The end of summer is always a bittersweet time for me. I love sunshine and warmth, but there's something nice about being able to snuggle up in a cozy sweater in the fall. I think one of the greatest things about summer I miss is being able to cook outside. It's hard to beat the taste of grilled food! But if you're missing barbecue specifically, you can still have that slow-cooked, smoky meat all year round. It's easy too- just leave it in the crock pot while you head to work, pick up some buns on your way home, load up your sandwich, and you're good to go! If you want to get fancy and make your own sauce, I'll give you some starters. But if you've got a go-to bottled favorite already, just pour it over the roast and it's easy as that!

crockpot bbq pork

3-4 pound pork shoulder
2 cloves garlic, minced

either your favorite bottled barbecue sauce (use about 12 ounces to start, and you can add more later once the meet has cooked) or:

1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon pepper

buns for serving

Trim the fat off of your pork shoulder, then place in a crock pot. If you are using a bottled barbecue sauce, coat the meat with the minced garlic and barbecue sauce. If you're making your own sauce, combine the garlic with the rest of the ingredients and whisk to combine, then pour over the meat. Turn on the crock pot to its lowest setting and let cook for 6-8 hours until the meat is tender and pulls apart easily. Remove the meat from the crock pot and shred using two forks. This part is optional, but it's what I do so I'll give you the option, otherwise you can just take the drippings from the crockpot and add some back to the pulled pork until the meat is coated as much as you'd like. My way, is to remove the drippings from the crock pot and place in the refrigerator overnight. This will allow the fat to separate out and leave with a rich dripping that has a lower fat content but great flavor. It may seem a little jelly-like which is gross at first thought, but I take this jelly/liquid and simmer it on the stove for about 20 minutes until it thickens, and then mix it back in with the shredded pork before serving. You can do this if you use a bottled barbecue sauce too- just remove the meat, shred it, put the barbecue sauce drippings in the fridge overnight, and then pour back over the meat. You could also just pour the remaining bottled barbecue sauce you have left as an alternative. Either way, the meat will be flavorful and tender, which is all we could ask for a barbecue, right?! Serve on buns! I like to go for the super cheap, soft buns, but feel free to class it up if you want something more substantial!

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