Barbecue Pulled Pork

I’m a barbecue fanatic. Kruegers are looked down on in my family for not asking for barbecue sauce with fries at a restaurant. There are 3 different brands in my fridge rightthisveryminute. I’m SERIOUS about barbecue. And luckily, there are others who share my obsession enthusiasm.

See, there are these guys in Bloomington called, affectionately, the Ribs Guys. More accurately, they are called Ribs Guys! because people are generally excited when they see them. The proprietors of a restaurant called Smokin’ Jack’s Barbecue have a stand at all the home football games (17th and Dunn!) and a handful of random Fridays and Saturdays where they sell ribs, smoked sausages, pulled pork sandwiches at great prices. You get the same foods they sell at the restaurant for in-the-parking-lot-of-a-convenience-store prices. NOTHING could be better. Meredith and I have a system where we call or text (in capital letters, obvs) to let each other know when the Ribs Guys! are at their post. Then we eat barbecue sauce-slathered ribs before we go to fancy military events. Because we’re normal.

The problem of course, is that it’s now basketball season and the Ribs Guys! don’t hang out at the food mart when it’s cold out. So I get a hankering for their food at inopportune times and figure out ways to make a version myself. Take this pulled pork for instance: take a cut of pork, some sauce and liquid smoke, a crock pot, and a wheat bun and you, Sir, have some heaven on a plate there. And it couldn’t be easier.


1 pork roast or pork butt
salt and pepper to cover
1 Tbsp liquid smoke (or mesquite liquid smoke)
1 Tbsp teriyake sauce (opt)
about 1 C barbecue sauce (or a mixture of multiple brands)

As I said, I like to use different sauces for different foods so I assemble an assortment. You can use any brand or type of sauce you like. (I also really like Tony Roma’s Carolina Honey sauce but I’m out of it at the moment.) This time I mixed Sweet Baby Ray’s (a classic) and Jack Daniels Honey Smokehouse with a little mesquite liquid smoke and teriyaki sauce. They combine to form a complex and smokey flavor.

Don’t I sort of sound like I’m talking about wine? Just substitute some words there and I’m a sommelier. For real.

This is so easy. It’s barely a recipe. You can use pork shoulder, pork butt or a lean pork loin like I used here. Rinse it if you want and apply salt and pepper over all sides. Pour the liquid smoke and teriyaki sauce in the slow-cooker. Add the barbecue sauce(s) and stir well. Turn the heat to high* and add the pork.

Brush the top of the meat with a silicon brush. I really hate using natural hair or wooden-handled brushes for this since, hi, it’s raw pork and that creeps me out. Slosh barbecue sauce all over the top and cook for about 5 hours.

*If you have more time, reduce heat to low or medium and increase cooking time. I only had 5 hours this time so that’s what I did but roasts taste even better the longer they are cooked.

Oh hello.

See how tender and succulent this is? It falls apart. Use two forks to shred the pork and separate everything into consistently-sized strips. And it really is tender enough for this. The only reason for a knife is to cut the long strips in half so you don’t end up with long dangley pieces.

When you’re finished, spoon all the sauce into a bowl and set aside. Dump all the pork into the slow cooker (set to warm or very low) and pour on the sauce. Depending on the size of your cut of meat, you might need more or less. You might also want less sauce on your pork. It’s all a matter of taste. So spoon or pour on a little at a time before stirring and testing to see if you need to add more. I used all my sauce (<-surprise) (<-sarcasm).

This will stay hot for hours if you are at a party or pot luck. In fact, I kind of can’t wait to make this for a pot luck or superbowl party. Everyone will love you when you make it! Serve on a wheat bun or roll and top with a little extra barbecue sauce if you want.

I won’t judge you. In fact, it will make me want to be your friend.


2 responses to “Barbecue Pulled Pork

  1. A comment from WHITE TRASH BBQ (not kidding) was removed from this site for the following (hilarious) reasons:

    1. Homeboy was MEAN! I like nice people, don’t you?
    2. The guy couldn’t spell a very obvious word. It wasn’t a there or a your but it was still an easy one. It’s not a reason to delete but I just feel like pointing it out.
    3. He wanted me to shred the meat with my bare hands. I would like to politely disagree and say that forks are fingerprint-savers.
    4. Hater has an open pit bbq place and competes in bbq competitions. I love open pit bbq so, so much. Ideally, that’s the only bbq we would all ever eat, right? I even say in my post how much I adore the Ribs Guys! but this is clearly a recipe for someone to make at home. You know, someone who doesn’t have an open pit in the backyard of their college apartment. Crock pot usage isn’t even barbecuing hence the liquid smoke and the barbecue sauce. Chad and I often use the charcoal grill on the porch but when it’s cold or when we both work/go to class until right before dinner, sometimes it’s great to let a crock pot do the work.

    The long and short of it is that I’m not a professional open pit barbecue guy. I don’t pretend to be. When I say I’m serious about barbecue, I mean that I’m serious about eating it. I post recipes I make for dinner or for friends. I certainly don’t post recipes for jerks who (presumably) troll the internet for recipes to trash.

    So while I was tempted to just edit his comment to say how pretty I really and truly am, I moved it to the mean-comment-dumping-ground. Let this serve as a reminder that comments are monitored with my flour-dusted iron fist.

  2. your response to the comment is wonderful…food snobs can be a pain in the ass, and BBQ snobs are downright silly…while i agree that technically this is not a BBQ recipe per se, it is a tried and true way to make some damn fine sandwiches…may i make a suggestion, for varieties sake alone…throw in extra cumin and garlic to the sauce…cool the pork overnight and try slicing it as thinly as possible for Cuban style pork sandwiches…my dad used to do that all the time, usually with a pork loin roast…check out my blog if you like BBQ and the like…

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