fat free opinions on a food centric life

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

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It’s the busy season for my husband so that means dinner is later with each passing week.  There is no complaint from me because I’ve gotten used to it over the last many years — and I’m not the one working late.

The later schedule allows me to think a bit longer about dinner if I’ve procrastinated, or, as in this case, have something ready that takes almost no time to prepare because it’s a) classified as something that can be made ahead of time — as in the day before; or b) it’s left-over.  You’re welcome to choose whichever version you’d like, but I’m going with choice a because that’s what I did.

Pork shoulder was on sale for some ridiculously low price if i purchased two roasts wrapped together, so I thought, what the heck.  Each weighed about 4-5 lbs.  I separated them when I got home, freezing them in ziplock bags knowing that I’d find something that struck my fancy.

My fancy ended up being Pulled-Pork Sandwiches but I had to roast the pork to begin with.  Now you could enjoy the slowly roasted pork for dinner one night, then the pulled-pork sandwiches the next, but my roast wasn’t all that big and I know that had we eaten it after it came out of the oven, there wouldn’t have been enough for the sandwiches.

This recipe caught my eye because of the capers.  I can’t get enough of those sun-dried and brined flower buds that grow in the Mediterranean region.  In fact, I no longer rinse them as most recipes advise, because I enjoy the tang the brine adds to whatever it is I’m cooking.  There’s never enough brine to lose the unique flavor of the capers no matter what I’m making — especially with this recipe.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Pulled Pork Sandwiches
makes 3  giant sandwiches

1-1/2 T capers
2 c. cabbage, sliced
1/4 red onion, sliced
1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
3 T chives, minced
3 tsp. cherry pepper, chopped
2 T red wine vinegar
salt
2 c. shredded pork shoulder
good sandwich rolls
3 T olive oil

First you have to prepare the pork.

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1 T kosher salt
1 T cracked pepper
4.5 lb. pork shoulder
1 lg. onion, quartered
3 lg. carrots, peeled & chunked
10 cloves garlic, smashed & peeled
1 c. chardonnay

Two days before you’d love to have your pulled pork sandwiches, rub the pork shoulder with a mixture of the kosher salt and cracked pepper.  Place in a ziplock bag and keep in the fridge overnight.  Before roasting the pork, remove it from the fridge and let sit at room temp for about an hour.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Roast pork in a baking pan in the center of the oven about 2 hours or until well browned and very tender, or about 30 minutes per pound.  Add the remainder of the ingredients to the roasting pan along with 1/2 c. water and roast for an additional 30 minutes.

At this point, this is a lovely piece of meat for dinner as long as you save some for the sandwiches!  And if you do, then shred the pork then instead of waiting.
Look at all that nice tender pork.

Now on to the sandwiches.

Toss the veggies in the vinegar and salt.

In a large bowl, combine the vegetables and capers and mix with the vinegar and salt.  Let it sit to soften a bit for at least 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Prepare the rolls by slicing, opening, and placing down on a hot skillet or griddle to brown.

Reheat the pulled pork if necessary and load onto rolls.  Add some of the cabbage mixture to each roll and drizzle with olive oil.  Salt and pepper if wanted.

Dig.  In.

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Notes:

  • This is good.  No.  This is really, really good.  Hit the spot doesn’t even come close.  Sad but true that only once in a while do I bite into something that just sends me and this did.
  • I confess that the sandwiches were quite large.  Oh.  Well.  I could have halved each of them, and then we would have gone for seconds.
  • I could see a nice stone ground mustard on these if you had to, but it’s so not necessary.
  • You could play around with the veggies, like add some peppers you have on hand.  Maybe some kalamatas?  Who cares?  It’s just one of those kinds of sandwiches.
  • Good luck doing this with left over pork chops.  That roast is so tender, juicy and flavorful…
  • The inspiration for this recipe came from Fine Cooking.  Essentially, I used half the pork but retained most of the quantities of ingredients for roasting.  Loved all that sweet, roasty garlic.
  • I can’t say too much more except that I’ve been experimenting with my camera and learning more about custom white balances, using Curves in Photoshop, and shooting in RAW sometimes.  It makes for a fairly wonky collection of photos, but I’ll get there some day.  Maybe.

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