Sunday, August 25, 2013

Balsamic BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

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Pulled pork sandwiches are a staple of summer.   You find them at every fair and festival.    At summer birthdays and bbqs.    Pulled pork is so easy to make in a crock pot.   You do hardly any work and end up with lots of food.

But first, a tale of hunting.    
Hunting for a pork shoulder, that is.    

My sister was the one at the grocery store.   This was not her first time at the store.   It was her first time shopping for a pork shoulder.    I got a text every few minutes.    Where will I find this?   How will it be labeled?    I can't find any small ones.   She's laughing and texting, "you'd think this was my first time grocery shopping."       The smallest pork shoulder available was almost 7 pounds.   And according to the butcher shop in the store, that was a small one.    The recipe that I was working from recommended a shoulder that was 2.5-3 pounds.  

I wasn't letting the smallest pork shoulder in Denver get me down or stop my plan.    The whole damn thing was going into the crock pot.    And then before I sauced it up, I took a little under half of it, pulled it, bagged it and froze it for my future pork shoulder needs or an early fall bbq emergency.   

The second tale ?   
A tale of how I couldn't sleep because the smell of pork in the crock pot over night was intoxicating and was wafting its way up the stairs.

What You Need

To cook the pork in the crock pot:
3 lbs pork shoulder (or 6-7 pounds - I just cooked the whole thing over night, froze part of it after pulling it apart and then sauced the rest)
1 white/yellow onion, chopped
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 cup chicken broth

To make the balsamic BBQ sauce:
1 cup balsamic vinegar 
3/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup honey
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
salt/pepper to taste

cabbage slaw (bagged from the store) and dill pickles for garnish
serve on the buns of your choice

What You Do

You could trim the pork before you put it in the crockpot.   I did not.  Cook the pork 9-10 hours (overnight) on low heat in the crock pot.     The next day, drain all the liquid/fat from the pork.    Using forks (or your hands) pull the pork apart.   After cooking that long it is super tender and this should be easy.   Discard any questionable or fatty parts.     Put the pulled pork (and any onions that made it through) back in the crock pot.   Add all the bbq sauce ingredients to the pot and stir to mix.    Cook over low until the sauce and pork is warmed through.

Serve on a bun with cabbage slaw and pickles.

Do you have a favorite recipe for bbq?   Share links in the comments!

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