It's October, and with the fall comes my now-annual ritual of preparing the property for winter by splitting and stacking wood. The crisp air and scenic backdrop help me keep working outside for hours at a time. The cool weather has given us the opportunity to get outside again on the weekends and continue thinning the land to expand pasture for our future cheese dairy.
We knew it would be a challenge when we bought this farm, but it's been coming along wonderfully, and the exercise is great. Given all that time away from the kitchen, I tend to dip into my cache of amazing meals that can prepared in our slow cooker. It's almost impossible to do anything wrong when cooking in a crock pot!
This recipe is one of my favorites, and as an added incentive it involves BEER! We always vary up the spices in order to keep the dish a bit creative, but this past weekend we kept it simple because my parents were coming down to visit to help out a bit on the farm and celebrate Octoberfest.
Even though we didn't use a lot of crazy spices, (Jon and I always use an enormous amount of spice in our dishes) this dish certainly does not lack in flavor. I improvised this recipe based off of a beer bread that I made last year.
The author of that recipe used NewCastle beer, and I was really impressed with the depth of taste the beer leant to the bread. I decided to carry it over into this recipe. I highly recommend you only use NewCastle, otherwise it could throw off the taste of the entire recipe. This time of year is also exciting, as I get to pick the last of my fall vegetables, many of which found their way into this recipe.
There isn't a single root vegetable that I don't love, and our onions, potatoes and carrots complimented this dish perfectly. You can see the amazing multi-colored carrots I grew this year in the picture below. This was the first time I ever planted this kind of carrot, the colors were brilliant and they tasted so sweet. I can't wait to start growing them again next Spring!
You can use almost any cut of pork for this recipe, but I decided to use an inexpensive pork butt, since it's easy on the wallet. While we are fortunate enough to live down the road from (and occasionally buy our cuts of meat from) a local grass-fed pig farm, one of the advantages of cooking in the slow cooker is that even less expensive cuts of meat come out delicious. After several hours the meat literally fall off the bone and become very tender, so long as you keep enough moisture in the crock pot.
Don't be afraid to improvise the ingredients, it's fun to be experimental and this recipe should be made to suit your taste. I prepared my pulled pork with some rice, but you could use beans too. The glaze from the beer will accompany almost any side deliciously and the leftovers make great sandwiches the day after. Why not bake a fresh loaf of bread to go along with it all these tasty leftovers?
Recipe: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork With Beer
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 2 tsp. coriander
- 2 tsp. paprika
- 2 tsp. oregano
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. cayenne
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 T brown sugar
- 1 pork butt 3 - 4 pounds
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 2 large potatoes
- 1 cup baby carrots
- 1 head garlic
- 1 bottle Newcastle Beer
- 1/4 cup apple cider
- 2 T brown sugar
- 2 tsp. corn starch
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all the ingredients for the rub in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Dry the pork butt with a towel and coat with olive oil. Apply the rub to the entire pork butt so that it is completely coated. Refrigerate overnight (not entirely necessary but it will help give the meat more flavor).
- Cut the onions, potatoes, carrots and garlic to your preference and place them in the bottom of the crock pot. Pour the beer and apple cider over vegetables.
- Place the pork butt inside the slow cooker and cook on low setting for 8 hours, flipping the pork half-way through (again, this isn't completely necessary, but it adds a nice caramelization to both sides of the cut). After eight hours the meat should fals off the bone and the liquids should be thickening.
- To make the glaze, drain the liquids into a sauce pan, add the corn starch and brown sugar, and cook over medium heat until it begins bubbling and a thick gravy forms.
- Serve hot or cold with rice, beans or your preference of side.
- Waste nothing, enjoy the leftovers in a nice tasty sandwich.
Number of servings (yield): 6