This crockpot barbecue recipe comes straight from my sister, Jennifer, whom you might recall from stories such as this one and this one. She has agreed to teach me the Way of the Crockpot in return for showing her how to make a decent biscuit. Done and done. Take it away, Sista-Friend!

By Jennifer Rather.

Our favorite barbecue joint has a great deal for a normal family: a pound of barbecue, a few buns and a couple of sides for around $10.

Too bad I don’t have a normal family.

My family is large. Two adults and four kids (12, 7, 2 and 11 months). The youngest isn’t gnawing pulled pork quite yet, but the oldest is a 12-year-old boy, fully capable of putting down a pound of barbecue by himself.

It didn’t take me long to realize that, unless we wanted to take out a loan for barbecue, something had to change.

It was time to break out the crockpot.

For less than $6, I could buy a 3-pound pork shoulder and make enough barbecue for everyone with teeth to eat dinner – and have leftovers!

According to my husband and the boys, the first batch (one I made with a packaged spice mix) tasted “just like school cafeteria barbecue.”

Not exactly what I was going for.

After some experimenting, I came up with a Crockpot Barbecue recipe that everyone loves. The sauce is ketchup-based (very kid-friendly), and I shred the cooked meat in all of the liquid inside the crockpot, so it stays nice and juicy. We use our barbecue for sandwiches, but you could serve it as a main dish with sides or pile it on top of some corn cakes with a little coleslaw and sliced tomato.

Just make sure you invite our 12-year-old.

He’s hungry.

Crockpot Barbecue

Courtesy of Jennifer Rather (EzraPoundCake.com)

  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced
  • Pork shoulder (approximately 2 to 3 pounds, preferably boneless)
  • 1/2 cup beef broth, water, or your favorite barbecue sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
    Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dale’s Seasoning OR liquid smoke (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  1. Place onion in slow cooker, and set pork shoulder on top of the onions.
  2. In a small microwave-safe bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the sauce. Microwave the sauce for 45 seconds, then pour over the pork shoulder.
  3. In a separate bowl or measuring cup, combine the beef broth and remaining 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Pour around (not ON) shoulder.
  4. Cover with lid and cook on low for 8 hours. (After 6 hours, you can start basting the meat with the liquid in the pot every 30 minutes.)
  5. Using two forks, shred the meat inside the crockpot, removing the bones. Leave the lid off, but set the slow cooker to its low or warm setting to let the liquid reduce. Serve immediately on hamburger buns or cornbread cakes.

Cornbread Griddle Cakes

Adapted from “Southern Living 1,001 Ways to Cook Southern”

Makes 15 (2-inch) cakes

  • 1 cup self-rising cornmeal (NOT cornbread mix)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  1. In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients until just moistened.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat (or set an electric skillet to 350 degrees F), and pour 2 tablespoons batter for each cake. Cook cakes 2 to 3 minutes or until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look dry. Turn and cook other side (about 2 minutes). Serve immediately.

Note: To reheat the cornbread, bake at 300 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes.