoal-grilled BBQ recipe for my friends’ engagement party this weekend, so the next post will have that recipe and some photos.

This crock pot BBQ recipe is great, as are a lot of crock pot recipes, because it’s simple. You can turn the crock pot on before you go to work, and when you come back, the house smells great and dinner is finished. It’s virtually impossible to over cook  this particular cut of meat, because it has the perfect amount of fat to keep it moist throughout the cooking process. The food prep is minimal and it can actually be done the night before. Disclaimer: this is not a true Eastern NC BBQ recipe; it’s a blend of East and West which seems to be more popular with the average person. So please enjoy, and if you try the recipe and have any questions, feel free to post them as a comment, or email me.

Gathering Items

  • Boston Butt roast; 6-7 lbs; depends on the size of your crock pot; either bone-in or boneless
  • Vinegar; preferably apple cider
  • Chicken stock (optional)d
  • Hickory smoke BBQ sauce
  • Liquid smoke (optional)
  • Spice rub (recipe follows but store-bought rubs or spice blends can be used instead)
    2 tablespoon brown sugar
    1 tablespoon salt
    1 tablespoon black pepper
    teaspoon garlic powder
    teaspoon paprika
    ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Food Prep

  • If frozen, meat must thaw 2-3 days in the fridge
  • Trim off some of the excess fat
  • Rub seasoning on all sides of the meat (it’s ideal to do this the night before cooking and let it sit in the fridge overnight, but this can be also done just before cooking)
  • Place into crock pot with the fattier side facing up
  • Pour 1/4 cup sauce and 1/4 cup chicken broth or water over the top

Cooking and serving

  • Turn on low and cook 8-10 hours
  • It’s done if you can easily stick a wood spoon through the middle (there is a pretty large time window for when it’s done, so overcooking it is difficult)
  • Pour off liquid (this and leftover BBQ can be used for Brunswick stew or other soups)
  • Scoop off any excess fat
  • With two wooden spoons or plastic spatulas begin gently pushing apart the meat
  • Remove the large blade bone (not necessary if the butt was boneless)
  • With spoons, shred meat to desired consistency picking out any fat chunks
  • Add ½ bottle of sauce plus ½ cup of vinegar (optional: few dashes of liquid smoke)
  • Fill bottle up with vinegar and use as extra sauce on the table
  • Stir and serve with buns and coleslaw
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