Sunday, February 1, 2009


It has been a fun time writing this blog, though I will admit there were times when I was more into it than others. Unfortunately, I have moved to a new apartment where I won't be able to do crockpot cooking so I feel that this is a good time to wind down the blog. I will leave the blog up and hopefully some will come and find my recipes to be useful, but at this stage I think I am ready for a little break. Thank you to all who have read my post and shared their thoughts and experiences. I have always said that anyone can make great BBQ food in a crockpot and that still holds true. I have never been a great chef, but I still have been able to make food that people have enjoyed. Best of luck to all in their future cooking endeavors.

Best Regards,

-The Crockpot Alchemist

Saturday, January 10, 2009

New Year's BBQ Brisket Sliders

As promised. Here the recipe for the New Year's brisket sliders. I forgot to take more pics and before I knew it they were gone. I got some great shots of the beef with my digital camera though. I was clearly due for an upgrade from my old camera.

3-4 lbs of trimmed beef brisket
7-8 tablespoons of your favorite BBQ rub
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon of molasses
36 mini hamburger rolls
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce

Mix up the honey, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke and water until evenly blended. Pour the mixture over the meat. Get in there with your hands and make sure all of the meat is evenly coated. Put it in the fridge and let it marinate overnight. You can let it sit for 24 hours if you have time.

I learned while watching the Food Network that putting salt on meat pulls moisture out of it and can cause it to dry out. For this reason I did not put any spices on my meat until right before I put in the crockpot. Not sure if it made a big difference, but I thought the brisket was even moister than usual.

Take out the meat apply your bbq rub until everything is evenly coated. Drop your meat in the crockpot and let it cook on low for 10-12 hours, depending on how hot your crock runs. If you are able to, turn over your meat half way through. I cooked this batch while I as at work so I didn't have a chance to do this. Particularly if you have two separate pieces of meat, I have found that the top piece is a little more dry than bottom piece that has spent most of the cooking time cooking in it's own juices.

Once you are done cooking, use two forks to shred up the brisket and pour in about 1/2 of your BBQ sauce and stir together. I found that the rub I used was a bit more salty than I had expected, but was able to correct this by adding an extra tablespoon of honey and a tablespoon of molasses to kick up the sweetness of the meat. You can always make small changes even after the meat is finished cooking if you want to adjust your flavors.

All in all the sliders were a great success. Next time I need to remember to take more photos before all my food disappears.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


I've been in a bit of rut the past couple weeks. I've been itching to make some bbq, but have not found the occasion to. I have been waiting eagerly for New Year's Eve so I can make some pulled pork sliders for a party I am going to. As always, I like to do a little field research to inspire some good BBQ mojo. I can think of no better place in NYC than Daisy May's BBQ on 46th Street and 11th Ave.

This place is just hands down the best barbeque in the city. It's location is a little unassuming in hell's kitchen, but it's food speaks volumes. I had the barbequed brisket with creamed spinach and brown sugar sweet potatoes.
The brisket was tender and had a sweet/spicy sauce that perfectly complemented the smoked meat. The sweet potatoes were smooth and creamy. I could eat these sweet potatoes all day long. The spinach was also quite creamy and provided a nice savory balance to the sweet potatoes.
My buddy got this amazing beef rib pictured above. This rib was Fred Flintstone size. I was fortunately that he could not finish it so I was able to get a taste. I was a little concerned that a rib of that size might be a little dry and stringy, but I was pleasantly surprised by how tender and flavorful the meat was. It just melted in your mouth. The sauce was similar to that of the beef brisket and worked well with the tender rib meat.

All in all an amazing BBQ experience. Daisy May's continues to deliver top notch barbeque food. I'm a little worried that their location holding them back, but they have been there a long time so I'm sure they will be alright. It's nice being able to go and not have to wait in the ridiculous lines that plague some of the other BBQ restaurants in the city. The funny thing is that crummy bbq joints like Dallas BBQ have no problem packing the place, just because they are located in times square.

I feel ready to begin putting together my sliders. Recipe to follow in the new year...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mmmm... Sliders

Well, I have my next cooking assignment. It isn't until New Years though so I will definitely be making something in between now and then. I'm going to be making some pulled pork sliders for a New Year's party I am going to. What is a slider you ask? It is essentially a miniature version of a hamburger. White Castle is a classic example of what a slider is (they are also called belly bombers by some). What is great about sliders is that you get all of the taste and flavors of a regular hamburger in a bite size package that can be enjoyed along with other appetizers.

