Chow Chow, Hotdogs and Carolina Style Pulled Pork

September 24, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Posted in pork | 35 Comments
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Why am I like a hundred years old and have never heard of or tasted Chow Chow until this summer? 

I saw my first ever mention of Chow-Chow from Chris over at Nibble Me This.   Wikipedia tells us that Chow Chow is popular in the south, in Pennsylvania and New Mexico. Even my good friend Cauleen, who grew up in Pennsylvania, looked at me like I was from outer space, when she learned I had never had it. Especially since the area around my hometown where I grew up supports large Amish and Mennonite communities. Nope, never heard of it.

I was thrilled to find that my favorite local canning vendor at our Farmer’s Market sold Chow Chow so I grabbed a couple of  jars, one regular and one hot. We’ve tried both and think they’re absolutely delicious. We’ll be buying a few jars to get us through an otherwise Chow Chow-less Winter.

Just as Chris suggested, we piled some on top of hot dogs.  Oh-my delicious!

I threw a pork roast in the crock pot and let is simmer all day in some Carolina style sauce, topped it with some Chow Chow and it was out of this world.

Let’s talk about Carolina style sauces. We recently had Carolina style pulled pork at a local BBQ  joint and really found this vinegar-based sauce to be a wonderful mixture of flavors. 

In Googling Carolina Style Sauces so I could make it at home, I found Northern Carolina, Eastern Carolina, Northeastern Carolina, Western Carolina sauce recipes. I didn’t take the time to sift through the ingredients to find out what the difference was in all the variations and just chose a generic crock pot version and tweaked it to accommodate the ingredients I had on hand. My Southern readers will have to fill me in on the difference in what these regionalized Carolina sauces are all about.

We found the recipe to be quite tasty and it’s now in my database.

 Spicy Carolina Style Pulled Pork:

3 tablespoons brown sugar 
2 tablespoons paprika 
2 teaspoons sea salt 
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper 
5 lbs pork shoulder 
1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes 
2 teaspoons sugar 
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard 
1 tablespoon garlic powder 
1/2 teaspoon powdered cayenne pepper 
2 red onions, quartered 
2 yellow onions, quartered

Combine the brown sugar, paprika, salt and pepper, and rub the mixture over the roast. Wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate a few hours, overnight is best. 

In a bowl, combine the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, sugar, mustard, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Mix well. 

Unwrap the roast.  I lined my crock pot with banana leaves, and rough cut onions to make a nice flavorful bed. Place roast on top of onions, drizzle most of the vinegar mix over the top, reserving some to add to the shredded meat at the end. Wrap banana leaves around the roast.

Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours, or high for 4 to 5 hours. 

Remove the meat and onions to a cutting board. Remove skin and set aside. Using two forks, pull and shred the pork. Chop the onions, and mix into the shredded meat. Using a fork, remove some of the fat from under the skin, mince, and add to the shredded meat and onions as needed for moisture and flavor. 

Serve on warm buns or crusty hard rolls, with the remaining vinegar mixture on the side.

Chow Chow Topped Sandwiches,

They’re What’s For Dinner.



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  1. YUM!! I love chow-chow…always on hotdogs 🙂 I’m totally craving a pork sammie w/ some now, though…it is glorious! Lovin’ the banana leaf lined pot…it’s a total nod to Puerco Pibil (which I’ve totally been craving for the last 2 or 3 months, but just haven’t gotten around to making!). Awesome post.

    • Puerco Pibil? Gotta find out what that is, I can already tell I’m gonna love it. Thanks Heather for stopping by.

  2. Let me assure you, you were not alone in just recently discovering chow-chow. Just last year, while in North Georgia, I suddenly paid attention the jaws of chow-chow. Like you, I loved it. I have been wanting to make it myself but, have yet to embark on the challenge.

    Cheers to chow-chow.

    • I agree Velva, I want to try to make it also. Just haven’t had time to look for a recipe. Love the “cheers to chow chow”. That should have been the title of this post. 🙂

  3. That sandwich looks fantastic, Lea Ann. A woman at the market makes pickled stuff so I’ll stop by tomorrow to see if she has chow chow. And that pork roast looks out of this world. Lining the crock pot with banana leaves is interesting and I have to try it.

    • That lining the pot with banana leaves idea came from a Rick Bayless recipe. Now I always use banana leaves with a pork roast and haven’t looked back.

