Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches

{the easiest BBQ}

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Have you ever planned things ahead and then never actually do the work?  Well case in point right here.  I was fully planning on posting a lot of BBQ dishes on the blog prior to the 4th of July… that went according to plan…  Unfortunately, I got caught up in work, traveling, and life in general.

Luckily, BBQs aren’t just for the holiday though.  We BBQ all the way through the fall when it requires a sweatshirt on when grilling [side note: can anyone smell the crisp fall air yet?  sometimes I get small inklings of that smell… not yet though].  So I don’t feel so bad for not posting one of my favorite barbecue recipes ahead of time.

IMG_4207Several years ago, when living in Chicago I was working a food demo at a Whole Foods & picked up a large pork shoulder to take home.  I planned to create some type of pulled pork recipe for dinner.  Little did I know, I would have pulled pork for days and days.  This recipe is perfect for a crowd!  For the amount you pay for the pork, you can feed a ton of mouths.  I make this recipe regularly because it is an easy one too.  Most of the ingredients (besides of the pork) can be found in your pantry and fridge.

So if you still have some lingering BBQs to attend or simply can’t get enough of them, try out my pulled pork recipe.  It is great for a weeknight meal as well because once you get home and open the door, you will smell the delicious aroma & know dinner is ready!  The combination of the dry rub & the simple sauce all meld together slowly, leaving the pork tender and full of flavor.  Please try it out! I hope you enjoy it :)

sara’s crockpot pulled pork

Recipe by:  Sara
Prep Time:  15 minutes   |||   Cook TIme: 8 hours   |||   Servings: 8-12   |||   Difficulty: Low

Ingredients:
1 bone-in pork shoulder, 4-5 lbs
1/2 cup white onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
8-12 buns

For the rub:
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cayenne
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme

BBQ Sauce:
1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup Worchestershire sauce
2 Tbsp yellow mustard
salt and pepper

Directions:
1.  Combine all ingredients for the rub in a bowl.
2.  Generously rub all over the pork shoulder.
3.  In the crockpot, combine all the ingredients for the sauce, adding the garlic and onions.
4.  Add the pork and turn to coat.
5.  Cook on low for 8 hours.
6.  An hour before serving, remove pork and use two forks to shred the meat.
7.  Place meat back into the crock pot and stir to coat.
8.  Serve on buns with coleslaw.

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Guinness Beef Stew

{Guinness + Beef}

Beef stew.  My guess is most people think comfort food when they hear beef stew.  Not me.  I think of the first book I ever read on my own titled Beef Stew.  Sure, I read Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat and the Hat and all the classics.  However, I clearly remember grabbing that book when I was little and reading each word on my own.  What an interesting title… I really wonder what the author was thinking when the book idea came to mind.  Maybe she was eating beef stew?  Had a few too many drinks?  No idea.  All I know is that I loved this book and probably still do if I read it today.

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I make beef stew about once a year and I’m not sure why I don’t make it more often.  It is so easy and the smell when you come home from work – yum.  The crock pot is one of the greatest inventions in the cooking world.  I love being able to put something together in the morning and come home from work to dinner.  This is definitely one piece of equipment in my kitchen that gets its use.  

I knew it was time to break out my classic beef stew recipe with the cold weather well underway.  However, I decided to add a twist to my original recipe.  I wanted something with a deeper flavor and unique.  My original recipe uses red wine as the base of the sauce.  For this recipe, I decided to use a bold and hearty beer – Guinness.  My secret piece of this recipe – 1 oz. of bittersweet chocolate.  It gives the recipe that little something that causes people to think “Hmm what is in here?”  

I prepared the beef stew this morning and was happy to come home to smell my masterpiece.  I cooked it on low for 10 hours and the beef became so tender soaking in the liquid all day.  Preparation for the stew was so easy and it was a two thumbs up meal at my dinner table.  I definitely will make this version of my beef stew again.  It was very delicious and the flavors were so unique.  I hope you enjoy.

guinnessbeefstew

{Click here for the recipe}

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Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce

{never buy again}

I finally got around to using a large amount of our apples from our trip to the Apple Orchard. Who knew apples kept so long?  Needless to say, we ate a lot of our apples plain for breakfast, lunch, and dinner so we are a bit appled out.  I couldn’t bear to waste nearly half a bushel of apples and I have wanted to make applesauce for a long time.

On Saturday, it was chilly and yet another fall day.  Dinner that night was Cincinnati chili requested by Bryan for the UofM vs. State football game.  I do have a pretty fabulous homemade Cincinnati chili recipe, but I wanted to focus on my applesauce so I went with one of the seasoning packets.  They are pretty dang good and only need a pound of beef and 6 oz of tomato paste.  I recommend the packets for sure, but when feeling ambitious make my homemade Cincinnati chili {post to come soon}.

As the chili bubbled on the stove, I started coring, peeling and cutting the apples.  I used what we had picked:  Red Delicious and Empire apples.  I researched applesauce for some time and there wasn’t a particular apple that was recommended across the board.  Feel free to use whatever is on sale at the store or if you prefer a more tart applesauce go with Granny smith.  Either way the apples release their sugars during the cooking creating the sweetness naturally.

Let me tell you.  My house smelled AH-MAY-ZING.  We had some people over and they thought an apple cinnamon candle was burning.  The applesauce tasted great right out of the crock pot warm and was even more delicious after sitting in the fridge.  I definitely have a new appreciation for homemade applesauce.  I plan to make it again with different apples and maybe a spin.  Pumpkin applesauce?

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{Click here for the recipe}

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