Open-Faced Pulled Pork Barbecue Sandwiches from Cooking with Paula Deen Magazine, January/February 2014


Do you grill in the winter?

Every time I make a dish indoors that ‘should’ have been made outside, I think about my grill, cold and lonely under it’s cover for the last few months. And I’m a little sad.

When I was younger, I grilled year round. In fact, when I first moved south, I was still so cold-hardened from Chicago winters that I didn’t even bother putting on a coat when I would go out to check on the burgers, brats or barbecue.

The truth is, I kind of hate that phrase, ‘when I was younger.’ These days I’m using it an awful lot. I guess that’s because the gap from when I was actually young to what I am today is more chasm-sized than the small little span it used to be.

For instance, when I was younger, I sunbathed, laying my towel out on the beach or dock, slathering lotion on myself and letting the sun bake me to a delicious golden brown. I didn’t stop lying out because of a fear of cancer.

Nah. I stopped laying out because gravity began working against me. At some point, when I laid down everything just started spreading out instead of staying put. I became afraid that ‘the girls’ would plop out of my swimsuit or that I’d be mistaken for a beached whale.

So it is with grilling in winter. It takes me longer to warm up after being outside in the cold than it did when I was younger. Knowing that I’ll have to clean the grill before I start the fire, then clean it again after cooking’s done, then remember to put the cover back on after the thing’s cooled down is all it takes to discourage me from heading out there. I never gave that a thought when I was younger.

Hello slow cooker. The perfect thing for those who are no longer younger.

The Process

While I don’t mind searing meat before adding it to the cooker, I’m always happy when I make a dish that doesn’t need the extra flavor boost. This is one of those dishes.

It begins with a rub that’s, well, rubbed on the pork shoulder. While the pork and rub say hello to each other, sliced onion, chicken broth and garlic  are added to the bottom of the slow cooker. In goes the pork and on  goes the cover.

Ten hours later (more time is much better than less for this dish), the pork is carefully removed, shredded and slathered in barbecue sauce.

The Verdict

I’m a huge fan of barbecue sauce so even though I prefer a recipe make things from scratch, I don’t mind being able to have my choice of sauce either. I used Bull’s Eye and was very happy. I loved, loved, loved this. Sure, I missed the crispy bits that smoking gives pulled pork, but for something that was pulled out of a slow cooker and I didn’t have to go outside or fuss over, it is delicious.

Hubby and Dudette enjoyed the pork, but since neither of them are huge barbecue sauce fans, I think they weren’t as enthusiastic about the meal as I was. That’s okay though; it just means more for me.

What I’d Do Different Next Time

Nothing.

Open-Faced Pulled Pork Barbecue Sandwiches from Cooking with Paula Deen Magazine, January/February 2014
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
from Cooking with Paula Deen Magazine, January/February 2014
Author:
Recipe type: Slow Cooker
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 4- to 5-pound boneless pork shoulder
  • 1 32-ounce carton chicken broth
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce
  • 6 slices Texas toast, baked according to package instructions
Instructions
  1. Combine the brown sugar, salt, chili powder, ground cumin and ground cinnamon in a small bowl. Pat pork dry with paper towels and rub sugar mixture over pork.
  2. Combine broth, onion and garlic in a 6-quart slow cooker. Place meat in broth, cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until pork is fork-tender.
  3. Remove pork from the slow cooker. Discard the cooking liquid. Using two forks, shred the meat into bite sized pieces, discarding the fat as you go.
  4. Combine the shredded pork and barbecue sauce. Serve over Texas toast.

 

So? C’mon now, I shared a few of my ‘when I was younger’ stories. It’s your turn now. It doesn’t matter how young you actually are right now because at some point you were younger. That’s how life works.

Cucumber Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette from Home Cooking with Paula Deen, Winter 2013

 

I learned something yesterday. The epiphany came while I was chatting with my doctor in her office. She asked me what Hubby and I had done for Valentine’s Day and without thinking, I told her we went out for wings.

You’d think I had told the woman that I was guzzling buckets of antifreeze or shoving paperclips in my ears. At that moment, I would have given a lot to have the ability to reverse time a few minutes so I could rephrase my answer.

Instead, I discovered that I can learn very, very fast,  because I chose not to mention to the good doc that mid-way through our wing meal I ordered a beer. The Jamaican Jerk wing sauce was frying the inside of my mouth and my water was just fuel on the fire.

And that story leads us to cucumber salad. When I made the Spicy Pork Stew and added a healthy dose of chipotles in adobo to the pot, I realized that I’d need to include a side dish that gave the guys eating it some relief from the heat.  Celery with blue cheese dressing didn’t seem real appropriate.

So I opted for another fresh, cooling vegetable; my beloved cucumber.

The Process

Preparation doesn’t get much easier than whisking the vinaigrette in a bowl and then dumping in sliced cucumbers and onion.

The Verdict

In addition to quelling the fires caused by hot peppers, this salad tasted really good. I’m a big fan of cucumber salad anyhow, but I did enjoy the addition of  the mustard and celery salt, which I’ve never used before.

While I’m not usually a fan of sugar in my salad, there was just enough so it wasn’t really noticeable but offset the mustard well. The guys thought it was delicious also.

What I’d Do Different Next Time

I’d halve the amount of dressing I make. the cucumbers and onions were swimming in it and I ended up pouring out an awful lot. A cup and a half of liquid for two cucumbers and one big onion? Way too much.

Cucumber Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette from Home Cooking with Paula Deen, Winter 2013
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • ⅔ cup olive oil
  • 1½ cups sliced sweet onion
  • 2 seedless cucumbers, sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar and next 3 ingredients. Add olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking to thoroughly combine. Add onion, cucumber, and parsley, tossing to coat. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve or for up to 2 days.
What I'd Do Different Next Time
I'd halve the amount of dressing I make. the cucumbers and onions were swimming in it and I ended up pouring out an awful lot. A cup and a half of liquid for two cucumbers and one big onion? Way too much.