Easy Crock Pot Recipe: Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork with a Balsamic Glaze

There's nothing quite like Southern pulled pork in the summertime. But, who has the time to cook one? Very few of us can sit in front of a grill or smoker for hours, much less the expertise to get it tight. But if you have a crock pot, you can make a great pulled pork with no expertise and minimal attention. With a crock pot, you can slow cook dinner while at work or running errands giving you rich, filling meals with little to no thought.

This recipe is a backyard BBQ hack; simple pulled pork with an unbeatable flavor. The balsamic glaze gives the pork an added sweetness and kick which rounds out the full flavor of the entree. All you need is ten minutes before work and a little attention before serving. This is as easy as it gets!

Pulled Pork Tenderloin Ingredients:

  • 2 lb Pork Tenderloin
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

Directions:

1. Rub the pork tenderloin with the dried sage, salt, pepper, and garlic until it is uniformly covered.

2. Pour the water and cider vinegar into your crock pot and set the pork tenderloin in the liquid. Set your pot to low and cook for 8 hours. During the last hour of cooking, regularly baste the tenderloin with the balsamic glaze (2-4 times).

3. Remove the glazed tenderloin from the crockpot and let it rest on a cutting board or serving platter for 10 minutes before serving. Pull apart the tenderloin with a fork and drizzle the remaining glaze over the meat. Serve immediately.


Balsamic Glaze Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Water

Directions:

1. Mix the all the ingredients together in a saucepan over medium heat.

2. Stir until mixture thickens, about 3-5 minutes.

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Kickin' Crock Pot Barbacoa Tacos

Barbacoa has a rich and celebrated history. Authentic barbacoa recipes go back over a thousand years, when the beef was roasted in pits, covered with agave leaves over mesquite embers. You probably aren't able to pit-roast your beef, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy deliciously roasted barbacoa.

Most barbacoa you find in restaurants today is rump roast. It is fine, but can't hold a candle to the traditional cut: beef cheek. Beef cheek is fattier and more tender than rump roasts, which means that it's melt-in-your-mouth delicious. It also isn't very hard to find. I found it without any trouble at my local Wal-Mart. If you can't find it there, your local butcher would have no trouble sourcing it for you.

These tacos are so flavorful that you really don't need to add much to it. Sprinkle some queso fresco, cilantro, a squirt of lime, pop open a cold beer and you're good to go. The best part of this recipe is that the meat is better the next day for leftovers. Mixing the barbacoa into some scrambled eggs for breakfast tacos is a great way to get your day started.

Slow Cooked Barbacoa


Ingredients:

  • 1/8 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon. Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered Cloves
  • 1/3 cup Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 Bay Leaf
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon Lime Juice
  • 1 Chipotle Pepper in Adobo Sauce (you can find these canned)
  • 1 Pound Beef Cheek


Directions:

1. Pan sear the beef cheek in oil until it is brown on all sides. It should only take 2-3 minutes on each side.

2. While the beef cheek is searing, throw all the remaining ingredients except the bay leaf into a blender. Blend until smooth.

3. Place the seared beef into your crock pot, pour the adobo sauce over the meat, and set the bat leaf on top of the meat. Cook on low for 8 hours.

4. Let the finished beef rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes, then shred with a fork.


Barbacoa Tacos

Ingredients:

  • Cilantro, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • Lime wedges
  • Queso Fresco, crumbled
  • Avocado, sliced
  • Flour or corn tortillas
  • JalepeƱos, sliced or diced
  • Purple Onion, diced
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The Southside: A Refined Country Sipper

Horse racing season is upon us.and it is only proper for Southerners to enjoy a drink as refined as the sport. Mint Juleps are great for the Kentucky Derby, but sometimes it's good to break tradition. Heck, it's easy to leave tradition behind when it comes to the Southside. Rum, lemon and mint combine for a bright, refreshing drink perfect for any spring day, whether at the races or on your back porch.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. white rum
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. simple syrup
  • 2 sprigs of mint
Directions:
1. Mix the rum, lemon juice, the leaves of one of the sprigs of mint, and simple syrup with ice in a shaker. Shake for 15 seconds.2. Strain into a chilled glass and garnish with the remaining sprig of mint.
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[Recipe] Delicious Simple Mug Brownie

I believe that everything tastes better out of a mug--milk and cookies, tea--everything. I also love brownies, but fixing a whole pan for myself is overkill and creates a lot of clean-up. Wouldn't it be great if I could have just one large brownie in a mug? Of course it would! I could eat my brownie with ice cream while reading or watching Netflix.

