North Carolina Style Pulled Pork Sliders

June 24, 2014

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Oh yes! Summer is here and folks are thinking about cookouts, picnics and all manner of backyard barbecues! Believe me, I am a big fan of simple hot dogs and burgers on the grill. But what really gets me droolin is the thought of a pulled pork sandwich. Now as much as I’d like to tell ya’ll that I was out in the backyard cookin a whole pig; alas that was not the case. The secret here is that the melt in your mouth, delicious pulled pork found in these little sliders that you see here was cooked right in my wee kitchen in a slow cooker and required very little attention from me. There was no slaving over a pit. How great does that sound?

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Now you might be wondering why these pulled pork sliders are “North Carolina Style”. It is all about the sauce. And there are big differences in barbecue sauces in the US depending on what region you find yourself in. I’m no expert on Barbecue sauces, but I will try my best to explain the differences as I understand them. Kansas City style sauce is the one that most folks think of when they think of barbecue sauce. I’m sure you know it well, a sweet yet slightly tart thick tomato based red sauce with a bit of smoky flavour about it. Memphis Barbecue sauce is very similar to the Kansas City style but has a bit more vinegar added in along with some molasses as a sweetener. If you are in Texas the sauce will be thinner and spicy, with the meat drippings added in along with seasonings such as cumin, chili, onion, bell pepper and just a bit of tomato. In Alabama you are likely to encounter a strange white barbecue sauce. Yup…white barbecue sauce! No tomatoes there, just a mixture of mayonnaise, vinegar and pepper. In South Carolina the folks love yellow mustard base sauces sweetened with molasses or honey. Again no tomato. And finally we get to North Carolina.  North Carolina sauce is my favourite sauce. And truth be told, it varies within the state depending on how far east or west you travel. The Eastern North Carolina Sauce is a thin, nearly transparent, vinegar base sauce with lots of chili pepper flakes floating about in it.Very little to no sugar is added. It isn’t anywhere near thick enough to sit on top the meat, but rather thoroughly penetrates it. As you travel a bit farther west, you will find that the Carolinians there add just a bit of ketchup to the sauce, making it a bit sweeter and a little thicker. These particular sliders here seem to hail from a more westerly spot in the State.

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You might wonder why there are two sauces called for in this recipe. The first sauce is to give that pork some lovely flavour while it is cooking. However, as I’m sure you know, pork can release a lot of grease when cooking. Rather than try to skim off and separate the fat, it is best to just get rid of that first sauce. Once the pork is nearly done, shred it and then return it to the slow cooker with the second nice fresh sauce to finish cooking. As far as the coleslaw goes, I just can’t imagine eating a pulled pork sandwich without it, especially if it is a tangy, spicy Carolina pulled pork. The sweetness of the coleslaw really complements the tart flavour of the pork and adds a nice crunchy texture. However, I’m told some folks think slaw on pulled pork is heresy. Hmmm…to slaw or not to slaw…that is the question.

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The answer? To each his own I suppose. I say serve that coleslaw on the side so folks can indulge or abstain as they wish. Bottom line is you’ve just got to make up a batch of these North Carolina Style Pulled Pork Sliders for your next gathering. (The 4th of July will be here before we know it..) Trust me…folks will go hog-wild!

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North Carolina Style Pulled Pork Sliders

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 

Source: slightly adapted from Creme de la Crumb

Ingredients:

  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • ½ white onion, sliced
  • 4-6 pound boston butt, or pork loin roast (boneless)
first sauce
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
second sauce
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce (make sure you use a Carolina Style sauce)
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depends on how spicy you like it!)

to serve

  • cole slaw
  • slider or full size buns

Directions:

Place onion slices in the bottom of your slow cooker. Place pork roast on top of onions. Whisk together ingredients for first sauce. Pour first sauce over roast. Cover and cook on low 8 hours or on high 4 hours.
Whisk together all ingredients for second sauce. 30 minutes before serving, remove pork from slow cooker and shred with two forks. Drain juices and onions from slow cooker. Return shredded pork to slow cooker. Pour second sauce over pork and stir to combine. Cover and cook 30 minutes longer.
To serve place pulled pork on bun and top with slaw.
Enjoy!

 

 


Guinness Braised Pulled Pork & Black Bean Chili

March 4, 2014

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Please tell me I got your full attention at Guinness Braised Pulled Pork. I mean, if you’re anything like the husband and I, we were sold at those first few words. Truth be told, pulled pork all on its lonesome can stop us in our tracks. Must be that southern thing. But then this recipe goes on to add that magical word “chili”  at the end. What?!! Guinness, Pulled Pork & Chili all together in one recipe? Ohhhh yes! And let me tell you it is out of this world, over the moon deeee-licious!

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How could it not be? First of all, you take that big old hunk of pork butt, which actually is not from the hind end of the animal, but from the shoulder area (go figure), and you rub it all over with a wonderful spice mix, then you sear it and let it cook slowly in a sea of Guinness. Not only does the Guinness tenderize the pork, but the meat becomes deeply flavoured with that most famous of Irish stouts. Now you could stop right there and folks would be pleased as punch if you just served up that amazing pork as it is. But no, you then take that magical spicy, Guinness-y braising liquid and use it as the stock for your chili. Once the black beans and other ingredients are in the pot, you take that melt in your mouth pork, which you have shredded or pulled and stir it right back into the mix. Brilliant!

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Time for a bit of a disclaimer. I will say that this chili is quite spicy, which suited us perfectly. But you know how we are. If you tend to be a bit reserved in the spiciness area, you might want to add the chipotle peppers and adobe sauce slowly, tasting all the while, that way you can adjust it to your particular prefered level of heat. My husband LOVED this chili. And we were able to get several meals from this big pot. Besides just serving it up as chili, I wrapped it up in flour tortillas, added some cheese and made Guinness Pulled Pork & Black Bean Chili Burritos, which were a hit to say the least! You simply must add this one to your catalog of chili recipes.

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Guinness Braised Pulled Pork & Black Bean Chili

recipe inspired by: The Beeroness

Ingredients:

For the pork:

  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 lb. pork butt (pork shoulder)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 28 ounces Guinness (2 cans)
  • 2 cups beef stock

For the chili:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans of petite diced tomatoes
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo, minced (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons adobo sauce from chipotle can (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

For Serving:

cheddar cheese, chopped cilantro, chopped white onion, jalapeño peppers, sour cream

Directions:

In a small bowl, stir together the spices.

Rub the pork butt on all sides with the spice mixture.

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Once hot, sear the pork on all sides until browned. Pour the beer and beef stock over the pork. Reduce heat to low. Cover pot with lid and allow pork to simmer away for about 4 hours.

Remove pork from pot and shred using two forks. Set aside.

Pour braising liquid into a gravy separator and let sit until pork fat has separated.

In the meantime, heat 1 tablespoon oil in large Dutch oven. Add onions, red pepper and garlic and cook until soft. Sprinkle 1 tablespoons of chili powder over onion mixture and cook for 30 seconds or so. Add reserved braising liquid, sans fat, to the pan. It should be about 3 1/2 Cups worth of liquid. Add the black beans, diced tomatoes, chipotle pepper and adobo sauce. Stir the pulled pork into the mixture and mix until all ingredients are combined.

Let chili simmer for at least 1 hour before serving. I prefer to let it simmer for 1 – 2 hours and then refrigerate it overnight to allow all of the flavours to come together. However, it will be great served the same day!

Garnish with cheddar, cilantro, onion and sour cream. (or toppings of your choice)

Enjoy!


Coffee-Chipotle Pulled Pork

September 7, 2012

Coffee-Chipotle rubbed Pulled Pork on home made Jalapeno Cheddar Rolls! Super yum!!! This is the fabulous creation with which I stuffed my tasty Jalapeno Cheddar Rolls that I was all a flutter about earlier this week. I certainly was pleased with those rolls and the addition of the pork barbecue elevated this sandwich to legendary status in my house! Once I had all of that tender, spicy pulled pork piled high on my roll, I drizzled a Chipotle Barbecue Sauce over the top. Let me tell you folks, it was BBQ Heaven! Truly stunning, if I must say so myself, though I really needn’t bother because the friends I served it to did manage to sing its praises as they gobbled it up.

The husband and I love a good pulled pork sandwich, preferably with a North Carolina style BBQ sauce (vinegar based). I had never actually tried to make this favourite dish of ours at home, preferring to leave all that hard work to the certified pit-masters. However, I thought perhaps I should attempt to raise my Southern cred a bit. I mean what self-respecting Southern cook can’t handle whipping up a little pulled pork?! So I started looking for a good recipe. I looked at lots of recipes and was definitely intrigued, especially by those that directed you to cook the pork submerged in root beer. (I love root beer!) But they almost always called for cooking it up in a slow cooker or crock pot, neither of which I own. (how is that possible?) Then I came across this recipe from Tracey at Tracey’s Culinary Adventures, which called for simply cooking the pork in your oven. For a long time, mind you, but no special equipment was necessary. The other interesting thing about the recipe was that all you added to the pan besides your coffee-chipotle rubbed pork butt was a bit of olive oil. What no root beer?!! I was afraid this pork was going to be tough and dry as old shoe leather. But Tracey has never steered me wrong with one of her posted recipes, so I popped that seasoned pork into the oven in the morning and by the time folks showed up that evening, dinner was ready to be served. And the house smelled amazing!

You can toss this pulled pork with some of the Chipotle BBQ sauce prior to serving if you wish. But I knew I had some dedicated North Carolina style BBQ fans coming over. So I served this spicy pulled pork “naked” and provided both the Chipotle BBQ sauce as well as some good old North Carolina sauce on the side. (Along with coleslaw, which I love to put on my BBQ sandwiches.) Turns out the Chipotle BBQ sauce was quite tangy, so much so that even the North Carolina diehards were eating it up. So overall, this recipe was easy to prepare, very easy to cook and really delicious! The only drawback was that we had very few leftovers! ( note to self: invite fewer folks next time I make this or get a much larger cut of pork)

Coffee-Chipotle Pulled Pork

Recipe very slightly adapted from: Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

Yield: about 12 servings (kind of depends on how much meat you pile on your roll!)

Ingredients:

  • 4 lb. boneless pork butt
  • canola oil

Coffee-Chipotle Rub:

  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely ground dark coffee
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon allspice

Chipotle Barbecue Sauce:

  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup brewed coffee
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons adobo sauce from can
  • 1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup lime juice

Directions:

To make the rub: Stir all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Massage the spice rub onto the pork, coating each side thoroughly. Wrap the pork tightly with two layers of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. (You may have extra rub, save it in an airtight container for another time.)

To make the barbecue sauce: Add the oil to a medium saucepan set over medium heat. When shimmering, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in all of the remaining ingredients, reduce the heat to low and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If desired, you can puree the sauce to a smooth consistency. (I pureed mine because I had an onion-hater coming for dinner and was attempting to hide the offending vegetables presence.) The barbecue sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in your refrigerator for a week.

Remove the pork from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature about 30 minutes before you cook it. Preheat oven to 250 F.

Add 1 teaspoon of canola oil to a dutch oven, and place the pork in the pan, fat side up. Cook, uncovered, for about 8 hours (about 2 hours/lb if you want to use a bigger or smaller piece of meat), or until very tender.

Remove the pan from the oven and let stand for an hour. Transfer the meat to a cutting board, and use two forks to shred it. Toss with some of the barbecue sauce – how much is up to you. Or serve meat naked with sauce choices on the side.

Enjoy!


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