I honestly couldn’t tell you a thing about food from Minnesota. Maybe some soup? Snow cream? But who cares because we live in one of the best states for food in the entire union, and nothing says North Carolina like barbecue.
Let’s clarify before getting down to it … barbecue is a food. It’s not an event, and it’s not something you do to food. It’s something you eat. And I’ll even be willing to accept that different kinds of barbecue are okay, even that mustard-based nonsense from South Carolina. But I will not budge on the meaning of the word barbecue.
Now that we have that clear, there are many ways to cook barbecue, and this is probably the easiest which is fitting since the Panthers will be facing the Vikings without Teddy Bridgewater or Adrian Peterson. That’s the point of this recipe, so yes, I’m very aware that there are many more “manly” ways to cook barbecue, but this is something anyone can do. Plus, for a forced connection with today’s game, we’re using Pepsi as our base, so we’re cooking Mini-Soda Carolina Pulled Pork. Get it? Yes, that’s awful.
First, you’ll need a crock pot big enough to fit 5 pounds of pork. You can use a traditional shoulder, but we really like using pork tenderloins because it’s more lean.
Next, season the hell out of it. Because there’s not much fat, you’re not going to get a whole lot of flavor unless you season it well, so I use garlic salt and ground pepper, and I use a lot of it. I love spicy barbecue, but I don’t use any heat at this point because cooking red pepper or cayenne or whatever kind of heat you like in a crock pot doesn’t really change the flavor, it just makes it hot.
Slice a half of a white onion into large rings, and it’s key to keep the rings big and thick so they’re easy to remove later on.
Then throw a cup of your favorite barbecue sauce on top for some flavor. I’d recommend something sweet during this phase, and if you’re into more vinegary tasting pork, use that sauce later once it’s cooked. You’ll need some liquid in the crock pot to really make the pork juicy and let it soak up the flavors of the onion, sauce, and seasoning. I use Pepsi because it’s the official soft drink of the Carolina Panthers, and you’ll want to use a one-liter mini bottle which is a perfect amount to almost cover the pork.
Then cook it on low for 8 hours and enjoy the smell of your house for the rest of the day. When it’s finished, use tongs and pull out the onions and throw them away, unless you like eating them which I wouldn’t personally recommend, but do you. Don’t let me stop you. Transfer the pork to a plate and then dump out the remaining liquid from the crock pot, and then put the pork back into the container to shred, season, and sauce.
Here’s where you can add heat if you want it. Work the spices into the meat as you shred the pork with two forks, and then coat generously with the rest of your favorite sauce. Even if it’s mustard based, I won’t judge. Much.
Then throw it on a bun, or eat it by itself. Either way, it’s good and easy. Just like facing the Vikings.