Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Axing the Pork

I've been putting a lot of thought into Pulled Pork.  A lot.  Probably more than the average person - or really more than ANY person puts into thinking about the other white meat.  I have a tendency to be very singularly minded, as I'm sure I've said before.

Anyway, I have quite a few recipes for Pulled Pork saved.  They are all kind of different, and use different spices and processes.  I had wanted to do a Best of The Best series with it - and then I got to thinking.

I have come to the conclusion that a large majority of people serve Pulled Pork with a very small amount of BBQ sauce on it.  This is where all the preparation and flavoring during the cook process is a necessity - because you are actually tasting the pork and the sauce is only used like one would use ketchup on a burger.

The way that I like to have Pulled Pork is with lots of BBQ sauce.  Not so much that it's soupy, but well-slathered - if you understand what I mean.  My other conclusion is that because of how I prefer my Pulled Pork served, there's not much sense in putting a whole lot of work into the preparation as the BBQ sauce would cover all the underlying flavours melded in the pork.  But I still want it to be tender, juicy and melt in your mouth delicious!

I also have a severe hatred of fat.  I hate eating steak, because just when I think I've trimmed all the excess fat from the steak, I take a bite and there I am chewing gristle.  YUCK.  Actually, just the thought makes my gag reflex dance around.  I know, I know.  Fat = flavour.  But I just can't.  CAN. NOT.  Remember when I made Lamb Stew?  I took about 45 minutes to trim the fat off each individual piece after it was cooked.  I know that if I use a shoulder roast or whatever, it would be much cheaper and possibly more flavourful than using a tenderloin, but the fat freaks me out.  A lot.

And I had such fantastic results using the tenderloin - why bother with anything else.

I thought I would try a different approach to prepping the tenderloin in the slow cooker.  Same kind of cooking instructions - but using beef broth, a little coffee, and a tiny bit of liquid smoke.  Then I would try out a couple of different kinds of BBQ sauce and see how it went in comparison to the Root Beer Pulled Pork that I recently made.  Since it's still pretty fresh in my mind.

It actually smelled pretty good while it was cooking.

A forewarning about liquid smoke.  It is STRONG stuff.  And it gets on EVERYTHING.  I should have used a paper towel to wash the tablespoon, and used a paper towel to wipe the drip off the counter.  Phew!

Because I had two tenderloins, I decided to do two different sauces.  I did Kraft Original and Sweet Baby Ray's.  I really like the Kraft Original, but had never tried Sweet Baby Ray's. 

The first time I made pulled pork I bought my sauce from Sobey's.  They had an INCREDIBLE selection of sauces.  And I saw a maple flavoured BBQ sauce that I desperately wanted to try, but I figured I'd try it next time.  But I was really disappointed when I saw Superstore's selection of sauces and they didn't have nearly as good of a selection.  I was actually really surprised. 

I guess I'll just see if I can find any next time at a different store. 

Now, you'll ask why I didn't just run to another store and get some?  You'll have to look at another post to find out what happened with my car (and everything else) and why I was totally terrified to drive around.


Once the meat fell apart easily (6 hours was plenty of time), I took both pieces of tenderloin out of the slow cooker and shredded them.  Mixed in the sauces and portioned on buns.

I like to use the D'Italiano Crustini buns.  They are big and soft and yummy and, in my opinion, they are perfect for pulled pork.

I did run into a situation after the pork was taken out of the slow cooker, shredded, and had the BBQ sauce added.  The pork had cooled off enough to actually be cold.  If I had been doing only one flavour of BBQ sauce, I would have just thrown the pork back into the slow cooker and warmed it back up in there.  But since I was doing two flavours of sauce, I preheated the oven to 300 degrees and threw the pork in for about 20 minutes until it was warmed back up.

And it was perfect.  Tender, moist, and juicy.  I really liked the Sweet Baby Ray's sauce.

So - I can't decide between the "root beer method" or the "beef broth method".  I guess it doesn't really matter.  Just as I'd thought, I couldn't tell what it'd been cooked in.

Either way - it's still delicious!

Here are the details from today's recipe.

Pulled Pork
2 lbs pork tenderloin
14 oz beef broth
1/4 cup brewed coffee
1 tbsp liquid smoke
Your favorite BBQ sauce

Combine all in slow cooker.  Cook on low setting for 6-7 hours or until meat shreds easily.  Shred with two forks and add favorite BBQ sauce.  Serve on buns.

And enjoy!

This is the Cane Girl - signing off.

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