I am not a native Texan. I love Texas, and I have no intention of leaving, but I spent the first 20 years of my life in North Carolina, and there is a part of me that will always be a Carolina girl. There are many things I miss about North Carolina.
- Four distinct seasons (as opposed to Hot, Less Hot, and More Hot)
- The ability to drive from one end of the state to the other in 7 hours
- The idea that a few other sports may possibly be able to compete with the popularity of football
- Autumn leaf colors
Near the top, however, is eastern North Carolina barbecue. Which is not synonymous with brisket, and is also not a verb.
I miss barbecue that means pulled pork and vinegar, barbecue that is served with boiled potatoes and corn sticks or hushpuppies, and barbecue that means we’ll take our turn pulling our own meat off the hog at a pig pickin’.
I didn’t often eat barbecue when I lived there, but when I wanted some, it was easily accessible. Now, however, if I want some Carolina barbecue, I have to resort to other options. Which is how I came across this recipe that, although really can’t compare to B’s or Parker’s, sufficiently satisfies my craving and is close enough that my fellow Texans who have never been to NC won’t know the difference.
Plus it’s made in the crockpot. How’s that for simplicity?
If you’ve never had Carolina barbecue, I know this recipe will look ridiculously weird. You’ll wonder how in the world this could ever be good, and you’ll wonder if I really meant to say 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar, or if that’s a typo.
It’s not a typo. Trust me. If you’ve never had this, you owe it to yourself to try it. It won’t be quite the same as the “real” thing, but if you just don’t live where the real thing can be had, it’s pretty darn close.
Crockpot Carolina Barbecue (original recipe here)
- 4-6 lbs boneless pork butt or boneless pork shoulder
- 2 onions, quartered (optional)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
Quarter onions and place in the bottom of crockpot, or if not using onions, proceed to next step.
Combine brown sugar, paprika, salt and pepper and rub on pork roast. Place roast on top of onions in crockpot. Alternately, you can forego the rubbing, and just sprinkle the rub ingredients on top of the roast after placing in the crockpot. I know, I’m lazy.
Combine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, sugar, mustard, garlic salt, and cayenne (I mix in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, it makes pouring easier). Mix until flavors are well blended.
Drizzle about 1/3 of vinegar mixture over roast, and refrigerate remaining vinegar mixture.
Cook pork roast on low 8 to 10 hours or on high for to 4-6 hours.
Drizzle 1/3 more of the refrigerated vinegar mixture over pork roast during the last 1/2 hour of coking.
Remove meat when fully cooked and drain. Chop or shred meat and chop up onions.
Serve with remaining vinegar sauce, and a few sides. Or, if desired, serve with hamburger buns and coleslaw.