Monday, January 30, 2012

PW's Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

Seriously, I've got you covered for Super Bowl Weekend:  Pulled Pork Sandos! They're major! In a major way! Spicy, sweet, pork, slow cooked into tender oblivion. "You had me at pork." OK, all joking aside, this is some serious pulled pork. 

If you've been reading this blog, you know that I follow a number of cooking blogs: Confections of a Closet Master Baker, Smitten Kitchen, Joy The Baker, In Jennie's Kitchen (This one is breaking my heart right now.) and last but certainly not least, Pioneer Woman. They are all a bit different but all written by unique, talented women. They inspire me to keep blogging, baking and creating. I've tried many of their respective recipes and even chronicled a few of them here. So this week I'm bringing you a recipe from Pioneer Woman*. Thanks PW!

Over the years I've tried several times to make pulled pork. Every time, it's been just kind of OK. Not horrible but not great. When Ree posted a recipe for Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork, I knew I had to try it. After all, my mother was from Texas, where Dr. Pepper flows like water. It was an instant hit with family and friends. Super easy to make and just a few simple inexpensive ingredients. Since she posted this recipe back in March 2011, I've made it at least 5 times and it turns out awesome every time. It's a crowd pleaser for sure. So if you have a crowd to feed for Super Bowl Sunday, I've got you covered.

Just a few ingredients: boneless pork shoulder roast, Dr. Pepper, Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce (the recipe calls for an 11 oz. can but that's a bit spicy for me so I use one of these little 7 oz. cans. Use your judgement.), an onion, brown sugar, salt and pepper.

Note: The recipe calls for 2 12 oz. cans of Dr. Pepper. We don't drink Dr. Pepper so I really didn't want to buy a whole 12 pack. I might have sprung for a 6 pack but I don't think they even sell them any more. Singles are over a buck-fifty a piece, but, the 2 liter size was only 89¢. So in the interest of economy, I went with the 2 liter size. Just remember that you need 24 oz. total, which is 3 cups.

Start by cutting the onion into thick slices (1/2 inch plus) and cutting those in half. Lay them in the bottom of a large ovenproof Dutch Oven with a lid. Salt and pepper the pork roast all over.

Lay the pork roast on top of the onion and pour in the peppers with all the Adobo sauce, the Dr. Pepper and brown sugar. Put the lid on the pot and roast in a 300°F oven for 6 hours. Turn the roast once or twice during the cooking time. 

After 6 hours, test to see if the pork is done. It should fall apart very easily. If it doesn't put it back in the oven for 30 minutes and check it again. When it easily pulls apart with a fork it's done.

Remove all the pork from the pot. It will probably fall apart into several pieces.
That's a good sign!

Set a strainer over a bowl and pour off all the liquid from the pot, straining out the peppers and onions. I throw them out as no one in my family likes big hunks of onions or peppers. If you do, by all means, leave them in there.

What you're left with are all the cooking juices from the pot. Put this in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. You want the fat to rise to the top and solidify.

Use two forks to shred the pork and return it to the cooking pot. Set this in the fridge, covered, until you are ready to serve.
I usually take it to this step the night before.

When you're ready to serve. Remove the cooking liquid from the fridge. Skim off the layer of fat on the top (that orange stuff) and toss it out. The remaining juices may have "gelled up". If so, microwave them a few minutes to get them liquid. Pour it into the pot with the shredded meat and heat the whole thing over low heat until heated through. Now ENJOY!

There are any number of ways you can serve this. I like it in tortillas with a bit of cheese and the usual taco fixins. My kids like BBQ pork sliders: slider buns, barbeque sauce and pork. How about nachos? You could also scramble it up with some eggs and top with cheese and salsa for a hearty breakfast. Sky's the limit here.

Here's the link to Pioneer Woman's recipe: Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork. Try it out, I guarantee you'll LOVE IT.

*If you are a fan of Pioneer Woman you probably know that she has a show on Food Network. I made this recipe two weeks ago and coincidently she demonstrated it the following Saturday on her show. Look for it on Food Network Channel, the Food Network web site or on iTunes.

P.S. I don't know Ree. She probably has no idea my blog exists, I'm just a major fan!

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