Slow Cooker Recipes from Crock-Pot #1

I like to use slow cooker liners. Whenever I buy a box of them, there is invariably a little handout inside that includes a few recipes. Some of these I have tried variations on, some I have not. In any case, they are great for folks starting out with slow cookers!

Here’s one that is sure to please sammich eaters.

Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Cook time on Low: 10-14 hours
Cook time on High: 4-6 hours
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8

2-1/2 pounds pork roast
14 oz. BBQ sauce, whatever you prefer
1tsp brown sugar
1Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 medium onion, chopped
8 hamburger buns or hard rolls

1. Place pork roast into the slow-cooker.
2. Cover. Cook on Low or High, as preferred.
3. Remove the pork roast form the stoneware, and pull the meat into shreds.
4. Remove any liquid from the stoneware, retaining for later use if desired.
5. Combine the pork with remaining ingredients in the slow-cooker, Cook on High for 2 hours.
6. Serve the barbecue pork on hamburger buns or hard rolls.

I prefer to drop the diced onions into the bottom of the pot and laying the pork roast on top before cooking. This cooks the onions pretty much to death, but allows the flavor more action in the meat. It can also help tenderize the meat.

When removing the pork for shredding, reserve those onions to toss back into the final mix. I will also reserve the fluid for making tamales, soups, and even to use a couple of tablespoons here and there as a treat for my dog.

This recipe also works well with beef or venison.

— Ann Cathey

Brisket with a Side of Bach

Bach, Beethoven and BBQ are the buzzwords for Saturday, March 14, 2015, at the Crighton Theater in Conroe, Texas. Come on out for a Texas-style BBQ, classical concert, and swinging after-party. Hear world-renowned music performed by young classical artists, ages 18-30, who are finalists in the 31st Annual Young Texas Artists Music Competition.

The historic Crighton Theater was built in 1934, and has been beautifully maintained for your theater and concert enjoyment. It has been named the Crown Jewel of Montgomery County and has a wonderfully documented past available here.

Reservations are required for the BBQ (includes concert), or you may purchase concert tickets only by calling 936-441-SHOW or online at the Crighton Theater website. More information is available at 936-756-7017 or the Young Texas Artists website.

This event is presented by the Montgomery County Performing Arts Society.

BBQ Chocolate!

Bar-B-Que or BBQ is a great tradition among the southern states in the US, from Kansas down to Texas and all the way to the Virginias. Each region has it’s own way of making BBQ sauce (sweet, spicy, savory, thick, thin…) and different woods used in pit (mesquite, hickory, pecan, apple…). You get the idea. The same is true for all the many variations of beef and other meats as jerky.

The new wave of where to find BBQ and jerky flavors has gone beyond the potato chips we’ve seen for many years. These days, they are a gourmet flavoring for all kinds of treats.

At this year’s Apollocon in Houston, Texas, some brought along a couple of chocolate bars to share in the ConSuite. They were not what you would expect to see at a sci-fi/fantasy con. Or maybe you would given the eclectic mix of people and the foodie reputation Apollocon now has. These chocolates are from Wild Ophelia, and are guaranteed to be all natural with no preservatives and gluten free.

In both cases, the flavors were astoundingly correct. It was a pleasant surprise for my taste buds to say the least. The chocolate itself was of a smooth consistency, darkly rich and an excellent carrier of the BBQ and jerky flavors, respectively.

Ophelia BBQ ChocSmokehouse BBQ Potato Chip Dark Chocolate (70% cacao)
From the website:
Featured Artisan: The Billy Goat Chip Company
Varietal: Russet Burbank Potatoes gown in Idaho
Where: St. Louis, Missouri

Flavor Profile: A sweet, savory and spicy warm-the-back-of-your-throat chip entrenched in dark chocolate.

Craft: Billy Goat Chip Company hand selects, slices and seasons their potatoes to ensure the highest quality craftsmanship. Their chips are made with NO added preservatives, MSG or gluten. Their Kicker seasoning is the magical powder that flavors the chips with a zing unlike any other. A ripple cut potato slice that “holds” more seasoning is a crucial characteristic of the Kicker chip, adding increased flavor to each bite. With so many snack foods relying on salt and artificial flavorings, it’s refreshing to taste a superior chip that’s all natural.