And then it hit me: most baking dishes are ceramic, as are most coffee mugs. I could mix and bake a brownie in a single mug. So I tested it: a single serve, easy cleanup, personal brownie. It is easy in every way and delicious. You can even customize the mug brownie with mix-ins like fruit, berries, chopped candy, or peanut butter.

This brownie makes baking easy and is best served with a scoop of ice cream on top.


Ingredients:

1 large ceramic mug or large ramekin. MAKE SURE IT IS OVEN AND MICROWAVE SAFE!

1 tablespoon Butter

2 tablespoons Brown sugar

50g Dark Chocolate-- For comparison, a hershey bar is 43 grams of chocolate.

1 tablespoon flour

1 egg

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Optional: 2 tablespoons of you favorite mix-ins (peanut butter, mint, bananas, berries/jam, candy, etc.)


Directions:

1. Melt the chocolate, butter and brown sugar in a microwave friendly mug or bowl for 30-40 seconds or until the chocolate is melted.

2. Stir the melted chocolate mix until it is thoroughly mixed. If the chocolate mix is hot, stir until it is cooled but still warm.

3. Pre-heat the oven to 390 degrees.

4. Add the egg and immediately whisk into the chocolate mix. Then add cocoa and flour and mix until smooth. Of you have mix-ins stir them in as well.

5. Wipe the rim of your mug with a wet paper towel. The smeared brownie mix along the sides of your mug will burn before the brownie cooks.

6. Bake the brownie for 13-15 minutes in your ceramic mug or ramekin. Make sure to place your mug or ramekin on a baking sheet in the oven! You can also bake the brownie in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, but it will taste much better if you bake it in the oven.

7. Enjoy! Let the mug cool--it will be very hot from the oven. Try your brownie with powdered sugar, melted chocolate, fresh fruit or a scoop of ice cream.

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Everything You Need to Know When Buying a New Grill

Part of my annual spring cleaning ritual is to debate with myself over whether or not I need a new grill. Truth be told, it isn't much of a debate: I do need a new grill if I hope to cook good food. But as soon as I get to the hardware store I am overwhelmed with the options of grills to choose from. Every option looks the same and I have no clue how many BTU's I need to cook a burger. Should I switch to gas, stick with charcoal, or invest in an expensive kamado grill? What's the deal with those egg-shaped grills anyway?

I generally end up leaving frustrated, resolved to make my little grill work for another summer.

This year, that cycle ends, and hopefully, not just for me. I want you to be able to know exactly what you are looking for in a grill. Furthermore, I want you to be able to buy one knowing it is absolutely the right piece of equipment for your cooking and budget.

To do that, let's look at the three major groups of grills: charcoal, gas, and kamado.


1. Charcoal

This tried and true "purist" style of grilling, smoking, and slow cooking. It requires more attention and practice that it's gas counterparts, but the flavor is amazing. Oaky char is far superior to anything butane can produce. Charcoal grills are blank canvases, allowing you the freedom to gill over a variety of woods and charcoal, create a variety of heat zones of perfectly cooked meats. The problem with charcoal is that it is messy, is more difficult to maintain consistent heat, and requires clean a lot of clean up.

Despite the drawbacks, charcoal grills are simple machines that will not break the bank. The good folks over at America's Test Kitchen rigorously tested seven grills under $400-- their favorite only cost $150.

In short, charcoal is messy and requires practice but offers the cheaper and more flavorful grilling option.


2. Gas

Gas grills are a luxury step up from their charcoal cousins. The cooking is clean, requires minimal cleanup, and allows simple and precise temperature control. That allows you to slow cook meats with confidence and gives you the freedom to leave the grill, confident of your end result. The problem is that the grills are not engineered well, often releasing a lot of heat and not distributing heat evenly over the grill surface. That means that your grill will always have cold spots that never cook well and that you will pay more to cook less.

That being said, there are some excellent options for under $500. The American Test Kitchen tested gas grills like they did charcoal and also gives you some practical things to look for while gas grill shopping. Spoiler: BTU's are not the most important thing to look for.

Gas is the no-fuss option that gives everyone the confidence to cook excellent food.


