I'm about to stir up some controversy I'm sure but here I go....what is BBQ? Who makes it best??
There's Mongolian BBQ, Japanese BBQ, Greek BBQ and then Southern BBQ...and probably five hundred other types! All of these are very different things. So ignoring (for today) international bbq, let's talk about BBQ in the South...the biggest debate you will find along the purists of the meaning of Barbecue will occur if you bring together a Texan and a South Carolinian. In Texas, Barbecue means Beef, particularly Brisket. In the Carolina's (the whole south for that matter), Barbecue means Pork (typically shoulder roasts and Boston butts). Now, being the proud Texan that I am I want to tout the benefits of our delicious 'Q but can't neglect to mention that some pulled pork is very tasty!
Ok, again, stirring up some controversy here, my thoughts on what it takes to make some BBQ: BBQ requires meat. You grill vegetables (and I love grilled veggies, but they just aren't the same as BBQ'd meat). BBQ is more than a meal. It is an event. People gather for good BBQ, whether invited or not. It is an event that gathers people around an open (or pit) fire to watch, smell and eat. BBQ is social and the root of so many a family gathering.
BBQ in the South is especially social, you'll see it as an after church lunch, a school fundraiser, or a restaurant that people will wait hours to eat at. In Lockhart, Texas (a short drive away), the self-proclaimed BBQ Capital of Texas, there are BBQ joints that sell out before noon on Saturdays and don't open back up again until the following Saturday! BBQ is a culture unto itself, I cannot begin to say that my crockpot version does justice to the truly delightful concoctions that true pit-masters concoct but it makes a decent weeknight substitute.
Crockpot Pulled Pork
2 Lbs Pork Shoulder Roast
1/2 Medium Onion Sliced in Rounds
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
16 Oz BBQ Sauce (I used a mixture of a sweet sauce and a tangier sauce).
1. Cook roast on low for 10-12 hours in crockpot, no cooking liquid required!
2. After roast has cooked sufficient time, use forks to pull it apart within the pot.
3. Place onions in crockpot, stir lemon juice, brown sugar and BBQ sauce in with pork. Let cook on high 1 hour.
4. After 1 hour, turn off the pot and enjoy!
Seeing as the hamburger buns made earlier this week were long gone by this time I had to whip up another batch...one a little more conducive to weeknight timing, so on All Recipes I stumbled across an easy/low time requirement burger bun recipe:
Easy Hamburger Buns
1 cups warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1/8 cup margarine, melted
1/8 cup warm water
1/8 cup white sugar
1 (.25 ounce) packages instant yeast
1 teaspoons salt
3 cups all-purpose flour, or as needed
1. In a large bowl, stir together the milk, margarine, warm water, sugar and yeast. Let stand for about 5 minutes.
2. Mix in the salt, and gradually stir in the flour until you have a soft dough. Divide into 5 pieces, and form into balls. Place on baking sheets so they are 2 to 3 inches apart. Let rise for 20 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Bake the rolls for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool slightly, then split them in half horizontally to fill with your favorite burgers.
These buns had a less sweet taste than the ones I made earlier this week but were so easy they took less than an hour in total - completely do-able for a weeknight! We filled these tasty buns with pulled pork and had some deliciously easy sauteed green beans alongside. The BBQ is a pretty tasty dish that leaves you with a little left over - it was a great filling for a plain baked potato later this past week!
What's your favorite BBQ recipe and style?