Sunday, 20 November 2011

Pulled Pork: I Know, I Know, Another Pulled Pork Recipe...

I feel like everyone is a little pulled porked out, and it seems there's a recipe for it around every corner of the internet, but I swear, this one is totally worth it. It is the recipe of a genius woman who writes a genius blog called Homesick Texan (, who posts recipes for all kinds of fantastic dishes like this one, or Dr. Pepper Peanut Brittle, or Spicy Buttermilk Onion Rings. All amazing. Check her shit out, for reals.

So, anyway, this pulled pork. The photos are pretty crappy, I'll admit. But it was so so so good that I'm not going to wait to make it again to post the recipe. But oh, I'll make it again. You just watch me.

But listen. This pork recipe requires a bit of forethought, and a bit of effort. Like, you make your own dry rub, and then you make your own barbecue sauce. I know, right?  It's kind of some work. I give you my full permission (because you of course need my permission to do things) to use a store-bought rub (but try and find one that's not chock-a-block with MSG and sodium - although, I kind of love MSG and sodium, so even then do your worst) and a store-bought sauce. The real breakthrough in this dish isn't really, to me, about the rub and the sauce - though goddamn they are good. It's the fact that you buy a honking piece of bone-in pork shoulder, which is the cheapest thing ever, and you rub it with the dry rub, and you stick it in the oven for eight hours, or so, maybe seven and a half, maybe eight and a half, whatever works, because YOU CAN'T MESS IT UP. I promise, it will always be good.

Frankly, I don't think this needs a caption.

Pulled Pork with Coffee Chipotle Rub and Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
From Homesick Texan (

Pulled Pork

4 - 6 pound pork shoulder, bone-in
dry rub (recipe follows)
barbecue sauce (recipe follows)

Rub the pork shoulder all over with the dry rub. Make sure you get into every nook and cranny. Ideally, you do this step the day/night before you are going to be cooking the pork, which gives the rub a chance to really dig in. But, do what you can with the time that you have. Wrap it in plastic and refrigerate once you've completed the rubbing process.  

Take the pork out of the fridge, remove the plastic wrap and let it come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees celsius. Put your pork in a deep roasting pan, and pop her in the oven for a max of about 2 hours a pound. Your pork is going to be in there for a while, so this is perfect for a lazy Sunday or one of those days when you're "working from home". Don't be concerned by how dark the pork looks - it's just the super dark rub intensifying and taking on an even deeper colour as it roasts. 

When you think you've left the pork in for long enough, take it out of the oven and poke around a tiny bit- if the meat is shredding and basically falling apart before your eyes when prodded, it's done. Don't pull it apart anymore at this point, though - let it rest, very loosely covered in foil, for about an hour. At this point, hopefully your sauce of choice (but seriously, it's nice to make your own sauce if you can swing it) is heating on the stove. After the pork is rested, pull it apart (it is an EXTREMELY satisfying task). Then toss with as much warmed barbecue sauce as your heart desires. Some people like their pork super saucy, some like it on the drier side. It's nice to toss with some sauce, and then serve some on the side for those that like more. I didn't do that last time though - I just dropped the whole pot of sauce into the pork and I don't think anyone was disappointed.         

Dry Rub

Pork and biscuits!
Ugh, this photo is a bit painfully lit. Apologies.
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup of finely ground dark coffee      (I used instant coffee - don't judge me)
1/4 cup smoked paprika
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon chipotle powder
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons allspice         (I didn't have allspice, didn't use it, and didn't miss it)

Mix all the dry rub ingredients together in a bowl. This made enough for waaaay more than one pork shoulder, in fact, I've used it for two and I still have some leftover. I bet it would taste hella good on chicken, or maybe even lamb? Go crazy.

