Sunday, May 15, 2011

While You Wait For Cake, Eat Pork

Even though I haven't been blogging we certainly haven't gone hungry around here...

I perfected the look of my peanut butter cake by practicing patience.This is my 2nd attempt at this cake & it came out so much prettier because I took the time to crumb coat and chill before I ganached it! I also used different brands of butter, cream cheese and peanut butter and I like the flavor of the finished frosting and ganache much more!

I came up with a ripoff recipe for Olive Garden's Pork Scallopini (I will post recipe at some point). The side dish is tortellini with spinach and crimini mushrooms! I made this on one of the long, snowy weekends we survived up here. It was a huge hit!

But the thing I am most proud of was the perfection of my pulled pork sandwiches! I love pulled pork but have never been able to make it in my crock pot where it didn't turn out like sawdust! I am convinced that I am a Southern Soul stuck in a New Englanders’ body. I adore Southern foods; buttermilk biscuits, fried chicken, pimento cheese, sweet tea and any variation of pork. There is nothing more satisfying to me than smoked pork ribs or a pulled pork sandwich laden with coleslaw both dressed in a smattering of tangy sauce. I'm sorry Texas, I love beef; steaks, burgers and roasts but when it comes to BBQ make mine pork please! So with more foul weather on the radar for the winter weekend I found myself in again and a sale on pork shoulder, around midnight I loaded the crock-pot with pork, onions, garlic and ginger ale set it on low and went off to bed.

The crock-pot recipe I use for pulled pork is easy but takes around a total of 18-20+ hours. The first round of cooking takes 12 hours on low and it’s during this twelve hours that the real magic takes place. If I want to serve this for Saturday supper I start my crock-pot around midnight Friday. Slice a sweet onion, smash 5 cloves of garlic and put in the bottom of the crock, put the meat in next (I use either a “Picnic Shoulder” or a pork butt), pour 1 cup of a not too sweet ginger-ale (I like Canada Dry) over all, salt and pepper liberally and top with another sliced onion. Do not, do not, do not open the crock-pot lid for 12 hours (hence why I let it cook overnight).

When you hit the 12 hour mark open the crock and check the meat with a fork if it starts to fall apart you are good to go, turn off the crock. Remove the meat, onions and garlic into a 9x13 pan. I use a gravy separator to remove the fat from the cooking liquid and then put most of the juice back in the crock along with the cooked onions and garlic, the pork that I shredded with 2 forks, a freshly sliced sweet onion and about a cup and half of my favorite BBQ sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray’s). Plop the lid back on and cook on low for 6-8 additional hours or until it’s tender. During the last 6-8 hours I do remove the lid and stir it, check to make sure there is enough liquid and sauce and occasionally I end up turning my crock-pot down to the lowest setting.

Trust me when I tell you that it is moist and tender and tasty. If it’s not, you did something wrong!


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