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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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