Saturday I wanted to make pulled pork. Unfortunately, the stores around here apparently stop selling charcoal when the leaves change, and I didn't have enough to keep an all day fire going in the grill. I also couldn't find any hickory chips. We also had errands to run. So I couldn't spend all day tending the grill to smoke a pork butt. So I improvised. It went like this:
1. Take a 4-6 pound pork shoulder and rub it down with olive oil and a red rub. Mine has paprika, powdered chipotles, cumin, oregano, rosemary, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, black pepper, and brown sugar. Let it sit overnight if you can.
2. Get a nice medium fire going in the grill.
3. Sear the pork roast on all sides, just barely.
4. Dump any leftover rub into a crockpot with a half cup of vegetable broth, a few shakes of Tabasco, and a splash of apple cider vinegar.
5. Stick the pork in the crockpot and let it cook on low for 5 hours.
6. Pull it out, shred it with a pair of forks, and heap it into a baking pan. Pour 1-2 cups BBQ sauce over it. Keep it warm in the oven. I had three almost-empty bottles of different sauces in the fridge, so I mixed up some Dinosaur Honey Roasted Garlic Sauce and Wegmans Memphis Sauce with some Jack Daniels Sauce (It's non-alcoholic, but it includes "whiskey flavoring." I don't even know what whiskey tastes like, let alone know what the heck whiskey flavoring might entail. But the sauce is good.)
7. Toast up some rolls. Use the grill if you aren't lazy. I was lazy. Pack the pork into the rolls. Heat up some sauce to serve at the table.
We had it with Cuban black beans and rice, steak fries, and a salad. It was good. But even better, leftover pulled pork opens a multitude of possibilities. Quesadillas, nachos, tamales, or even a breakfast hash are good choices. Sunday night I piled some onto potato skins. It went like this:
1. Scrub clean 6-8 potatoes. Poke 'em with a fork, and wrap 'em with foil.
2. Bake the potatoes 45 minutes to an hour in a 425 degree oven.
3. Pull the potatoes out and slice them in half lengthwise. Use a sharp knife so you don't tear the skins.
4. Carve out the insides of the spuds with a spoon. Leave a quarter-inch shell. Save the insides for mashed potatoes or potato soup or something.
5. Mix up some creole seasoning (paprika, cayenne, garlic, black pepper, oregano, rosemary, onion powder, salt) with some vegetable oil or olive oil. Use a pastry brush to glaze the inside of the potato shells with this oil mixture.
6. Bake the oiled shells 10-15 minutes until the insides have a nice golden color.
7. Fill the shells with green onions, pulled pork, and cheddar cheese (mozzarella, Monterrey jack, or some Mexican queso fresco would also work; or if you're getting all highbrow, some gruyere wouldn't be bad, either). Grind some black pepper on each one and bake them another 5 minutes or so until the cheese melts.
8. Top 'em with sour cream and serve.
We had them with a buttermilk ranch salad. The sweet spice of the BBQ pork mingles well with the saltiness of the potatoes and cheese. The creole seasoning gives it a nice kick, and the sour cream mellows it all out and holds the flavors together. Leftover black beans and rice are a nice accompaniment.