Sunday, 16 August 2015


When I lived in Texas, I fell in love with genuine Texas BBQ, and smoking in general. To learn how to make it myself, I took a master BBQ class from Rockin' Ronnie, Canada's BBQ champ a number of years back, but did all of my smoking on borrowed smokers. In July, I picked up a cheap smoker from Canadian Tire with dreams of getting back into smoking pork butts, briskets, ribs and other delights.

My first project to test out the smoker was a pair of pork butts -- which are forgiving and always good. So I was up at 4 AM to light the thing, and it cooked all day.
In action
However, I quickly learned that a $60 smoker from Canadian Tire isn't a $300 Weber Smoky Mountain Cooker (the gold standard of home smoking). I had problems keeping the temperature up, problems with the charcoal pan size, problems with leaking smoke, etc, etc. While the finished product was OK, it wasn't the greatness I was used to. But I ended up with a LOT of leftover pulled pork, which fortunately freezes well.

Since July, I've been experimenting with various uses for the leftovers, and to be frank, the pork leftovers re-heated have always been better than they were when they were fresh. More tender. Better smoke flavour. So far I have made a pulled pork hash (awesome), pulled pork hash browns (very tasty), and pulled pork on home fries (so good, and so good for you).

Yesterday I pulled out my slow cooker and threw together an African influenced pulled pork stew. It seemed ideal for us on this cold (12°) rainy August weekend.
The ingredients
I put in:
  • Diced red, green and orange peppers;
  • Whole baby red potatoes;
  • A chopped up golden beet;
  • ½ a Walla Walla sweet onion, sliced;
  • A handfull of quartered ushrooms;
  • Carrot chunks;
  • A tablespoon of Robertson's Chakalaka spice powder (see the bottom of this post to find out about that stuff), plus some salt and pepper
...then covered it with a 14 oz can of diced tomatoes. I poured in about ½ cup of "BBQ Spray" (an equal mix of apple juice, maple syrup and Jack Daniels, which I use to spray the outside of the pork when smoking) so to add liquid. I suspect apple juice alone, water or white wine would have also worked.
Ready to rock
I cooked that on low for 5 hrs, then added 12 oz of defrosted leftover pulled pork. I stirred it all up and left it for 3 hrs more on low.
The finished product
I didn't get much chakalaka flavour, but I got a lot of smoking flavour, and it was pretty darned good, hitting the spot as we sat in front of the fire listening to the rain fall (and hoping the basement didn't leak).

Happy to hear of other suggestions for leftover pulled pork that doesn't involve sandwiches. I still have seven 12 oz bags left, so have lots of room to experiment.

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