Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thanks, house. [RECIPE]

The crockpot totally makes me nervous now.

Like, even though it's supposed to be all SO easy just put meat in there in the morning and it will be ready when you get home, I still expect to come home to a house that smells like house rather than like dinner. Because of last time when my house smelled nothing like pot roast and a lot like plain old house and I became sad.

I want my house to smell like dinner when I get home. Is that too much to ask? To have my house cook my dinner?

Well, perhaps that IS too much to ask, but in my whimsical little imagination that's what's happened when I come home and the house smells like dinner. I might even think to myself, "Thanks for making dinner, house. You are the best! Let's have drinks!"

I said that I *might* think that. MIGHT.


Last night I came home and the house smelled like dinner! WOO! Thanks house!

I mean, nothing...

Admittedly, it didn't smell super good but it did smell like dinner. Which is what I've been asking for after all. Strangely though, while it did smell like dinner, it more specifically smelled like a dinner that had gone awry.

Like kinda too tangy or sour or something.

Turns out though, that's just how Spicy Pulled Pork smells when it's been hanging out in the crockpot with a ton of tomato sauce and onions and adobo sauce all day. Too tangy. But, thankfully, the closer you get to the pot, the better it starts to smell. And when you're face is IN the pot, searching desperately for a palatable smell (and confirmation that you will not have to search the dregs of the fridge to make Back Up Dinner), that's when it smells the best.

In fact, it smells downright delicious and just how you might hope for spicy pulled pork to smell. Like YUM.

By the way, this is another one of those things I'm learning about the crockpot: sometimes it doesn't smell super good when meat cooks for 8 hours in your house. In theory it should, but sometimes it really doesn't. Like the pot roast. It smelled like SUPAH pot roasty, which - not 100% yum. I'm just saying that's how I felt.

Here's another thing I've learned about the crockpot: Things never look good in there either.

Howdy, doody.

I mean, just try and tell me this doesn't look like a giant greasy dog log. Go on, try. I won't believe you. It looks downright NAST. (And no, I did not forget the "y". I say that - "nast". Because I don't have time for your fancy extra letters that are only sometimes vowels. Jerks.)

ANYWAY, if the food doesn't look good or sometimes smell so good, it should have to taste really good. Right? Yes, this is what I think.

And, in the case of this pork, it did. Taste ruuully good, that is. Phew.

And because it proved to be edible so I didn't have to go making the Mystery Back-up Dinner Casserole or whatever, I made some coleslaw to go with it, from all the many cabbages in the farm share.

(Sidenote: I didn't realize we'd be getting so much cabbage. What the F do you do with a lot of cabbage? Ideas? HELP.)

And because I like to share so that you too can enjoy a house that smells like a sour pork sock, here's how I bastardized the original recipe. Plus, the coleslaw recipe which I loved but Bubba said, "needed something."

Um, k.

Southern-Style (or so I'm told) Pulled Pork
Adapted from Canela & Comino's Spicy Pulled Pork
My changes in bold

1/2 medium onion, chopped
6 oz tomato paste
2 T adobo sauce
1 t ground oregano
2 t salt
1/2 t ground pepper
3 1/2 lb pork shoulder, tied
2 cups of water
2 T chipotle hot sauce

To make
In the crockpot pot, combine tomato paste and water until blended. Then add onion, adobo sauce, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

Toss that big ol' piece of meat in there and turn to coat. Put the lid on and cook on 350 or "medium high" or whatever your crock associates with 350 degrees, for about 8 hours.

Transfer to a large bowl and, after removing ties, shred. Remove the fat between the sections as you go if that kind of stuff makes you want TO GAG as it does me. Then shred it up with a couple forks all SUPAH easy like Sunday morning. It's so easy, you'll laugh out loud. Set it aside while you continue laughing. It's good to laugh.

Seriously. I laughed as I conquered the pork. It was a big weird moment.

Grab a heat proof bowl and wire strainer and then pour the drippings through the strainer into the bowl. Discard the mess in your strainer and try not to barf the whole time it's pouring out. Gloop. Gloop. EW.

Pour your strained juicy bounty over your newly shredded pork and toss it up with the chipotle sauce.

Serve with warm tortillas (flour if you're Bubba or corn if you're me) and my Too Big Coleslaw (see recipe below).

Bubba said that if I served this to his mom (who is a Southern gal), she'd totally think it was Southern pulled pork rather than spicy Peruvian pulled pork, which is I believe, what this original recipe was going for.

This was my proper plate. With the corn tortillas and all.

Either way, very good.

Finny's Too Big Coleslaw
Adapted from Joy of Cooking's coleslaw

1/4 head of red cabbage, chopped wide
1/4 head of green cabbage, chopped wide
1 carrot, sliced wide
1/2 c cider vinegar
1 T celery seed
2 T mayo
1 T sugar
1/2 T fresh ground black pepper

I didn't set out to make this "Too Big" but, after Bubba spent some annoying minutes trying to spear the slaw to no avail, he became sad and felt that it was "too big" to get a proper forkful. I, however, found this helpful with the eating pace. