Friday, July 11, 2008

WFD? Southern Pulled-Pork Sandwiches

My parents returned to British Columbia this week and I returned to blogging catch-up, an overgrown garden, a neglected house, and piles of laundry! We are recovering from the non-stop action that ensued while they were here, not to mention a nasty cold for Yours Truly, and trying to get back to a normal routine, whatever that is!

It is always fun to play tourist in your own town and we had a great time soaking up the culture of the city together: visiting art galleries, catching a few shows at the Jazz festival, window shopping, and of course, dining out. Quebec's beautiful countryside didn't go unnoticed either as we managed to spend three days touring rural Quebec, visiting wineries, local farms, quaint towns and relaxing by lakes. Such fun!

But mostly during their visit we ate!
We feasted on grilled lamb, fresh seafood, BBQ-ed steaks and a cheese fondue and plenty other delicious dishes as I was determined to put a few pounds on my svelte parents.
As usual I was too busy hosting, cooking and mothering to take any photos of our dining enjoyment, let alone half a brain to remember what ingredients I put together, but there was one exception that managed to get partially captured and that was a Sunday afternoon garden party where we stuffed ourselves with pulled pork sandwiches.

Inspired by the cover of Gourmet magazine's June issue,I thought pulled pork would be a great way to go for a hungry group of twenty-five or so close friends and family. This was a very homey menu, perfect for a backyard party, with plenty of comfort food favorites like potato salad and brownies. Guests helped themselves to a table full of food and made their own sandwiches, while paper plates made for easy clean-up.

The menu:

Tortilla chips with guacamole

Southern Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Cole Slaw and Pickles
Potato Salad with Hard-boiled Egg, Baby Cucumber and Radish

Salad of Endive, Pecans, Cheddar and Granny Smith Apple

Homemade Refreshers:
Raspberry Limeaid
Earl Grey Lemon Iced Tea

Brownie Bar

I was determined to keep the menu simple, and almost everything was made the day before. I had to talk myself out of making the recipe for buns in Gourmet and saved time and energy by buying several dozen. I also had a few people bring brownies, so we would have an assortment without me having to bake all afternoon. That helped a lot and so a big "thank you" to those who made brownies!

It was a sweltering hot day, but we kept cool in the shade with the help of some homemade beverages. I made my iced tea with Earl Grey, then added thin slices of lemon and lots of ice just before serving. The day before the party Danny squeezed oodles of lime juice to which I added simple syrup. I stored that concentrated mixture in my fridge and then added cold water, ice and raspberries when I served it. The berries turned it a pretty pink color.

The pulled-pork sandwiches were the highlight of the meal, though: crusty buns, crunchy coleslaw, tender sweet and sour pork. I had tried a few recipes previously and found this one from Martha Stewart to be best suited to my busy schedule. While the Gourmet recipe takes over 8 hours on a charcoal kettle grill with plenty of basting and babysitting, this recipe turned my 12 pounds of pork shoulder into fork-tender shreds in about three hours in my oven. Perfect!

This recipe, together with my simple coleslaw and some buns, you are set to entertain this summer!

Southern Pulled Pork Sandwiches (adapted from Martha Stewart)

Serves 8.

1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Coarse salt and ground pepper

3 pounds boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), cut into 4 equal pieces

1 cup cider vinegar

4 garlic cloves, minced

8 soft sandwich rolls, split

Store-bought barbecue sauce, for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in lower and upper positions. In a small bowl, combine sugar, cayenne, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.
Place pork in a 5-quart Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot; rub with spice mixture.

In a medium bowl, combine vinegar, garlic, and 1 cup water; pour over pork. Cover pot, and place in oven on lower rack. Bake until pork is very tender and separates easily when pulled with a fork, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Transfer pork to a work surface, reserving pan juices. With two forks, shred meat. Transfer to a large bowl, and toss with pan juices to moisten (you may not need all the juices). Pile pork on rolls, and top with barbecue sauce, if desired.


1 1/2 lbs green cabbage, shredded
1 lb purple cabbage, shredded
2 large carrots, grated
7 large radishes, grated
1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
salt and pepper

Toss cabbage, carrots and radishes with salt and pepper in a large bowl.
In another bowl combine mayo, vinegar and sugar. Toss mixture with slaw until well combined. Cover and chill for at least one hour.
May be made up to one day ahead of time and kept chilled.


abigail @ Paper and Cake said...

just discovered your blog today... im very impressed that you have the time to make any meal much less one for your toddler to ceremoniously chuck under his chair.

i look forward to more cake success stories!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I love having guests visit -- it's really the only time we take the opportunity to explore our own area. I always bring my camera, and I get to see everything with a fresh eye.

Katie said...

Yum! That limeade has got my mind spinning...I might have to make some soon :)

Love your blog!

Aimée said...

Hi Abigail- Thanks so much for stopping by UtHC!! Well, we do what we can, right? :)

Hi Lydia- How true! I look forward to actually having a free hand to take more photos when I can actually put the baby down!

Hi Katie- Welcome to UtHC! Good luck with your ambitious travel plans, don't give up the dream!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Sounds like you had some wonderful quality time with your mom & dad...the delicious food just adds to the experience:D

Cheryl Arkison said...

Thank-you for the comments on the Gourmet recipe. It looked good to me, but I too hesitated at the amount of work!

LyB said...

Sounds like you had a fabulous time with your parents. And what a great summer party with loads of wonderful food, everything looks delicious!

Helene said...

Nothing beats pulled pork, colesla, refreshing drinks and company! What a fun time!!

Jen said...

I made a batch of your coleslaw last evening!! So delicious and easy.

Emily said...

Nice berry Arnold Palmer.

I want that sammy!

Madeline said...

Great menu! I love pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw. I'm sure your guests were very happy.

Anonymous said...

Your menu sounds just wonderful! I love pulled pork (actually had it for lunch both yesterday and today!). I've never actually made it before, but I'm going to save your recipe and give it a try.

La Cuisine d'Helene said...

I did not know your parents were living in BC. I really have to try pulled-pork sandwiches someday.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin