The first time I had this meal was in the basement of Emma Smith Bidamon’s brick house on the rising May banks of the Mississippi River. I fell down the staircase after dinner, utterly and completely fulfilling my conversion to Mormonism, but my warmest memory is still sitting in the basement kitchen, listening to the cicadas and breaking bread (and pulled pork) with a group of friends I call family.
Bishop Brown, the same good man who drove my TARDIS moving truck from Washington State to Washington DC two summers ago (if you need an adopted father, I cannot recommend Bishop Brown highly enough) prepared dinner for his flock- and introduced me to the finer aspects of southern vinegar barbecue sauce, and the divine alchemy of brine-cured dills atop a pile fresh slaw. I cannot bite into it without tears of happiness welling at the corners of my eyes. This recipe is my July gift to you.
- 3-4 pound pork roast
- Salt and pepper
- Penzy’s Barbecue of the Americas spice rub (but really, use whatever rub you like)
- 1 cup water
Rub the roast with the spices, throw everything in a slow-cooker or crock pot in the morning, and let it cook all day on low. That’s it. It’s so simple.
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp molasses
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
Whisk all the ingredients in a bowl, and set aside in the fridge until the pork is done. Adjust seasoning to taste. I like the tang of vinegar, some like it sweeter. You can also, if you feel like it, use a store-bought sauce in a pinch, and it’s honestly almost as good.
Tracy’s Fresh Coleslaw
- 1 head green cabbage, sliced super thin.
- 3 large carrots, thinly julienned (I do this with a serrated veggie peeler)
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp minced dried onion, or 1/4 cup fresh grated (I prefer dried here- yay food storage!)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp celery seeds
Shred the cabbage and carrots and set aside in a large bowl. Whisk remaining dressing ingredients in a bowl, then toss with cabbage/carrots. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.
Go buy some good brine-cured kosher dill pickles. Most commercial brands are cured with vinegar, and they’re great too, but a refrigerated brine pickles is a whole new party. Trader Joes carries a good brine pickle. So do most nicer grocers. If you can’t find them, regular ol’ pickles will still be really good. While you’re at the store, pick up some really yummy looking soft buns- something better-looking than regular hamburger buns, but those will work in a pinch.
When the roast is done and utterly falling apart, usually perfectly around dinner time if I started it before about 10 am, turn the slow cooker off and lift the roast onto a plate. Save the liquid in the cooker. The roast will fall apart- that’s a beautiful thing. Shred it with some forks, and return to the slow cooker. I usually add some of the pot broth back to make the pork super moist, but do what you think will taste best given your roast and your broth. Pour the barbecue sauce over the shredded pork and toss it all together. Is your mouth watering? Mine is, just thinking of it.
To serve, pile the sauce soaked shredded pork on a bun, add a heaping scoop of the freshly made slaw, and top with some thin slices of your briny pickles. This is one of those particular dishes where the whole is sublimely greater than the sum of the simple parts.
I usually serve it with baked beans and follow with Ree’s Texas Sheet Cake, which is simply truly the best sheet cake ever. I won’t even try to top it. Now go watch fireflies and hang out with your friends while you all marvel at what a good cook you are!
NB: As a person with a bad gluten-allergy, I skip the bun and have everything else in a bowl like a salad. It’s just as good. Beware of hidden gluten in commercial barbecue sauces.)