Sunday, May 30, 2010

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches


It's Memorial Day weekend, and that means a couple months of sweet corn, burgers, ribs, and pulled pork sandwiches.  This pulled pork recipe, like many others of its kind, calls for being made in an oven and not the grill.  I find that's also the case for ribs, and I've come to prefer making ribs in the oven to avoid that char you get so easily on the grill.  I also love how easy this pulled pork is -- just marinate, cover and bake for a few hours the next day, pull apart, and you're done.  And unlike other pulled pork recipes I've tried, this one is truly pull-apart tender; no shredding with your knife is required.  It's a great hot-weather dish.

Raised Bed
And speaking of hot weather, my little vegetable and herb garden is taking off.  We prepared a raised bed for the first time in our yard.  Removing the sod was the hardest part, and we kept the rest simple.  No poured concrete or deep barriers, since it is a rented house after all.  We've got four varieties of tomatoes --Early Girl (top right), Sun Sugar (a yellow variety), Roma, and Grape -- along with parsley, chives, buttercrunch lettuce, and eggplant.  There was originally more lettuce, but some of the young plants got drowned in heavy rain, as did my strawberry plants.  I cursed Mother Nature and went off to get more strawberry plants, but the store was all out except for what they called these urban planters.  It was more than I planned to spend, but it's got almost a dozen strawberry plants, and a cool pot.  It already has some green fruit and beautiful white flowers.  I'm excited for my upcoming summer bounty!

That includes peonies.  I'm crazy about these flowers.  Too bad they're such slow growers and last so briefly.  I planted the one in the top right photo a few years ago, and it finally had one bloom this year.  Just one bloom.  I had gotten so impatient I bought a potted one (lower left), and it also yielded exactly one bloom.  I just can't win.  At top left is a shrub that blooms every spring, but I have no idea what it is.  The Sun Sugar tomatoes, at bottom right, have begun to sprout flowers that will bear the fruit.

So back to that pulled pork...

Pulled Pork
I used a tenderloin instead of the pork butt the recipe calls for, since that was what I had in the freezer.  I was concerned it might turn out dry because tenderloin isn't as fatty as butt (go ahead, snicker), but you might be able to see that this tenderloin had some fat.  It was also half the size the recipe called for, but that's OK for our household of two.  We've still got leftovers for today!  I also have a confession: I didn't use the barbecue sauce the recipe includes, or even make my own.  I resorted to a storebought bottled sauce, but it was still delicious.  Come on, I had to work Memorial Day weekend!

Barbecued Pork Sandwich
Bruce and Eric Bromberg via Martha Stewart Show
16 cloves garlic, peeled
2 small yellow onions, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 large rib celery, chopped
3 tablespoons ground cumin
¼ cup coarse salt
1 (5-pound) pork butt
4 cups Barbecue Sauce
Shredded iceberg lettuce, for serving
6 to 8 ciabatta rolls, halved horizontally, soft centers removed, toasted, for serving

Place garlic, onions, carrot, celery, cumin, and salt in the bowl of a food processor; process until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add ½ cup water; process until well combined. Place pork in a large, deep roasting pan. Rub pork generously with vegetable puree; cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add enough water to the roasting pan so that it comes halfway up the sides of the pork. Cover pan tightly with parchment paper-lined aluminum foil and transfer to oven. Bake until pork is very tender and falling apart, about 5 hours, checking pan occasionally to make sure water has not evaporated and adding more water as necessary.

Remove pork from oven. Let stand until cool enough to handle. (At this point, pork may be kept refrigerated and covered for up to 5 days.)

Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.

Shred pork with a fork or pull apart using your fingers; discard any excess fat. In a large baking dish, combine shredded pork with 3 cups barbecue sauce. Transfer to oven and cook until mixture is heated through a bubbly, 5 to 10 minutes.

Divide pork and shredded lettuce evenly among rolls. Serve with remaining cup of barbecue sauce, pickles, and coleslaw.

Makes 6 to 8 sandwiches


  1. this was yummy!! perfectly moist and just the right amount of bbq sauce:-)

  2. The pork and the peonies look delightful! Great pics!

  3. Your making me wish I wasn't a vegetarian!

  4. Thanks, guys! The mystery flower seems to be a rhododendron, according to Internet searches.


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