Originally Published July 31, 2012
There's nothin in the world like a good ol' southern pig pickin'. It's something quite common down in North Carolina. My husband and I had one at our wedding reception 14 years ago as did my cousin who got married a couple years ago. It's nothin' fancy, just some down home cookin'. So I decided it was time to make my own version of Carolina BBQ. Typically a pig (or two) are slow roasted in a large barrel cooker, which looks like an oil drum, for hours and hours. Then, after the pork is pulled it is served with some famous Carolina barbeque sauce which typically is apple cider vinegar and red pepper flakes and a few other spices. There are a million and one versions but they all have to have that vinegar as the base. It's what makes Eastern Carolina Barbeque different. Nope, it's not sweet like Memphis Que, but has some tang and spice. Don't get me wrong..I love me some molasses-based barbeque sauce...(like my JD Barbecue Sauce) I can eat that with most anything, including potato chips. BUT, Carolina BBQ is what I was raised on and though both are good I cannot choose my favorite because they are so different. I love them both! So anyway..I was on a mission to create a delicious Pig Pickin for my Princess's third birthday party complete with barbecue, cornbread, potato salad, baked beans (I cheated and used Bush's) and cole slaw . Well, I don't know about you, but up here in PA I don't have a barrel smoker sittin' in my backyard thank you very much. PLUS, who has the time? Seriously? Not me, that's for sure! So instead I tried to adapt my Jack Daniels Memphis style Slow Cooker Pulled Pork recipe to a Carolina Slow Cooker Pulled Pork. Okay, now I'm going to tell you the secret in the sauce...because, if you're gonna cheat, there HAS to be a trick somewhere. The trick here is to use.....drumroll please......
.........Liquid Hickory Smoke. Yep, they bottle smoke. Who knew? It'sbasically water that has had smoke pass through it, then it's bottled. I can usually find liquid smoke in my grocery store. It's the key to giving the pork that smokey flavor. I know, I'm a cheat...but so what?! It tastes amazing and is less hassle! Seriously, my mouth is watering right now just thinking about Caroline Pulled Pork. Sigh....luckily I was down south a few weeks ago and got some straight from my old stompin ground...and it was delicious! I think I smell some pulled pork in my near future.
SO..without further adieu...here's my tasty recipe. I love it! Hope you do too! It's got a little kick to it, but what do you expect when it calls for red pepper flakes? :)
1 T. Chili Powder
1 T. Salt
1 T. Onion Powder
1/2 tsp. pepper
5lb shoulder roast or picnic roast
1 T. Liquid Hickory Smoke
3 cups divided Carolina Barbecue Sauce
BTW: Make the barbecue sauce the day before!
1. Preheat a skillet over medium high heat. Then mix spices together then rub all over the pork. Sear the roast on all sides. This will give it a little more flavor and since we are slow cooking, we need to cheat as much as possible. :)
2. Flipping the roast can be tricky because it is pretty heavy so I used some tongs and a big spatula. Just be careful because it's pretty hot.
3. Next, place in the slow cooker and add 1 cup of barbecue sauce along with 1 tablespoon of liquid hickory smoke. Place the lid on and cook over night on low. (8 hours)
4. Remove roast to a separate dish to cool slightly.
5. Using two forks at first, shred the pork. Once it is cool enough to handle then definitely use your fingers to pull the pork. You have a better feel of what is fat and what isn't that way and it is much easier too.
6. Pour the drippings into a separate bowl.
7. Skim the fat off the top and discard. Reserve 2 cups of juices and add 2 cups of the barbecue sauce.
8. Place pulled pork back in the slow cooker and pour in the sauce mixture. Cook on low for 3 hours. You can cook longer, it really doesn't hurt anything. I cooked mine for 6 hours.
9. Here y'all go! Doesn't that look amazing?? You can serve it up just on a plate with some fixins like cornbread, potato salad and cole slaw on the side. OR you can serve it on a bun. Just make sure to pour some of the Carolina Barbecue Sauce over it before you dig in either way. Oh, and it ain't right if you don't put the slaw ON the sandwich. You gotta do it up Carolina style! The combo of textures with the sweet and the tang is what makes this sandwich most incredible. Just try it! No whining :)
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I got a ketchup and mustard container set from Walmart for less than 2 bucks. I'd suggest cutting off the tip to make the spout a little larger. Have this filled with the sauce to make it easier for guests to pour sauce on the pork.