Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Recipe for hot weather: Pulled pork

Its August in New York and after a cold and wet June summer has finally arrived. I hate to complain since it is summertime but it is hot, hot and humid to be exact. I have had no ambition to cook. The days I have ended in regret. My little apartment kitchen 30 degrees hotter than the rest of the space from the oven or me sweating above the stove top. The ceiling fan only seems to blow the hot air around, not really cooling things off. I turn miserable. Thus the solution of the crock pot.

I kind of think of this as fake cooking. I gave my mom one a few years ago as a Christmas present. After hearing of some of the delicious meals you could make with little more effort than throwing in a bunch of ingredients and turning a nob, I wanted in too. This past year I asked for and received a crock pot.

This is one of my most used recipes and a perfect meal to have on a hot summer night. It require little effort but must be planned in advance. The recipe as two parts and takes at least two days to prepare completely.

Pulled Pork
4-5 lbs pork roast (salt and peppered)
1 onion halved and sliced
1Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 bottle of BBQ sauce 14.5 oz(KC masterpiece)
Juice of one lemon

Approximately 48 hours before you want to have some pulled pork…put roast in crock pot then cover with water. Turn on low and let cook for 10-12 hours. I do this overnight. Its no fuss and the next morning its all done.

Take roast out of crock pot. It should be fairly tender and fall apart easily. Shred the meat and store in Tupperware container in fridge till ready to use.

When ready to make add the shredded meat, BBQ sauce, onions, sugar and lemon juice to crock pot. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or on high for 1 1/2 -2 hours depending on how fast you want to eat it. At some point I do stir the mixture up a bit but this is absolutely not necessary. Trust me the smell of BBQ fills the house so you will be hungry once it gets going. That's all there is to it. I like to have hamburger buns on hand for sandwiches but I also it is plain with a salad if I feel like going the low-carb route. I find this freezes well in an airtight container for about 2 weeks. Simply put it in the fridge the night before you want to use it again.

For those of you who do not want 4-5 lbs of pork at once just pick a small roast and vary the amount of BBQ sauce accordingly. This is not rocket science. I actually don't know if I have ever used a roast this big. The pictures are from a one about 1.5lbs. I will still have plenty of meals from this. I also vary on the variety of cut. Obviously the fatter the roast the more fat you will have on the meat. This can be taken care of after the first step of boiling the roast, remove the large pieces as you shred. I find this quite disgusting though and just opt for a lean cut.

I also never add the extra sugar. For those of you who ever look at ingredients lists, BBQ sauce is not the healthiest condiment. For a 1.5 lbs roast I use about 1/2 to 3/4 of a regular 15oz bottle.

And finally for the original recipe you should sauté the onions to soften a bit before adding them to the crock pot. My thoughts are why dirty another dish? Yes, the onions don't melt in your mouth in my method but they are softened. The longer you have the mixture heating for on the second step the softer they will be, an extra 30 minutes in the pot can make a huge difference.

You can make multiple variations of this by varying the variety or flavor of the sauce. I have been known to throw in chopped garlic as well as celery.

So there you go, the next time you see the forecast for hot and humid weather think of the crock pot. The heat stays right in the pot. Its simple, easy, and one stop clean up.

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