3. Kamado (Ceramic) Grills

Kamado is a Japanese-style ceramic grill that can create an extreme amount of heat and is quickly becoming the favorite of backyard grillers. They have been shown to cook at a high level and allow users to dial in specific, even heat to cook everything from fish to whole turkeys. There are some significant downsides with kamado, though. They require specific, and expensive lump coal, which in turn requires more clean up. They can get really hot, but once they do you have little hope of cooling the off anytime soon. They do not allow you to creating heating zones, working more like ovens than open grills. To cap it all off, they start around $600 while the more recognizable brands with leave your wallet $1500-$4000 dollars lighter.

You have to be very committed and disciplined to go for a Kamado, but those who do swear by them. Also, these grills can last a lifetime. This could easily be the last grill you ever buy and gives you the ability to become an expert griller.

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Bourbon Whipped Cream is the MVP of Desert Toppings

Whipped cream is great on just about every desert: pie, ice cream, brownies, banana pudding, waffles--you name it. Sure, you could buy some in a can or tub, but if you want the real, fluffy, creamy, good stuff you have to whip it up at home.

It's so easy, it almost feels like cheating. Almost. You really don't "make" anything in the conventional sense of the word. There's only one step: mix. After that you get to enjoy a premium topping on every desert you can think of.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tablespoon your favorite Bourbon


Directions:


1. Mix Ingredients: Put all the ingredients into a mason jar. Seal the jar and shake until the cream is solid and fluffy. You can also do this in an electric mixer. To ensure the mixture doesn't spray all over your kitchen, start at low speeds and increase as the mixture solidifies.

Yes, it is that easy. You'll also be shocked at how much it impresses people when you told them you made whipped cream at home. Just don't tell them how easy it was.

Giphy

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The Brown Derby: A Perfect Spring Cocktail

As weather warms across the south, I want to spend my free time outside with something cold, sweet and refreshing. Most people would point to clear alcohols. Not me. I'm of the Ron Swanson school. But that doesn't mean your drink has to be stuffy or stiff.

The Brown Derby is a bourbon based cocktail perfectly suited for sipping out of a Mason jar on a cool evening or Sunday brunch. Grapefruit is a perfect compliment to the smooth heat of bourbon

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup Bourbon
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Squeezed Grapefruit Juice
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon honey
  • Grapefruit wedges and peel for garnish
  • Ice
  • 2 mason jars
Directions:

1. Mix: Pour grapefruit juice and honey into a cocktail shaker. Stir until honey is liquified. Add bourbon and ice.

2. Shake: Seal the cocktail shaker and shake for at least 15 seconds.

3. Pour: Add ice to two mason jars. Put chunks of grapefruit on top of the ice. Strain the cocktail into the two glasses and garnish with twists of grapefruit peel.

Perfect Mashed Potatoes Recipe

There is a war on between the folks who like lumpy mashed potatoes and those who like them smooth. The people who leave the skins on are still trying to figure out which way is up. So how is it that I can claim to have the perfect mashed potatoes? Because the recipe is right and leaves room for you to make them how you like them.

To me, texture is secondary to flavor; I like potatoes always and in all ways. But there is a profound difference between good mashed potatoes and dry bland potato mash. This is the former and well suited for a potluck, back porch cookout, or holiday feast.

Drew's Perfect Mashed Potatoes Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 3 Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
  • salt
  • Your favorite fixin's

Directions:

1. Cook the Potatoes: Fill a large pot halfway with water, add a dash of salt, and bring to a simmer. While the water is heating, peel the potatoes (or leave the skins on if that's how you roll) and dice them into large cubes. Add potatoes to the simmering water and cook until tender, around 20-25 minutes.

2. Mash 'Em Up: Mash potatoes with a masher. This is a great arm workout. If you like them smooth, really get after them until all of the large lumps are gone.

3. Add the Milk Mixture: In a separate, small saucepan mix oil, milk, and butter. Bring the mixture to a boil then pour over the mashed potatoes. Stir vigorously with a large spoon or spatula until you reach your desired texture.

4. Fix 'Em Up: Add your favorite fixin's. You can stir them into the potatoes or put them on top of the plated potatoes. Get creativeI Add cheese, veggies or proteins. Personally, I love chopped bacon and green onions splashed with white wine vinegar. But these are your potatoes. Make them your way.

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