I'm from North Carolina - the old North State. It is a beautiful wonderful place. Home of the best BBQ on the planet.
I migrated north 100 miles to the Commonwealth of Virginia....the beautiful part with the Blue Ridge Mountains not the part with all the people crammed on top of each other. Life is good here. I've got a good job, great friends, breath taking views, and a slower pace of life - but one very obvious issue to this Tar Heel...no good BBQ. Once you cross that state line you chances of finding NC BBQ are below slim.
Now we North Carolinians are extremely particular about our BBQ. Let me explain. It is pork, sweet, tangy, good after bite, moist with no sauce - it is marinated in apple cider vinegar. Meat should taste like meat and not some cheap-o chemical laden sauce.
Our BBQ is simple, eloquent, classy, served in a greasy spoon and it takes for ever to make. Most people I know cook their pork on a pit for 18-24 hours with regular attention to the fire. Lets be real - who has time for that.
So behold how to cheat the clock and rock out a killer batch of authentic NC BBQ in 8 hours with your crock pot.
Step 1: Ingredients
Paleo North Carolina Style BB
- 1 Table spoon salt
- 1 Table spoon crushed black pepper
- 1 Table spoon rushed red pepper
- 2 granny smith apples,
- 2 cups of apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 table spoons of molasses
(or brown sugar)
- pork - more details to follow
- Optional - few dashes of crushed red pepper flakes
I use simple natural ingredients. It falls under the Paleo diet because it contains no starches, grains or sugars. Molasses do come from the sugar cane plant but it is not refined sugar which is void of all nutritional value. Blackstrap molasses are made by boiling cane juice 3 times. It is a a source of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and copper. Read more on The Paleo List.
Step 2: Behold: the Butt
Being the paleo hunter-gather that I am I headed down to the super market and picked up a fresh cut of pig. I'm not sure what is going on with the guys in Boston....but a Boston Butt is actually the front shoulder of a pig. There is a very obvious joke here that I'm trying really hard to stay away from....
Boston Butt / Pork Shoulder vs Picnic Shoulder.
This is actually the same cut of meat. The butt has less fat on it and the picnic shoulder has the leg socket and a part of the leg still attached. Some people swear the picnic cuts taste better.
I like big pork butts...and I cannot lie.
Take the shoulder put it on a cutting board with a towel under it. I slice them in half. One goes in the crock pot - the other goes in a gallon sized freezer bag and then into the freezer.
Step 3: Apples
Peel your two apples and cut into small slices.
Pour the apple cider vinegar into your crock pot and put 1 apple into the vinegar.
Place the meat into the crock with the fattier side up.
Step 4: Salt
Cover the exposed meat with your salt.
Step 5: Black Pepper
Cover the meat with the black pepper.
Step 6: Red Pepper
Cover the meat with the red pepper.
Step 7: Top It Off
Once your spices are on cover the meat with the remaining apple. Once it is covered toss the rest of the pieces in the apple cider.
Drizzle 1-2 table spoons of molasses over the meat.
Optional: Sprinkle on some crushed red pepper flakes for more of a bite
Step 8: Low and Slow
Cover the crock with the lid.
Put on low and heat for 8 hours.
It will look like this when it is done.
Step 9: Chop It - Like Its Hot.
North Carolina barbecue is pulled or chopped. I prefer to chop mine.
Break out your grill tongs and pull the pork out of the crock. It will pull right off the bone.
Place on a cutting board and chop finely with a large knife.
Once your barbecue is chopped put it into a bowl and mixit up throughly. This will help distribute any meat that that might have a higher concentration of spices.
Step 10: Paleo Platter
Paleo North Carolina Barbecue can be served platter style: hot on a plate with fresh fruit and veggies.
Step 11: Pale-no
However traditionally BBQ is served Pale-no on a sandwich bun with delicious fried dough balls of goodness (hushpuppies). Optionally top with your latest batch of fresh coleslaw
Step 12: Leftovers
Leftovers are delicious. Heat in a covered sauce pan on medium low or microwave. Add 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to keep it moist. This is also a great trick if it needs a little more punch.