Ophelia Jerky ChocBeef Jerky Milk Chocolate (41% cacao)
From the website:
Varietal: Piedmontese and Angus Cattle
Where: Plains of Idaho

Flavor Profile: Natural smoked fruit woods and peppered spices perfectly match our rich milk chocolate.

Craft: As far back as the late 1800s, cattle ranches have been an important part of the agricultural economy of Idaho. The cattle are treated humanely, raised in lush green pastures. They are accustomed to crisp, clean air and wide-open spaces as nature intended and have never received growth hormones. With a grass-fed, 100% vegetarian diet, the end result is a gluten-free product with no artificial ingredients. With minimal processing, it is surely the purest transition from pasture to plate.

The Wild Ophelia website also touts a New Orleans Chili Dark Chocolate Bar, Peanut Butter & Banana Milk Chocolate Bar, Salted Chowchilla Almond Milk Chocolate Bar, and a good half dozen other quixotic flavors. To help you get your hands and lips on these delectable goodies, a store locator is available.

Keep these delectable taste treats in mind when looking for something new to try or even as gifts for the holidays. They are sure to please the adventurous foodies in you life!

— Ann Cathey
Photos by Christopher

Bill Miller BBQ – Austin, Texas

Bill Miller’s BBQ in Austin looks like a nice place. The decor is Texas kitch – wood paneling, cow hides, and Texas shaped brands. Antlers, taxidermied critters, plow shares, and other bits of farm history are tastefully arrayed. Sadly, the main dining area has echoes. Conversation is difficult at best when the place is crowded. It’s difficult not to over hear conversations at other tables when there are fewer patrons.

The bathrooms are clean and tidy. The floors and tables are kept clean. That was a definite high point. I cannot abide nasty bathrooms or sticky tables.

When placing your order, you get to talk to a person over a counter while staring up at an uncomfortable angle to make sure you get it right. Our cashier had a sweet disposition and smile, but apparently no real brains or common sense. I applaud Mr. Miller for giving her a job and a chance.

We ordered, checked in at a table and took a look at what we’d paid for. This is why we try new places, right?

The sweet tea was mildly sweet, unlike the usual Southern Style sweet tea found in so many places. It was fresh and had a pleasant flavor.

I’d asked for lean brisket. I got juicy, tender, fat riddled meat smothered in a disguising sauce. The lovely smoked turkey right next to it was also swimming. The sauce itself wasn’t bad, but it was very strongly tomato flavored, thin, vinegary, sort of a Carolina style that separated solids form vinegar as it cooled on the plate. Frankly, I prefer to be able to taste my meat, and not be given a heart attack from consuming it. One of my table partners thriftily finished it for me.


To accompany the entree, a bar of sorts was set up offering pickles, onions and hot peppers. This seems typical, but the items were hard to reach as the bar was small and cramped.

The baked potatoes are more of a medium size than a large size. Today’s potato was not quite done all the way through, and we had to ask for the fixings. I don’t think they intended it that way, but our girl at the counter appeared to have been a bit sheltered in her youth. She had to be asked twice, “What comes on your spuds?” She didn’t know what a spud was.

If you like black pepper, this is your place. It’s in almost everything – the coleslaw, the meat rubs, the potato salad. The pepper rub on the turkey almost overpowers the smokey flavor, though the sauce tempers the pepper a bit.

The pinto beans were thankfully very mild. They were tender with a beefy flavor. There was no evidence of black pepper or any other kind of hot spicing. I really enjoyed them – enough to eat my own and another person’s helping.

The hash browns were just heavenly. A little soft, a little crunchy — and the white onion was in large, removable slices. The flavor combinations were quite tasty. There was no pepper apparent in my helping, nor was there a large amount of salt. These hash browns easily pair up with eggs for breakfast tacos, as a side for BBQ, or just on a plate by themselves. Since Bill Miller’s offers breakfast on weekends until noon, there’s always the pleasure of starting your day with these hash browns.

Sadly, not all the customers we encountered that day were enlightened by their dining experience. Our Chaplain, a Caucasian Hindu mind you, and who had the issue with the baked potato earlier, was verbally accosted while waiting for the rest of us to clear our checks. He was sitting on a bench outside when he heard, “Look! It’s a fucking Muslim!” coming from a 10 or 12 year old boy who was pointing directly at him. The boy’s parents didn’t have the grace to be embarrassed, much less apologize.

If this is the sort of people who patronize this location, I won’t be going back. The rude even outweighs the hash browns.

Sorry, Bill.


–Ann Cathey