Sometimes inspiration for dinner comes from a blog, but sometimes it comes from a great deal at the grocery store. After teaching Zumba(R) in the Circuit, I headed over to a local discount grocery store for a few items.
It was set to snow here, and when one is living between two houses, one of them always gets the short end of the grocery stick. See I spend some time at my fiance’s farm, and then the rest with my mother and pooch in the City. Living between two houses is a very bi-polar thing, and I tend to find that there are less fresh foods and groceries at my mom’s house when I return from an extended stay at the Farm. However, currently the farm is without heat — and I am a wuss. So back to my mom’s house I go.
So I was picking up a few things that could have been missing from the house — a half-quart of milk, a box of store-brand cheerios, can of lima beans. Just a few things I knew I could eat while on exile from the frozen-tundra that is the inside of the Farmhouse, but not too many since I hadn’t really had time to assess the fridge and pantry. After picking up a frozen pizza for the family to eat that night (the fiance was going to come by as well), I went to scan the meat department.
This grocery store has a very basic meat selection. They even have a 5 for $20 special, where families can pick up five different packs of meat ranging from hamburger meat to small packages of beef tips for a stew and chicken. Again, this is a discount grocery store – and a much needed commodity in areas where people are living on fixed incomes and do not have the luxury of pricy meats.
I always check — no matter what grocery store I am in, the discount section. And yes folks, there is one for meat too. Now if you shop this section, be ready to either immediately freeze or cook whatever you buy. There’s no waiting on those products. They are STILL GOOD and SAFE for consumption, but the expiration/use by date is usually extremely close.
So in that lovely section I found a small pork roast for $2.50. TWO -FIFTY! Sold!
But then I got home and wondered — what in the world do I do with this. Being the Southern Woman I am, BBQ immediately came to mind.
At first I was just going to dump the pork and some BBQ sauce in a slow cooker and call it a day, but then I began to think harder. So here is my super simple method.
- Piece of Pork — whatever size you like, whatever type you like
- 2 Onions
- 1 Can of Beer (whatever you have — really)
- 1 package of dry onion soup mix
- Seasoning of your choice
- BBQ Sauce of Your Choosing (we had a bottle of Budweiser Smoky BBQ Sauce in the cabinet that was close to expiring, so that’s what I used. If you make your own, great — if you want to use a bottle, works too. Add as much or as little as you like, to you and your families taste)
- Peel onions, then cut them into rough quarters. This does not have to be fancy, as you will be cooking them down. Place them in the bottom of your crock pot as a bed for the pork.
- Season the pork with whatever you like. I used black pepper, garlic powder, and Creole Seasoning. Pick your own favorites.
- Place the pork on top of the onion bed, and then season the other side.
- Pour one can of beer around the pork.
- Mix in the dry onion soup mix with the beer.
- Cover the crock pot and cook. I cooked the pork/onions/beer mixture on HIGH for 1 hour, then on low for until done. That’s just me — I want it falling apart (and this crock pot isn’t as hot as my one at the farm).
- Check part-way through cooking and pull any bones out of your roast (once your meat hits the point of falling apart)– if it was not boneless. You can also shred up the meat at this time.
- Once I was able to shred up the meat, and remove the bones, I took all of the pork and onions out of the pot and strained the juices out. I poured out the juices and returned the pork to the pot.
- I then added the bottle of BBQ sauce. For my fiance, the Budweiser sauce was a little too tart — so we added in about four tablespoons of brown sugar to mellow it out. Feel free to doctor up bottled sauce to you and your families liking.
- Cook pork and sauce for about another hour on LOW until the flavors meld together. Serve on toasted buns, or however you like.
NOTE: I didn’t time this exactly. I’ll be honest. I left it on overnight, and then probably longer than one hour in the sauce. That’s the awesome thing about crock pots. You don’t HAVE to be percise. As long as you get that meat to its proper doneness and temperature – after that you golden. So once the meat is properly cooked, your continued cooking time is up to you. I love that part of the flexibility of a crock pot over an oven. I don’t burn it if I leave it a bit longer that necessary, I just want it cooked and tasty.
I don’t have any photos, because I honestly forgot to take some during the process. However — I wanted to share this more for my friends who are afraid of cooking or experimenting. I took a super cheap cut of meat, and turned it into a super simple meal. I didn’t use a recipe, I just guessed — and if it hadn’t have turned out tasty I only wasted about $3 (meat + onions, everything else I had in the house). So experiment try new things, try twists on old things!
What have you experimented with that has worked out well? Or been a total fail?