Friday, February 15, 2013

*Crock Pot* Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Let me share a little story with ya :)

Holly and Marian 2005
Not too long before he asked me to be his bride
My soon to be family
 Fall 2005

It was the first time I ever come to eat at my now husbands house. 

We went into the basement where there was a full kitchen and a strong smell of meat products.

"Let me show you my smoke house" my now Father-in-law said.

Down the basement hall was a wooden door that lead to a chilly room. He opened the door and as I lifted my eyes, there, to my horror, were pig products hanging from the ceiling and walls. A boars head, as well as sausage and pigs feet were draped around like festive decoration. In my mind I could hear the "re-re-re-re" play from the horror movies. I believed I gasped. I believe they laughed.

Proudly, my Husbands Father told me how he would go to Amish country to "cut a pig," bring it home and make smoked sausage and all sorts of pork products. Who knew you could even do this? Or that it was even legal?! I know, Im slightly ignorant as to obtaining food OUTSIDE a grocery store. 

As we ate our "Mitch" (Mici) (LOL) at the table in the basement, all I could think of was that piggies head swinging from the ceiling. As I looked at my then sweet boyfriend and his family cutting up their pork and potatoes, I quickly realized I had been initiated into something that was so foreign to me (no pun intended?!)..... I was marrying into a Romanian family.

Who would've thought that a couple years later I would get a little excited when I heard my Father-in-law was heading to Amish country. This organic meat was unlike anything I had ever bought from the store. And I grew to have a better appreciation for the oink-oink. (However, I am still getting used to my children coming back from grandma and grandpa's house, smelling like they'd been smoked themselves.) Since our entire family had moved to Atlanta I thought the days of cutting a pig in Amish country were over, but no, my Father-in-law still makes the trip every winter because its THAT GOOD. (If you are ever up north, you must make it a priority to go out to Amish country.) 

This time around I made some yummy crock pot pulled pork sandwiches. They were out of this world, crazy good. The meat was so tender that the usually tedious shredding part was easy to do.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches
From Scratch
What you need
1 large bottle of barbecue sauce
(or try and make your own! Even better! That's what i did!) 
2 sliced onions
3 lb boneless pork shoulder
Crock pot 
Baking sheet

Pour 1/4 of your BBQ sauce into the bottom of the crock pot.
Place whole shoulder into crock pot, lay sliced onions over top, and then pour an additional 1/4 of your BBQ sauce over top. 
Cook on low for 6 hrs.
Once the time is up, take out your cookie sheet and lay the pork shoulder on it (keep all juices and onion in crock pot) Remove as much fat as you can from the cooked meat. Then begin to shred. Using 2 forks, just pull apart the meat as best as you can. It will loosen up even more in the second step of cooking. Once all shredded, set aside. 
Next, using a colander, pour the juice and onion contents from your crock pot, separating the onion from the juices. Place shredded meat, strained onions, and the rest of your BBQ sauce into the crock pot. Stir until the meat is well coated. 
Cook on low for an additional 2 hours. I try to stir it every once and a while, as this helps separate the meat even more. 
This will make an ample amount to feed your family and then have some left over. As for a side, this meal always goes well with some potato chips and a cold pop :) 

This meal can be frozen well. Just separate into individual servings in your glad ware freezer containers and once completely cooled stick in the freezer. Just thaw and warm up when ready to eat.

To make home made BBQ sauce
These ingredients will be a great base for any homemade BBQ sauce. You might want to play around as it cooks in the sauce pan to see if you'd like it more sweet or more spicy. You do not need to use all the ingredients that I did, like I said make it your own! For pulled pork sandwiches I double this recipe. But to just make a jar to have in the fridge as a condiment I use this recipe as is.

Another perk of being married to a Romanian-
Raw Honey :)
Here it is
1/4 Cup minced onion
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp smoked paprika 
6 Oz can tomato paste
1 Tbsp liquid smoke
1/2 Cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 Cup cold water
1/2 Cup ketchup
3 Tbsp mustard
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 Tsp ground cloves
1/4 Tsp cinnamon
1/4 Cup olive oil
1 Cup of honey
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tsp chili flakes
1 Tbsp Ground pepper
1/2 Tbsp Brown sugar

Mix together in a large sauce pan and simmer for about 30 minutes. It will thicken as it cools. 
Best thing about home made? No high fructose corn syrup, limited sugar and it can be made GFCF.