5 Essentials for Easy Deep South Dinners


Pork is arguably the centerpiece of Deep South cooking, and barbecue is where pork shines. Each region has a particular sauce -- mustard-based in central South Carolina, a white sauce in Alabama and endless variations of tomato-based sauces everywhere in between. The cuts of pork, blend of spices, secret ingredients, marinating and cooking styles all add up to more kinds of barbecue than you could ever hope to eat. However, there is a catch with traditional Southern barbecue -- it's time-consuming. Smokers and grills both require patience and vigilance to make sure the meat turns out just right. Fortunately, there is a workaround for when you just don't have the time: a slow-cooker. This Barbecued Pulled Pork recipe lets you prepare the meat well in advance, and it cooks low and slow for 8 to 10 hours so dinner will be waiting on you when you get home.

The pork fun doesn't stop at barbecue. Bacon and ham are key components in these Collard Greens, which also can be prepared in a slow cooker, and ham is starring ingredient in Hopping John, which you can throw together in minutes by using canned black-eyed peas and quick-cooking rice. Pork chops are another staple of traditional Southern meals, and these tips will walk you through several speedy cooking methods.