Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pulled Pork Sandwiches, or how I refuse to let Summer end

The weather has gotten chilly in Paris. Well, mostly rainy, but you can tell the colder days are coming. People will say that it's only normal for mid-October, but I'd rather side with all the other Parisians: as long as it's not snowing, you can still have dinner and drinks at a terrasse. Sure, you'll need to wear a jacket, but people-watching even throughout the early evening hours has the scent of summer that nobody wants to get rid of.

I'm feeling the same about cooking; while I'm starting to get excited about all the fall recipes and the cinnamon, pumpkin, and nutmeg that go along with them, I secretly long for lemonade and barbecue at the beach. When I had to plan dinner for two a few weeks ago, a barbecue at the beach is exactly what came to mind, in the form of all-American pulled pork sandwiches. Unfortunately, I don't have any red plastic baskets or sticky plastic glasses to go along with them, but it didn't stop my quest for an authentic pulled pork recipe...without a barbecue.

Ugly picture, Good food.

Slow-cooker recipes abound, but as usual, a small studio apartment doesn't really allow those kinds of folies. However, I have a great crockpot-type dish from DeBuyer that can go in and out of the oven--this was to be the stage of my pulled pork experience. I searched high and low for a good recipe, finding one with 500 comments on By the way, I always wonder how it must feel to have a near-perfect rating for your recipe and over 500 comments. Probably makes you want to write a cookbook, doesn't it?

Anyway, the recipe was for slow-cooker pulled pork, so I simply adapted it to oven cooking with my faitout. I went over to Monoprix to find "palette de porc", basically Boston butt, then to the anglo food store at République to get root beer and molasses, came home with said ingredients AND a 3 Musketeers bar, and was set to go.

One thing I forgot to mention is that the pork cooks in the root beer for approximately four hours (given the amount of pork I was cooking). And unfortunately for me, I strongly dislike root beer. My apartment being the size it is, there isn't really a way to close any door except the front door to stop the root beer smell from lingering all over the place. I put up with it, and was more than happy to find that my pork was as tender as could be and came apart without any effort at all. Once my batch of barbecue sauce was ready, I added it to the drained pork and put the crockpot on the stove, at low temp, for the remaining couple of hours.

Obviously, a pulled pork sandwich is nothing without an accompaniement. Toasted buns, a creamy yogurt coleslaw, and delicious chips were all that was needed.

I debated on whether I should buy sand and cover the floor to get that true barbecue feel, but honestly, my pulled pork meal had enough Summer infused in it.

Who needs an early Fall when you can have an endless Summer?

Oven-Cooked Pulled Pork Sandwiches
adapted from serves 6

800g palette de porc, or Boston Butt
1 can root beer
Barbecue Sauce (see below)
6 toasted buns--brioche-type is best, but I used hamburger in a pinch.

Preheat oven to 130°C.
Cut large pieces of fat off the pork before cooking. Set pork in an oven-proof crockpot or faitout, and cover with can of root beer. Place lid on the dish and cook for approximately four hours.

Once pork is cooked--it should have gone from a light to a semi-dark color--drain and place pork back into the faitout. Using a fork, shred meat.
Pour barbecue sauce into the dish and mix with pork, covering and placing back into the oven for another hour.
(I started a little early, so ended up placing my faitout on the stove on low for another hour or so.)

Serve immediately with toasted buns and a side of coleslaw.

Barbecue Sauce
adapted from Cook's Illustrated makes 1 1/2 cups

1 cup ketchup
5 TB molasses
2 TB red-wine vinegar
2 TB Worcestershire sauce
2 TB Dijon mustard
1 TS hot pepper sauce
1/4 TS ground black pepper
2 TB vegetable oil
1 med garlic clove, minced
1 TS chili powder
1/4 TS cayenne pepper

Whisk ketchup, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire, mustard, hot pepper sauce and pepper together in medium bowl.

Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Add garlic, chili powder and cayenne, cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk in ketchup mixture and bring to boil, reduce heat to med-low and simmer gently, uncovered, until sauce is thickened, about 25 minutes. Cool sauce to room temperature before using. (Sauce can be refrigerated in airtight container for up to 1 week.)

Modified Coleslaw

1 green cabbage, shredded
1 large carrot, shredded
2 ribs celery, shredded
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/4 cup sour cream
1 TB fresh lemon juice
1 TB red-wine vinegar
1 TB sugar
1 TB mustard
1 TS salt

Mix all ingredients for the sauce together. Add to vegetables and mix. Refrigerate for at least one hour prior to serving.

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claudia said...

i really enjoy reading your blogs! Pulled pork in a tiny apartment...well done!

K8teebug said...

Sounds fantastic!