Earlier this week I wrote a post on the concept of American Cuisine in relation to the French fry. Today I have another American classic to put under the paleo microscope for you… pulled pork.
Over the course of my life I have moved nine times, lived in six different states, and eaten the “world’s best barbeque” four different ways. In Eastern Maryland and Virginia its pulled pork mixed with a slightly tangy, slightly sweet tomato based sauce, in Kansas its pulled pork drenched in a super sweet, dark colored molasses based sauce, in North Carolina its pulled pork in a shockingly sour vinegar based sauce, and in Alabama… well in Alabama they live under the delusion that the best BBQ in the world comes in the form of a flat, dry, piece of plain pork on a bun paired with a mystery sauce in a squeeze bottle… I kid you not, they really think its great.
No matter where you go across this great nation of ours, it seems that you will run across a pulled pork sandwich with a superiority complex. If I had to choose, I would say that my personal preference is for a tomato based sauce, however apart from the nonsense they call BBQ down in Alabama, I can really appreciate them all. My husband on the other hand, with family roots in North Carolina, and prefers a vinegar based sauce and lucky for me the vinegar based sauce is the most paleo approved of them all. We’ve been eating a lot of chicken lately so I decided to mix things up and add in some pork, not to mention the fact that my slow cooker has been feeling very neglected lately with all of the oven-based recipes I’ve been trying.
I lucked out at the grocery store by finding a pre-packaged bottle of sauce that was, in my opinion, a close-enough-to-paleo option. The sauce was John Boy and Billy’s Eastern Carolina BBQ Sauce it came in a 16oz bottle and the ingredients list contained Apple Cider Vinegar, Salt, Granulated Sugar (not paleo), Cayenne Pepper, Black Pepper, Crushed Red Pepper, and Xanthum Gum (not paleo).
The sugar is obviously not paleo so if you are really trying to be 100% strict with your sugar intake You could certainly make your own sauce with these same ingredients, subbing in honey for the granulated sugar and taking out the xanthum gum, which isn’t really necessary. However, for my purposes when I calculated out the carb content of the whole bottle there was less than 3 TBS of sugar total so for me it was worth it to buy prepackaged rather than make my own in this case. Doing this math was the hardest part of the whole process because this recipe literally consists of putting the pork butt in the crockpot with the sauce turning it on low and letting it cook for about 8 hours. I will say, the downside to slow cooking in the vinegar sauce is that it made the whole apartment smell like vinegar which is not my favorite scent, but it tasted great!
What is your favorite type of pulled pork? Are you committed to one or have you tried them all?
1 2-4 lb pork butt or pork shoulder
16oz of vinegar based sauce
Place your pork in the slow cooker, pour your sauce overtop, cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours. When the pork is tender remove any bones, if present, and shred with two forks. Serve by itself or on a paleo bun. Enjoy.