  4. It’s hard to walk into a farm store or even a goumet place around here and not find chow-chow for sale. I’ve tried it several times, but just can’t get my tastebuds around it – I think it’s the sweetness, I’m a dill kinda guy, but glad you got to try it and enjoyed it. Many around here put it on soup beans – usually pintos in this area.

    • Larry, our markets just don’t have it. Just the one vendor at the Farmer’s Market. Yes, it is sweet in a tangy sort of way. Hmmm… I’m going to email you. Need to find out more about the pinto bean “thing”

  5. I forgot to mention that the pork sandwich looks killer.

    • It was killer….chow chow and all.

  6. Interesting, here is the Chow Chow you mentioned. I am sure we would love it as well. Have to make a run to my “pork farmer”. I am out of sausages, may he also has a nice roast for me.
    Wednesday sounds fine.

    • Kirsten, how fun Wednesday will be. Have a secret restaurant up my sleeve for fun. See you then.

  7. FABULOUS!!!

    So, what are you going to do with the leftovers 😉

    • Dave, that was a small roast. A couple of sandwiches later and a couple of servings without bread and it was a goner.

  8. Yeah, you’re nuts for missing all the chow chow where you grew up. My aunt and grandma used to make it when we went to visit them in Oklahoma…I’d put in on just about everything except ice cream.

    • It would probably even be good on ice cream.

  9. You know I have never had chow chow either. That is what is so great about food. Another taste experience is right around the corner.

  10. I always thought chow chow was a dog… who knew?
    That sandwich looks wonderful! I’m going to have to start looking for chow chow recipes…

    • Me too Liz, I’m going to google it right now.

  11. Glad you found it locally, because that is the best kind. I can’t believe I’ve missed out on chow chow until this year. It is great stuff.

    I like how you used the banana leaf like that, gives it a luau twist.

  12. I’m like a hundred years old and I have never heard of chow chow either! LOL! I’ll keep my eyes peeled for it. Also the pulled pork recipe looks so good! I’ve never thought of putting a banana leaf directly into the pot to cook the pork, I will have to try that method, I love the flavor banana leaves impart.

  13. Sad to say I have never heard of Chow-chow either. I’ll have to take a closer look when I go to the grocery store. Your hotdog and pulled pork sandwich looks really good!

  14. My aunt used to make it….haven’t had it in years! But oh my! That pulled pork! I have GOT to try this, Lea Ann.

  15. I love hot chow chow – when I was growing up, I always added a couple of spoonfuls on top of a serving of pinto beans. It was a great flavor combo. That sandwich looks amazing.

  16. I haven’t had Chow Chow for quite awhile…my grandmother used to make and it was so good.
    I did see some recently at a Mennonite store that I visited, so I’ll have to go back and get some.

  17. I just heard of chow chow recently too! I thought it was pet food when I first heard the name. I will have search it out now. I love pulled meat – your pork sandwiches look superb!

  18. My grandmother used to make piccalilli (same as chow chow). There are so many recipe variations. I made some last week and posted it to my blog 😉

  19. I don’t know much about chow chow, but there is a big dispute about whose BBQ is best in the Carolinas. Eastern Carolina BBQ is vinegar based and western Carolina is tomato based. South Carolina favors mustard, which sounds horrible to me. You can get into quite a debate if you bring up who’s BBQ is best here in North Carolina.

    The chow chow looks perfect for the pulled pork sandwich. And you went to the expert if you relied on Chris. He knows his stuff.

    • Thanks for clearing up the Carolina BBQ sauce issue. I obviously had Eastern Style at both the restaurant and in my crock pot. It’s really good.

  20. Lea Ann…you’re too hard on yourself. Being Italian…I sure hope I’m not expected to know everything there is Italian ;o)

    Love the recipe you found for that flavourful pulled pork…shall make a similar version of this 😉

    Ciao for now,

  21. I’ve definitely HEARD of chow chow but only on other blogs. And I’ve never eaten it. But damn do I want to. Looks great on that pulled pork sandwich!

  22. I havent seen or heard about chow-chow since I was a kid – for me it was always one of those weird things grown-ups ate – I guess its time for me to try some chow-chow.

  23. I only learned about chow chow a few years ago. You’re right it’s excellent with hot dogs, pork and on burgers. I made some last summer at the end of the gardening season – my version was reddish because I used red cabbage, while traditionally it’s more green. Here’s some pics:

    As I go through your blog – I’m finding that we have very similar tastes. It might be the beginning for kindred food spirits.

    • I’d love to have a great recipe for chow chow. And yes, I prefer red cabbage. I’ll head over and take a look at your url.

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