Is anyone else out there feeling the pinch?
With back to school obligations happening all at once like back to school clothes shopping, school supply lists and the like, families understandably are stressed to the max. If they are blessed to have multiple children, the stress is magnified.
And it doesn’t end with the beginning of school; just as classes are running full-time and we’re able to almost catch our collective breath, the notices begin coming in at a rapid rate: requests for picture money, athletic deposits, bus fees -- and don’t get me started on the fundraisers.
The kicker is, no sooner are we caught up from the back-to-school frenzy, and we have to start thinking about Christmas and holiday shopping.
I don’t know about a lot of families out there, but for us all this extra money comes from one place: The grocery budget.
Like a lot of moms out there, I am always looking to stretch a buck. One way I do this is with crock pot meals.
With just a few ingredients, I can oftentimes feed the whole clan on just a few dollars. With this thought in mind, I noticed my friend from college, Lauren, posted a recipe up on Facebook that she claimed was her favorite.
Over the years Lauren has provided me with plenty of great tried and true dinner ideas, and I trust her judgment.
But this one in particular intrigued me. The recipe is for pulled pork, which would catch my eye on any old day (let’s be honest, pulled pork rocks!). But this particular recipe calls for it to be cooked in a crock pot in root beer.
Now, I understand that root beer is derived from sassafrass root, which lends it some credibility as a natural ingredient, but it is carbonated and full of sugar. Lauren has never steered me wrong, but how can this taste? If for no other reason but for my skepticism and utter fascination, I had to try it.
As I stood in line at the grocery store with my three items, I thought, "This one's a secret -- there is no way this is going to make it into the What’s For Dinner column this week."
Boy was I wrong. I cooked the pork, as directed, for about 5 hours on high, then turned the dial to low for an hour.
The sweet scent of, dare I say brown sugar (?), filled my kitchen as the pork was bubbling away. Still unconvinced and with one trepidatious eyebrow raised, I removed the pork to a platter and began shredding the meat, which was so tender it was already beginning to come apart on it’s own.
I proceeded to add the entire bottle of sauce and mixed it up before serving heaping portions onto sliced bulkie rolls.
To my pleasant surprise, the meat tasted tender and clean, with no residual flavor of the tonic whatsoever. The barbeque sauce added the only hint of sweetness, and although the cut of pork was not the best I’ve ever picked up, it was not greasy at all, a problem I have had using other pulled pork recipes.
I am happy to say the family thoroughly enjoyed and even went back for seconds (and thirds!). This truly is the best pulled pork recipe that I have tried, and for that matter -- I cannot keep it to myself. So here is Lauren’s recipe for Root Beer Pulled Pork. Enjoy!
Root Beer Pulled Pork
7 ½ pound pork butt
1 bottle of Sweet Baby Rays or your favorite barbeque sauce
2 liter bottle of root beer
*Place pork fat side up in crock pot. Pour in root beer until covered. Set cooker to high for 5 hours, then to low for 1 hour. Strain all liquid and set cooked pork on platter for 10 minutes to rest. Shred pork using two forks and combine with barbeque sauce. Heap onto rolls for a delicious pulled pork sandwich.