One of the best things about South Carolina (next to living close to the beach and ocean) is the barbeque. I'm not talking about burgers and hot dogs on the grill. No sir. I'm talking slow cooked, wood smoked hunks of pig. Smoky juicy tender shreds of pork and slabs of falling-off-the-bones ribs. Mmmmm, oh yeah.
There's lots of places to get barbeque around here. I haven't been to all of them, or all that many of them. But the ones I have been to have all been good. I'd hazard a guess that you would be hard pressed to find a bad barbeque place around here.
But what's a guy to do when there's no barbeque place around? Well, you could do it yourself, but that takes a lot of time and babysitting. Definitely the way to go though if you've got a few hours to kill and are trying to avoid yardwork. But not everyone has that much spare time.
That's where the slow cooker comes in.
I love my slow cooker. It is without a doubt my favourite kitchen appliance. My wife isn't too wild about slow cooker food (she says all the flavours get melded together), so I don't get to use it quite as much as I want to.
Slow cookers are the perfect appliance for busy people. Throw everything in before you leave for work, and when you come back dinner's ready! And that makes it perfect for barbequing. Not real barbequing of course. That would require smoke, and slow cookers aren't that good at smoking. But you can fake it pretty good with one.
After brining your hunk of pork, throw it on a hot pan and sear the outside. Put the seared meat in the slow cooker, and toss some sliced onions and chopped garlic into the pan. Brown and add a half cup of your favourite barbeque sauce. Simmer for a few minutes, then pour over the pork. Pour in a couple of 18 oz bottles of your barbeque sauce, turn the slow cooker on to Low, and head off to work.
When you come back home 8 hours later (or however long your work day lasts), you've got a hunk of cooked pork in your slow cooker that's so tender you'll have a hard time lifting it out in one piece. Careful not to burn your tongue eating while you shred.
It's not real barbeque, but it sure tastes damn good.