Skip to content

USA style slow cooked BBQ Pork & beans.

January 5, 2011

My first trip to America gave me a bad impression of the food over there. I was on Archaeology field-school and spent the month I was in the country eating crappy motel food at the Ramada Inn, Mitchell, SD. A place where fruit does not exist, everything is deep fried (even the burger buns) and the only available vegetables are processed, pickled or incredibly thinly sliced in incredibly small portions. I had stomach pains nearly the entire trip. A constant diet of overcooked sliced beef in deep-fried processed buns or over cooked bison burgers in even more deep-fried processed buns is not good for the soul. However, upon having a meal cooked for us by some locals I was introduced to BBQ beans, and upon meeting the head of the local collage (Agustana) I was introduced to the wonder that is the Pulled Pork Sandwich, a truly amazing food.

On my second trip to America, also for a dig, myself and a Romanian friend did most of the cooking, so although I realized that Americans do in fact have a great variety of vegetables and food types at their disposal, very little of the food I ate could really be considered ‘American’. The American food I did have was almost all great and almost all BBQ’ed. Pulled Pork in Memphis Airport, Pulled Pork some where in Austin, Mexican in the little town of Florence, and then occasional little Peach Puddings and snacks from the Lindsey family.

What I am getting at is that I left with a serious appreciation for American BBQ, however, I don’t own a BBQ pit, I don’t own a smoker and most BBQ sauce available in the UK is pretty tepid stuff, so real American BBQ is pretty much off limits while I’m at home. I have made Pulled Pork a few times, but it is very time consuming and a little costly (I make the BBQ sauce from scratch to get it good enough), so thats really a meal for special occasions and parties.

This recipe is easier then Pulled Pork, takes very little preparation, tastes great and can just be left by itself to cook till whenever you fancy it in the day. It’s made with some “Big John’s Ol’ West” BBQ sauce a friend mailed me for Christmas and tastes especially good with crusty bread, rice, roast potatoes or homemade Corn Bread (surprisingly simple, and quick to make!) and maybe some sweetcorn on the side.

Ingredients: Feeds 5 – 6

  • About 1 kg Smoked Gammon  (Or other cuts of Pork, Burnt ends, Smoked Beef, any meat as long as its smoky and salty)
  • 2 Tins Beans (I used Pinto and Kidney beans) drained
  • 2 Tins Chopped Tomatoes
  • 2 Medium onions
  • 1 Stick Celery
  • 1 Bell Pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup BBQ sauce
  • A tablespoon or two of mustard
  • roughly the same amount of Brown Sugar as mustard
  • A few glugs of Malt Vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon Henderson’s Relish (Worcester sauce)
  1. Deeply score the meat all over and rub with pepper, then cook on a medium heat till done through and going crispy on the outside (We are basically going for a Burnt ends BBQ’ed effect), leave to cool, but DO NOT throw away any of the cooking juices, unless you are a fool.
  2. Slice the Garlic and Celery very finely, chop the Onion and Bell Pepper roughly.
  3. Mix the BBQ sauce with the Mustard, Brown Sugar, Malt Vinegar, Worcester Sauce and Meat Juices.
  4. Chop the meat into good sized chunks, then throw everything into a slow cooker (or the oven on its lowest setting) and stir.
  5. Cook for 2 – 8 hours, the longer the better!


  1. Sorry about your “Mid West” food experience here in the states.
    I will mark this recipe for a try,but as.Ive made pork twice this week,it will not be for awhile yet….pork slow cooks so well!

    I found a recipe online this week for Pulled Pork, in the slow-cooker, with a bottle of Stewarts Root Beer! No BBQ sauce untill the end. I tasted it before the final hour of finish with BBQ sauce, and it was remarkably clean and tender. But then I added a Honey-Mango BBQ, and it was too sweet overall- it would have worked better with a rich, hearty, dark Texas Mesquite BBQ sauce, but still I ate it. The second day, it was good over Pork Fried rice.

    I was out to South Dakota to see the badlands in the late 1980’s- was that the site of your digs? Lots of dinasour bones out there- and I noticed every stop we made- Beef, Beef, Beefalo, Buffalo, Bison! My (then) boyfriends father, from the area, had the GOUT already, and was working towards a good heart attack. But really, AMerica has a great, huge variety of food styles. I am partial to California cuisines, where I have lived and continue to return for long visits. Fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs…ahhh, clean and delicious!

    -Silky @

    • I’m afraid, coming from this side of the water, I cannot stand Root Beer, I’ve never met anyone outside of America who likes it. It tastes just like the mouthwash dentists use over here and brings back memories involving drills, picks and my teeth, eurgh.

      We were digging at this place:

      It’s east of the Mississippi, so very very flat and nearly completely agricultural, lots of corn growing and Indian sites on tributaries of the Mississippi.
      But we did a weekend trip out to the West of the river, going through the Badlands and stopping in the Black Hills for a few days in a town called Hot Springs, it had a big Vietnam Vet community, and a the Mammoth Site which used to be a sinkhole 24,000 years ago and is now a museum with really well preserved Mammoths, Short Faced Bears, Wolves and all sorts of weird Pleistocene mammals!

      We also passed through Toadstool Geologic Park in Nebraska, really wish I could have spent a few weeks looking around there! Just fantastic and full of fossils everywhere. We were on our way to visit the Hudson-Meng Bison Kill site, which is where about 600 Bison were slaughtered in a box canyon by Paleo-Indian people (about 11,000 years ago).

      The grasslands, ghost towns with rotting dead cars and hundreds of miles of huge empty nothing except for the occasional pronghorn running into the distance made a pretty big impression on me. But seriously, in Hot Springs I went to a restaurant, got excited when I saw they had sweetcorn (the first time I saw any in a state that produces obscene amounts of the stuff) so I heaped a load on my plate, sat down quite happy, took my first mouthfull and then left the rest… it was pickled grr.

      • Oh, they DO pickle a lot of things there in South Dakota. The guy I was involved with was big into Pickled Herring (and of course, beef jerky- something European settlers picked up from the Indians, no doubt). I learned to like pickled Herring, and even now, when a jar of pickles is done, will toss in a can of sardines and pickle them in the fridge for a few days!

        That area of the country was mainly settled by Scandanavians I think, Norwegians. That is why North Dakota (as in the movie Fargo) and Minnesota natives speak with a peculiar accent.

        I loved the Black Hills when I was there…you could “pan for gold” in the streams around there…for a FEE of course. I remember hearing sometimes the Indians would rush the buffalo over a cliff to get a big kill. Hadn’t realized it was an archeological wonder…just a big grave.

        There was a Nova-PBS special on TV a few years back that utilized this huge International blood-DNA study. It traced Arizona Indians back 40,000 years to a common ancestor currently living in Afghanistan! They showed the Indians photos of their middle eastern “cousins” family- and they actually resembled each other! It was a lineage traced through Russia and across the land-ice bridge that existed thousands of years ago into the northern most areas of North America, then traced their descent into the Americas, using skull fossils and tools.

        Too bad about the Root Beer thing…I love it, on certain occassions. I will check out the dig info- Thanks!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: