January 29, 2009

Jen's Easy BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches and Cole Slaw

I love BBQ. Being a person from the South, BBQ was an important staple in my diet. Growing up, we had BBQ at least three times a week if not more. When I moved to Arizona, one of the most disappointing things was the lack of "good" BBQ. Sigh. Needless to say, I do not have BBQ nearly enough. Also, there is a distinct difference between "good" long-cooking, slow-smoked, BBQ and the "so-so" BBQ that is available in this part of the country. Unfortunately, most of the BBQ I have had lately has fallen into the "so-so" category. Oh well...what AZ lacks in BBQ, they certainly make up for in excellent Mexican food.
Needless to say, I crave BBQ from time to time. At least when I make it at home, I can get a good facsimile of BBQ...but certainly not the real deal. Even when we use our smoker, it still only partially meets my expectations. I don't know what it is...I think it is some sort of Southern magic that makes the BBQ down there so good.

Well, tonight's meal is a dumbed-down version of traditional BBQ pulled pork. I had part of a pork loin to use up, so I decided to take the easy way out and put it in the slow cooker. I have never tried this method before, but it is kinda like the way I make my BBQ ribs. The only difference is that I boil my ribs in beer first, then I slather 'em with a rub, and then throw 'em on the grill or smoker. I hope that I will get a similar result by cooking them in beer, in the crock pot. Keep your fingers crossed for me! I am also making homemade whole wheat hamburger buns (a first...see separate post) and fresh cole slaw to go with these sandwiches. All in all, this should be a tasty and comforting dinner.


Jen's Easy BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Ingredients:
1 pork loin (mine is about 2 lbs.)
1/2 bottle of your favorite beer (I used Foster's)
1/3 cup of water
Salt and pepper to taste
3-4 shakes of Worcestershire sauce
2 smashed fresh garlic cloves
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce

About 1 teaspoon of the following spices:
paprika
onion powder
minced onion
garlic powder
Cajun blackening seasoning (I use Paul Prudhomme's Steak Magic)

Directions:
Place pork loin in slow cooker, fat side up. Sprinkle pork with spices, including salt and pepper. Add beer, water, and garlic cloves. Add Worcestershire sauce. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 4 hours (depending on how fast/hot your slow cooker runs). With a large spoon, baste pork with juices every two hours (this step is optional--if you decide to do it, work quickly and get the lid back on fast). When cooking is complete, pull pork out of slow cooker. Pour slow cooker liquid into a separate bowl and set aside. Place pork back into slow cooker and shred the meat with fork or pull it apart with fingers. Pour 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid back into the meat (maybe more depending on how much meat you have and how saucy you like your pulled pork). Mix shredded meat with 1/2 to 1 full bottle of BBQ sauce (once again,the quantity will depend on how saucy you like your meat). Mix thoroughly. Cook on high for an additional 1/2 hour with lid on (if you need it thicker, leave the lid off). Serve mixture on buns and enjoy!

Jen's Cole Slaw

Ingredients:
1 bag of pre-shredded cole slaw salad mix

For Dressing:
¾ cup of mayo
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of lime juice
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of white sugar
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard

Directions:
Combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl, mixing thoroughly with a wire whisk. In a separate, large bowl place cole slaw salad mix. Pour dressing over cole slaw mix and toss to combine thoroughly. Use as a side dish or a sandwich topping.

Jen's Notes:
I don't have bagged cole slaw mix, so I am just going to make my own. I shredded 1/2 head of cored green cabbage, 1/2 head of cored red cabbage, and 4 peeled carrots in the food processor. Then, I just followed the directions for the dressing and tossed with the salad greens. Yum! I can't wait for dinner!



The Result:
Delicious, comforting, yummy. Perfect, Perfect, Perfect!!! Seriously good eats.

I love that our whole meal tonight was basically all homemade, without any processed ingredients (with the exception of the BBQ sauce). I feel a certain sense of accomplishment...some sort of strange version of pride. I don't know...I just really like taking care of my family and making sure they have wholesome, nutritious foods to eat. I guess I could call it "job satisfaction", since as a stay-at-home mom, my main focus is taking care of our house and family. I sometimes feel guilty over 'not enough vegetables' or 'cooking with canned, condensed soup and tater tots'. Like a lot of people, I sometimes cut corners to get dinner on the table. I need to remember that it's only an occasional thing. I need to cut myself some slack and remind myself that more often than not, I do make an effort to keep healthy and economical meals on our table. Okay...I am done patting myself on the back....

Anyway, I froze the remainder of my hamburger buns, except for one. I plan to have another one of these sandwiches tomorrow for lunch!

1 comment:

claireknightly said...

We'll have to trek out to Gilbert sometime and go to Joe's BBQ. I like it better than Honey Bear's.