When does a horrible mistake turn out to be an astonishing success? Well, if I was hiking along, minding my own business, and fell down a small hole discovering an un-claimed gold mine, that would count, right? This time is different – but not that much!!! I set up my evening meal in the crock-pot this morning, before heading to work, as I often do. Upon returning home, I smelled the delightful smell of smoked meat as I approached my apartment. I thought to myself: “Huh, I wonder who ordered something smoked?” as I unlocked my door. Was I greeted with a cloud of thick, dark smoke, and my smoke alarm going off incessantly? No! Instead, I was greeted by the smell of freshly smoked meat, as though someone had smoked some pork for me, somewhere else, and brought it by 20 minutes earlier for me to enjoy!
Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you!! I didn’t believe it myself!!! Now, don’t go rushing out to try this yourself. This requires a significant amount of “tweeking” before it will be a proper recipe, easily followed by the non-lucky. You thought I was going to call myself “good” didn’t you? Worry not – I give credit where credit is due. And in this case, credit is due to Lady Luck, and no one else!
What I did:
In preparing my dinner for today, I decided that I wanted to have some of the wonderfully delicious pork roast which was sitting in the freezer waiting to be eaten. I pulled it out and dropped it on top of the Beef Short Rib bones left over from my recent Beef Short Ribs – Apple Pie Style. As a note: I rarely throw anything away. So if there is leftover anything from any of my recipes, I always find a way to use it!
So I dropped the pork on top of the ribs, planning to put some vegetables and some water and spices in as well, to cook it up like any other roast. While I was heating up the slow-cooker, I started breakfast, and completely lost track of the slow-cooker. Needless to say, I left the house without adding any of the vegetables or liquids to the mix.
How did it work out?
Well, your guess is perhaps as good as mine. I will definitely be trying to replicate this soon, and if it works, you will see a Recipe Post from me soon! Be that as it may, here is what I think happened: Since the slow cooker was on the lowest “cooking” temperature, I think that the pot heated up slowly enough not to crisp the bones. The pork juice dripped down on the bones, providing just enough moisture and oil/fat to over-cook the bones, but keeping the temperature enough under control to stop them from crisping (which would have caused the smoke alarm to go off, and all sorts of other not-so-fun things).
The Smoke flavor you expect from a smoker was provided, in large part, because the slow-cooker is a nominally contained environment, and the little bit of liquid provided by the pork was able to evaporate, carrying the very-over-cooked bones’ flavor up in to the pork.
What didn’t work: Because I didn’t plan for this, the meat was (while astonishingly delicious!!) overdone and dry. This is a problem that experienced smokers are familiar with, and have processes in place to make sure that it’s not a problem. So, I will be thinking about what vegetables and other additives (including location, and arrangement) to put in the crock pot to ensure that the meat is moist and delectable when it comes out!
I will most definitely be trying this again!
And if it works out (which I am REALLY hoping that it does!) I will be sharing it with all of you. Imagine: The “Urban Paleo Chef’s Guide to Crock-Pot Smoked Meat”! I can’t wait!!!
Feel free to post in thoughts, comments, and ideas! I am definitely interested in hearing what you all have to say, how you would recommend making sure that this works again, and what you all would try to make it happen!