Barbecue purists may insist that “real” barbecue demands a fire and smoke, and a significant amount of time. So maybe your slow cooker can’t replace that, but you can still cook up some tasty barbecue. Keep in mind that the benefit of a slow cooker is that you can, and should, still take plenty of time to allow the meat to cook. You want the meat to be fork tender.
Cooking barbecue in your slow cooker can be as simple as adding the meat of choice and some barbecue sauce and cooking all day long while you’re at work or school. But you can also use some of the suggested recipes below to get some great tasting barbecue.
It’s best to start with medium sized chunks of meat. Not only will this reduce your cooking time, it will make the meet easier to shred.
Give these slow cooker barbecue recipes a try.
Pulled Pork Barbecue
What you’ll need:
- 4 lb. pork roast
- 2 onions, sliced, divided
- 1 onion, chopped
- 5 or 6 whole cloves
- 2 cups water
- 16 oz. bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce
- Salt and pepper
Place one sliced onion on the bottom of your slow cooker. Stud the pork roast with cloves and season with salt and pepper. Place the roast in the slow cooker on top of the sliced onion. Cover with the second sliced onion. Add enough water to fill the slow cooker two thirds of the way. Cover and cook on low 8 to 12 hours. Remove from slow cooker. Discard cloves, bone, fat and any water, grease or onions remaining in the slow cooker. When the pork is cool enough to handle, use a fork to pull it apart until all is shredded. Return the meat to the slow cooker. Mix in the chopped onion and barbecue sauce. Cover and heat on high for 1-3 hours or until the onions are soft.
What you’ll need:
- 1 beef sirloin tip roast (about 3 lbs.), cut into large chunks
- 3 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 medium green pepper, chopped
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp. chili powder
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. molasses
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. ground mustard
Place beef in slow cooker. Add the celery, onion and green pepper. In a bowl, combine the ketchup, tomato paste, brown sugar, vinegar, chili powder, lemon juice, molasses, salt, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Pour over beef and vegetables. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or until meat is tender. Skim fat from cooking juices as necessary. Use a slotted spoon to serve.
Pulled Barbecue Chicken
What you’ll need:
- 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup barbecue sauce (your choice of flavor)
- 1/3 cup Italian dressing
- 2 tbsp. packed brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp. cornstarch
- 2 tbsp. chicken broth
- Additional barbecue sauce, if desired when serving
Place chicken in slow cooker. In a medium bowl, whisk together the barbecue sauce, Italian dressing, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Cover and cook on low for 4 ½ to 5 hours. Remove the chicken to a cutting board. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and chicken broth. Stir into the sauce in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high until sauce is thickened and heated through. While this is cooking, use a fork to shred the chicken. Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker and stir. Add additional sauce if needed. Cover and cook on low for an additional 45 minutes.
Each of these great recipes can be served on the sandwich roles of your choice. Add slaw or pickles as desired.
Lauren Hill is a contributing author for Hamilton Beach, a kitchen appliance company offering a wide selection of slow cookers, toaster ovens and recipes to compliment each.