Paleo Carolina (Vinegar) Pork BBQ- Crock Pot




About: I'm a computer engineer - but please don't judge me by that. I heat with wood, fix broken things and love camping with my family. I'm a closet solar nerd, love coupons, not scared to dumpster dive and love...

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 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.

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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.

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    24 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Paleo Crock pot recipes can be tricky to manage, and sometimes take away nutritive value of the foods when cooking for extended periods. This free paleo guide helped me find the best recipes, AND the best ways to cook them:


    4 years ago on Introduction

    What more can I say? You had me when your feet were sticking out of the dumpster. I live to repurpose that which is given. There are so many "things" out there that we can retrieve from those that don't yet have the vision. Thank you so much for your sustainable attitude. Aloha


    4 years ago on Step 12

    do you really need an electric slow cooker or could you use a thick steel pot or a terracotta pot on very low flame?

    2 replies
    More CowbellValentinoM

    Reply 4 years ago on Step 12

    I would think that a roasting pan on low in the oven for 10-12 hours would do the trick. If you try it out let us know!

    ValentinoMMore Cowbell

    Reply 4 years ago on Step 12

    that would be just roasted pork wouldn't it? the oven dries the meat if not properly fattened with oil and/or butter


    4 years ago

    My wife thought the vinegar was a tad too strong but I loved it! Thanks for the inspiration :)

    I hope you love it. It has always been a crowd pleaser at our house. If you fix it I would love to know how an southern east coast country tradition goes in a west coast city!


    4 years ago

    I made this for our New Year's party. it turned out fantastic! it wept a ton of liquid during cooking so I strained it off and reduced it then mixed back in with the meat after chopping. I served with nice rolls. the leftover made some excellent tacos and burritos. I mixed in a can of strained black beans and a can of diced tomatoes and simmered away the juice. cheese and sour cream and Tabasco yumm! thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

    1 reply

    4 years ago

    When I was a teenager I would go visit my grandmother in North Carolina (i'm from Florida) and that was one of the first things she did was take me to a little restaurant around the corner from our little town and we would get (vinegar)barbecue. I am very excited to try this in the crockpot!?


    4 years ago on Step 12

    THANKS A MILLION!!!! Been looking for a great recipe for slow pork and this looks to be OUTSTANDING!!! Can't wait to fix it this weekend.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    This isn't exactly an accurate recipe, primarily because they tried to be paleo about it (aside from the vinegar). Also, I've heard of the garlic, but I think onion is a preference thing, not a traditional ingredient.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome recipe! How many pounds was the pork butt? My wife can't wait to try this, but, she wants to buy the right size of meat. Thanks, Pete

    2 replies
    More Cowbellbrdstf40

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    It was right at 10 pounds. 1/2 of the roast fed our family of three - three times and one of those times we had two additional adults.

    I'd love to hear your results!

    brdstf40More Cowbell

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! I will send pics and all the comments, which I'm sure will be all positive! We love barbecue!!