Why not apply this concept to world of barbeque? Sure it is always good to have a giant pulled pork sandwich that will put you to sleep for the rest of the night. But New Years is about staying up late and if everyone eats a ton of barbeque, it is going to be hard to make it until midnight. With that said, I am going to be making some pulled pork sliders to ring in 2009 properly. I will be coming up with a special spice blend and depending on the timing, may try making my own barbeque sauce again, although after a lot of experimenting, I have concluded that the best and most affordable barbeque sauces you can get are sold in a bottle.

On a side note, while I was home in Boston for Thanksgiving I went back to The Village Smokehouse for some of their mammoth beef ribs. That place delivers every time. Hats off to the pit master over there for delivering unwavering quality in his barbeque.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Tour of BBQ Sauces

Over the years I have tried a lot of different types of BBQ sauce. I thought I would run through a little exercise for myself to decide which one is my favorite. If anyone would like to throw their two cents in, please feel free. I have broken down the competitors as follows:

1.) Memphis Style

A moderately thick, sweeter sauce made up tomato, vinegar and brown sugar base with additional spices ranging from mild to hot.

2.) Kansas City Style

A very thick and sweet sauce with a tomato and molasses base.

3.) St. Louis

A tomato and vinegar based sauce that is essentially a thinner, less sweet version of Kansas City style BBQ sauce.

4.) South Carolina

A mustard based based sauce that is generally paired with pulled pork.

Now I fully recognize that this list is far from complete. I have not yet had the privilege to travel to some of U.S BBQ hotbeds, something I'm hoping to do next summer. I am going off what I have the most experience with for this comparison.

Now I do like Memphis and Kansas City Style sauces a lot. The thicker texture and sweet flavor make both of them a nice complement to any meat. My only issue would be, and this does depend on the sauce, that these types of sauces can sometimes overwhelm the flavor of the rub and the meat and should be used sparingly so that they provide good flavor without masking the taste of the meat you have been cooking for 14 hours.

South Carolina is also a great sauce, especially with Pork, but is generally a little thinner and depending on the sauce can be a little too tangy for my tastes.

What I have found is that I like a good balance of texture, sweetness and just the right amount of tanginess (not sure if this is a word or not, but you see where I am going). In the end my conclusion is that I am a St. Louis BBQ sauce guy. It's not too thick, not too sweet and works well with pork, brisket, ribs and just about any other barbequed meat out there.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bone in vs. Bone out Pork Shoulder

I have read a lot of articles praising the value of cooking meat with the bone in. In addition to adding a lot of flavor, these sources indicate that cooking meat with the bone in can also help keep your meat moist during the cooking process. It is also pretty cool when the meat has finished cooking to be able to simply pull the bone right out without any type of resistance from the meat itself. Additionally, it is generally cheaper to buy meat with the bone in because it requires less labor by the butcher.

There are some caveats however to buying meat, especially pork shoulders, with the bone in. For one thing, depending on the size of your crockpot, it can be difficult to squeeze in as much meat because you have to contend with an immovable object that is the shoulder bone. I would also argue that while the bone in shoulders tend to be cheaper, you always have to consider that you are paying for the bone itself, which can account for a lot of weight. Buying pork shoulder with the bone in will also require more work on your part to trim away a lot of excess fat which has been left on.

I have made pork shoulder using deboned pork butts and bone in shoulders and couldn't say that I have noticed much of a difference in taste or moisture between the two. This could have a lot to do with nature of the crockpot itself, which keeps the meat moist throughout the entire cooking process. I am also a big fan of dry rubs and barbecue sauces, which could block out whatever subtle flavor that the bone provides to the meat. I'm hoping that someone can shed a little light on this debate for me as I am pretty well stumped.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Looking ahead

I apologize for not making anything in awhile. I have had friends visiting the past few weekends, which generally leads to going out to eat a lot and not having time to plan out a meal. My thinking cap has been on however. It is starting to get cooler here in NYC, which opens up the door to soups, stews and pretty much anything that is hot. I have been reading a little about blended soups. That is, making some sort of soup and then pureeing it in a blender so it has a nice smooth consistency.

I am envisioning a BBQ bean blended soup with maybe some pulled pork or brisket mixed in there to give a little bit of texture variation. I really should be cooking more often because it is definitely a money saver over going out to eat, if you don't mind having leftovers.