Friday, December 31, 2010

(Sweet) Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Wow. Jenn has been a cooking and baking machine lately! I just got back to Brooklyn from a week in Alabama visiting my family for the holidays. I had every intention of taking advantage of the downtime and cooking something...anything. It didn't happen. The most I "cooked" the entire week was a bowl of oatmeal. My parents had all the meals so well planned out and I had certain local restaurants I wanted to hit, there was no room for any of my measly culinary contributions. 

Now that I am back in snow-battered New York City, I've been spending lots of time inside (after a trek to the grocery store of course) and trying a few new recipes. In the past few years I have become increasingly fond of pulled pork. I used to be completely loyal to chicken, but these days I am loving pork in bbq sandwiches, tacos and enchiladas, and I might even be a little obsessed with Cuban sandwiches. Unfortunately, I'm a complete meat novice. I think its gross to handle (it has never crossed my mind for a moment to be a vegetarian though) and I never know how to cook it. I'm always freaked out about undercooking things that I completely overcook them and end up with a dry, rubbery result.

Those days are no more! My meat fears have been answered by my beloved crock pot. I can cook things for hours and they always turn out moist and tender. I found this pulled pork recipe in a Better Homes and Gardens Slow Cooker Meals book Jenn let me borrow. The end result turned out really sweet, so I am looking for a way to tone it down next time. I think a lot depends on the store bought barbecue sauce you use. It was a great starting off point though (read: easy). I'm looking forward to trying lots of new and exciting meat dishes!

Cleaning the hunk of meat was a little traumatic but I survived!

I love how the pork just fell apart when I took it out of the pot. Shredding it was so easy.

Apricot Pulled Pork

3 to 3-1/2 lb boneless pork shoulder roast (I used a smaller piece of meat)
10 oz apricot spreadable fruit
1 cup bottled barbecue sauce
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1/2 chopped dried apricots
rolls or buns for sandwiches

Spray crock pot with non-stick cooking spray. Trim fat from meat if necessary. Place meat into the cooker. In medium bowl, combine fruit spread, barbecue sauce, onion, and dried apricots. Pour over top of the meat. Cover and cook for 8 to 10 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high.

Once cooked through (pork should technically have an internal temperature of 160° F), transfer meat to a cutting board and shred with two forks. In a large bowl, combine the shredded meat and the sauce remaining in the crock pot. Serve the pork on the sandwich rolls.

Some good Southern sides would be baked beans, pickles, and coleslaw. Enjoy!

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