Love, Loyalty and Barbecue

Okay, so the words to the salute of the state flag in The Palmetto State are actually, “love, loyalty and faith,” but we’re talking about slow cooked barbecue goodness today. More specifically we’re talking about Mr. N’s state pick for the week, South Carolina Slow Cooker Pulled Pork.

We learned quite a bit about the different styles of BBQ and BBQ sauce for the southeastern coastal state, the most important thing being that BBQ refers exclusively to pork. If you want barbecued beef, it’s called “barbecued beef.” Simply asking for barbecue, however, will land you a pulled, shredded or chopped BBQ pork sandwich.Β And then there are the sauces which vary by region and include mustard-based sauces, ketchup-based sauces and vinegar-based sauces.

This week we chose the slow cooker method for our pork – it’s easy and convenient enough for a weekday and we love the way it makes the house smell. We also went with the ketchup-based barbecue sauce popular in the upstate and Savannah River regions, thinking that would be more up the kids’ alley.

The day before we planned to slow cook the pork, Miss A and I prepared the barbecue sauce. We used ketchup, apple cider vinegar, salt, brown sugar and crushed red pepper.Β 

Miss A put everything into the mixing bowl for us – without me even asking! She just got right to it.

Then we mixed it all together, covered it and put in the fridge for dinner the next day. The sauce can be made two to three days in advance of use.

Next we turned our attention to the pork. First we gathered all the spices and seasonings including onion salt, paprika, ground all-spice, ground black pepper, chili powder and brown sugar.

We mixed together everything except for the brown sugar and then set one tablespoon aside for use the next day. Next we incorporated an eighth of a cup of the brown sugar in the remaining mix and rubbed the mixture all over the pork ribs. We wrapped the spice rubbed pork in plastic wrap and placed it back in the fridge until the next day.

The following morning, we pulled the pork from the fridge and added it to a skillet with a bit of oil to brown it on all sides.

Once browned, we transferred the pork to the slow cooker and then added apple cider vinegar, the remaining eighth cup of brown sugar and the tablespoon of spice rub we had set aside to the skillet. We brought the liquid to a boil, making sure to remove any bits of seasoning from the bottom of the pan.

We then poured the liquid over the browned pork in the slow cooker, covered it and set the temperature to low.

The pork cooked for about six hours at which point we were ready for dinner. We removed the pork from the slow cooker, cut it into chunks and shred the meat with a knife and fork.

The pork was cooked through, juicy and shred easily. Once shredded, we returned the pork to the slow cooker and mixed it around in the liquid before adding it to our buns. We used a soft white bread bun for the sandwich, served it with sweet potato and regular oven baked fries, and a side of our South Carolina Barbecue Sauce for dipping.

The South Carolina version of BBQ was tangy, sweet and had a subtle hint of heat. Mike, Miss A and I all gave the pork 3 spoons. It was a flavorful, easy and filling meal for a weeknight dinner. Mr. N, however, isn’t a big fan of BBQ in general and only gave the sandwiches 2 spoons.

As for the sauce, well that was a bigger hit with Miss A and I than it was with the boys. We loved the tartness of the vinegar with the sweetness of the ketchup and sugar and gave it a solid 3 spoons. Miss A even used the sauce as a dip for some bread. The boys, however, weren’t big fans of the vinegar flavor. Mike gave the sauce 2 spoons and Mr. N gave it a lowly 1 spoon.

I suppose, given Miss A’s penchant for vinegar, I shouldn’t be surprised that she and I were big fans of the sauce. But sauce or no sauce, this was some good pulled pork, and definitely a recipe that we’ll be using again.

Have a great weekend everyone! We’ll be back on Sunday with our first recipe from Mike’s international destination of choice.

Print this recipe: South Carolina Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

49 thoughts on “Love, Loyalty and Barbecue

  1. Kay aka Babygirl says:

    I always use the slow cooker for pulled pork anything. You and Miss A did a fabulous job prepping everything. And Miss A definitely doesn’t look camera ready in on of the photos above. I was shocked to hear Mr. N didn’t like BBQ, but that may change when he gets older. I also love a vinegar based sauce.. it’s an acquired taste. but then again, I just love BBQ period lol. Wonderful recipe


  2. Charles says:

    Did I ever tell you about the time I went to my butcher to buy a piece of pork to slow-cook with the intention of making pulled pork? I told the guy what I was planning on doing – he looked at me like I was insane. I thought he was even going to refuse to sell me the meat for a moment. Pulled pork (and indeed, slow cooking in general) isn’t a concept which seems to exist in France. When I mentioned I’d be cooking it for about 10 hours he looked aghast πŸ˜€

    Great post – I love the tartness that vinegar gives to foods, so I think I’d have loved this – too bad it got only a lowly 1 spoon from Mr. N – maybe it’s something he’ll grow into later!


    • Kristy says:

      Really? No pulled pork in France?! Now that is crazy! You should take a sandwich back to the butcher, maybe he’d change his tune then. I love the tartness vinegar adds too. I’ll be surprised if Mr. N ever comes around to liking vinegar, but I’m not giving up on the bbq yet! πŸ™‚


  3. Karen says:

    Pulled pork piled high on a bun with pickles is one of my favorite sandwiches. Of course, I like to have a little potato salad on the side. It looks like you had a combo of regular and sweet potato fries…which look great.


    • Kristy says:

      Oh it’s so much fun! My favorite part is the slow cooking. It’s so easy and it just smells so good. My other favorite part you can totally customize your pork to your own likings. πŸ™‚


  4. Kelly says:

    What a fun post Kristy. I loved pulled meat, so tender and juicy and just perfect in a sandwich. Ketchup works so well in sauces and marinades, doesn’t it? I think I would like this sauce too – I’m a vinegar fanatic like Miss A. Speaking of which, would you look at that pose?!! Too much. Have a great weekend! – looking forward to Mike’s pick on Sunday.


    • Kristy says:

      Thanks Kelly! And ketchup is definitely amazing. πŸ™‚ We’ve used it in so many different sauces and each time they’ve been so different. Hope you had a great weekend!


  5. spicegirlfla says:

    There is just something that draws me to pulled pork! The juicy tenderness of long and slow cooking! I’m tempted to make some this weekend! I’ve never used boneless pork shoulder RIBS before. That’s very interesting and, of course, I’ll need to test that out! Just like you mentioned, I love to come home with the aroma of dinner cooking!!


    • Kristy says:

      Me too Linda! I love the way it makes the house smell. It’s so comforting and “homey.” We had never used the ribs either and were pretty happy with the results. πŸ™‚


  6. Caroline says:

    I love that you don’t need a crock pot to prepare this meat (particularly because I don’t have one)! Your homemade barbecue sauce and rub sounds absolutely delicious. I’m dying over that photo of Miss A looking at the camera…she’s way too adorable, as always. πŸ™‚


    • Kristy says:

      Isn’t she funny. She was just staring down the camera timer. LOL. Sometimes I’d just love to be inside her head to see what she’s thinking. As for the rub – we really enjoyed this one. It wasn’t too spicy which is perfect for the kids too. πŸ™‚


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