Today’s post comes from my dear friend Gena who, until recently, could not nuke a cup of tea without first calling the fire department to alert them that she was using a kitchen appliance. She can be found Tweeting about Chopped, America’s Next Great Restaurant, and all things U2 here: @Gena_not_Gina .
Take it away Gena!
Don’t be Scared of Flesh and Bone: A Beginner’s Guide to Pulled Pork
I have my own oven. My own counters…fridge…and even my very own kitchen table. This might not seem too significant to you, but having my very own space to cook is a dream come true for me. Having lived with several roommates (and whomever they were dating at the time) for my entire adult life thus far, being alone with my groceries for a cathartic and tasty experience is something I cherish.
In the past, cooking has been a rushed and annoying necessity. Now, it is one of my favorite hobbies. I would like to consider myself to be a cautious beginner. I don’t have too much experience, but I learn fast.
As the scaredy cat that NotaFoodie offered to call the fire department for on one of my first real cooking nights, I am honored to chronicle my first experience with homemade barbecue sauce and a universal favorite: pulled pork.
When I bite down through a fresh roll and into juicy bits of shredded pork that has been saturated in the sweet yet savory goodness of a good sauce, I can declare that I am a meat lover. Pulled pork is designed to be its own self-contained mess of protein minus any sign of fat globules or sinew of any kind. That, in my opinion, is what makes it the perfect barbecue item.
It has been noted by a host of experienced cooks that in order to be truly accepted in a barbecue circle of worth, one has to create a signature barbecue sauce. Here is how I made mine:
4 garlic cloves, peeled
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups cola
1 ½ cups ketchup
¼ cup cider or rice vinegar
2 tablespoons worcester sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon hot sauce
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
Juice of one (1) lime
Smash garlic cloves and mix with all ingredients except for lime juice in small saucepan.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until mixture becomes thickened (approximately 45 minutes). Once slightly cooled, stir in lime juice and add more of sauces or spices to taste. I added a bit more of the chili powder and the hot sauce
Needless to say, my kitchen smelled heavenly. This spice combination created an aroma that I wish I can bottle. When I ran out to get my pork and some veggies, then came back, it was as though my apartment was giving me a big hug of sweetened heat. I knew this sauce was a winner and I hadn’t even put it on anything yet.
The slow cooker is a fantastic device to have in your kitchen. What better way to cook animal parts than in a giant stoneware pot while you are cleaning, sleeping or not even home? That’s right, my slow cooker (I named her “Minny”) makes sure that all meat is cooked through and remains juicy. While you can use a big roasting pan and your oven as well, here’s how Minny and I got our pulled pork going:
2 ½ pounds pork loin
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups of your homemade barbecue sauce
1. Place the pork in slow cooker. Cook on Low for 10-12 hours.
2. Remove pork from slow cooker and put in big bowl. Use fork to shred pork into
small pieces. Pour out liquid from stoneware, then put the now-shredded pork
back in and add remaining ingredients.
3. Cook on High for another 2 hours.
Luckily, I planned to serve others when I made pulled pork, so all I had to do was keep it warm in Minny until my company arrived.
I picked up a bunch of fresh ones at the grocery store. What do I look like? Sara Lee?
Pulled pork with homemade sauce is not only a crowd pleaser and a great home fragrance creator, but it is really easy to make. Since it is meant to be mixed and heated for long periods of time, it also travels very well. I recommend it for get-togethers both indoors and out.
Now excuse me, I have to go snort some ground allspice.
Awesome post, Gina- I mean, Gena. I think you should explore canning your sauce in air-freshener form so that we can smell it on demand!