Barbecue Sauce

1 teaspoon canola oil
1/2 half a medium onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup yellow, ball-park style mustard
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup brewed coffee           (I added a mug of instant coffee - see above re judging)
2 chipotles peppers in adobo sauce, chopped          (just use the two peppers - those babies are h-o-t - and the rest of the can will keep in the fridge for a while)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
Salt and black pepper to taste

Heat the oil over medium heat in a medium-sized saucepan. Add in the onion, and cook until it becomes translucent, about five minutes or so. Add the garlic and let it mingle with the onion. Add the rest of the ingredients, and turn the heat down to low. Let it simmer for about a half an hour, and then either transfer to a blender and blend, obviously, or use a hand blender. It will keep for about a week in your fridge, but I found that I used the whole kit and caboodle in order to properly smother the pulled pork once it was done.

So there you have it, a three-pronged recipe for your reading and eating pleasure. Have I mentioned yet how ridiculously cheap pork shoulder is? Well, let me tell you:  it's ridiculously cheap. So it's perfect for feeding a crowd. I like to serve it with biscuits, some kind of cold salad (potato salad, coleslaw, etc.), and collard greens (and there's a li'l recipe for those on this here blog!). To minimize the amount of work in the recipe, you could totally break it down in parts...make the rub one day, make the sauce another, and then cook the pork on the day you want to serve. You won't regret the time you spend on it. Promise.  

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Nuts: Perfect Little Bites of Nutty Goodness

Should I bother apologizing for the delay in posts, or does it just seem insincere now? I promise, I's been busy. But I think about posting all the time. Pinkie swear.

These were really delicious, and massively easy. The recipe is from a gorgeous cookbook called Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan. I was going to title this post 'Dorie Greenspan's Nuts' but it felt disrespectful. I have a feeling from her cookbook that she's a really nice person and I didn't want her to think I was making fun of her.

Hot nuts.
Basically you beat an egg white lightly, toss in a couple of cups of nuts until they're coated with the egg white, and then add a few teaspoons of spices and a significant amount of sugar. I think it's an excellent nibble to serve before dinner, and it would also make a nice little gift, given that the holiday season is fast approaching.

The nice thing is you can switch up the spices however you please - you could make these with curry powder, smoked paprika, or ground chipotle and cumin and cinnamon, which is what I did. The original recipe asked for predominantly chili powder, but I wasn't feeling that. Point is you can put any kind of combo in there, as long as you stay with things that work well together and try and stay with the amounts called for. You want them sweet, and spicy, but not in a punch-you-in-the-face kinda way.

Nuts that have pretty much cooled down.

Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Nuts
Pretty much lifted entirely from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan (who seems like a really nice person)

1/2 cup sugar      
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg white, beaten
2 cups of whole or halved nuts         (I used cashews, almonds, peanuts, and walnuts - killer combo - but  seriously use whatever you happen to have)

Preheat the over to 300 degrees Farenheit. Measure and mix together the sugar and spices in a small bowl. I know it's a bit fussy with the teaspoons and the half teaspoons and whatnot, but there are times when measuring with those wee spoons makes me feel quite dainty - which I can get into. Again, feel free to mix and match your spices based on your tastes. In the original recipe, Greenspan uses chili powder but it's too evocative of actual chili for me so I veered into chipotle territory. I did not regret it.

If I could live in a permanent state of dinner party
attendance I think I'd be really happy.
In a larger bowl (that will fit all your nuts - God there are just so many jokes here), beat the egg white lightly, so it gets a bit separated and loosey-goosey. Toss the nuts into the egg and stir to coat. Then add the sugar and spices, and make sure everybody's evenly covered. Place the nuts on a single layer on a cookie sheet with a little lip. The nuts will mos def stick to the pan, so put down a layer of parchment paper or spray with non-stick cooking spray before you lay them down. Really make sure they're in a single layer, as you want them to cook evenly.

Bake them for 30 to 35 minutes, until they're browned and the coating looks to be completely dried. Transfer the nuts to a cutting board, breaking them up as necessary. Let them cool completely, then serve as a little snack or a nibble before dinner. I'm really into these little nibbles before dinner.