Friday, December 19, 2014

Pork Possibilities!

I was so excited when I found out that our next sponsor was Hamilton Beach! The slow cooker I have been using for the past few years was a 2 quart high/low model. The  Hamilton Beach Set & Forget® 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker puts that old one to shame! This is a wonderful slow cooker and the large 6 quart size is perfect around the holidays to cook a large quantity of food for friends and family. Put it in the night before or morning of and a great meal is cooking while you can focus on other things like actually getting a chance to enjoy your company! It truly makes cooking for a crowd much easier.

I cooked a large piece of pork that made many, many meals for my husband and I. The great thing is that there are so many possibilities for the leftovers!

Pulled Pork with Sweet and Spicy Rub

8 pound pork shoulder
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons hot paprika
1 Tablespoon hot chili powder
1 Tablespoon granulated onion
1 Tablespoon granulated garlic powder
1 Tablespoon mustard powder
10-15 good grinds each of salt and pepper
1 large onion, sliced thick
Avocado oil

Trim the excess fat from the pork shoulder. Mix the next 7 ingredients in a small mixing bowl with a fork. Do it slowly and use the fork to break up the brown sugar until everything is incorporated. I did these 2 steps the day before, wrapped the shoulder in saran wrap and let it rest in the fridge until the next morning.
When you are ready for the slow-cooker, take out the pork from the fridge and let it sit a while to get back to room temperature. Heat up a large (large!) sauté pan over medium-high heat and drizzle a little avocado oil to coat the pan.  Carefully sear all sides of the meat. Slice a large union into thick slices.  Layer them on the bottom of the slow cooker and place the pork on top. Set & Forget it on low for 12 hours.
The pork will be so tender the bone comes right out and the meat will shred easily with forks.  The first night I served the pork with sides requested by my husband for a delicious pork dinner: Arroz con Gandules and Fresh Corn.
Spicy BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Slaw
Leftover pulled pork
Rolls of your choice
Spicy Chipotle BBQ Sauce:
½ small onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup cider vinegar
½ cup yellow mustard
1/3 cup brown sugar
few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
3 chipolte peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
1 tablespoon avocado oil
Simple Slaw:
1 small head cabbage, sliced
1 large carrot, shredded
1 small onion, sliced thin
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon celery seed
salt and pepper, to taste
To start the ketchup, heat a sauce pan over medium heat and all the avocado oil to coat. Add the onion and garlic and allow to sweat out for approx. 5 minutes. Next, add the ketchup, vinegar mustard, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and chipotle peppers. Stir and mix everything together.  Let simmer for about an hour and a half.
The slaw is easy and simple. Mix together well the cabbage, carrots and onion. Then add the mayonnaise, vinegar, celery seed and salt and pepper. Mix together again until nicely dressed.
To serve:
I heated up some leftover pork in a non-stick skillet, use your desired amount. No need to add any extra oil. Once the pork has become warm, add enough sauce to your liking. I like extra sauce! Allow to combine with the pork and heat through. I like to serve this on little potato rolls that have been toasted with the slaw right on top!
BBQ Pulled Pork Mac n’ Cheese
Leftover pulled pork
Cheddar Mac n’ Cheese:
1 short cut pound pasta, I used Cellentani
½ stick butter
¼ cup whole wheat flour
2 cups milk, I used 2%
1 cup sharp yellow cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup sharp white cedar cheese, shredded
¼ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
few dashes of hot sauce, use your favorite I used Franks Red Hot
½ teaspoon mustard powder
fresh ground pepper, to taste
Boil the pasta in a large pot until al dente, read the box for correct cooking times.
In a large pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Once the butter is all melted, add the whole wheat flour and stir until it comes together and becomes darker in color.  Then add the milk, hot sauce, mustard powder and fresh ground pepper. Stir gently to combine and until the milk becomes thick. Continue to stir and add in the cheese, a bit at a time. Take off the heat and toss with the pasta until the sauce and pasta is all combined.
To serve:
I served this the next day using leftovers, so all I needed to do with heat and combine everything through.
In a non-stick sauté pan, heat up the desired amount of pork. Once it warms through, add the desired amount of BBQ sauce until both are hot and combined. Do this on one side of the pan so you can heat up the mac n’ cheese on the other side (again, your desired amount.) Once the pork and pasta are all warm, mix it all together!
This was one of my husband’s favorite ways to eat the pork. Other great uses for leftover pulled pork include nachos, tacos, pizza, quesadillas, empanadas, soup, chili.. there are tons of possibilities! 

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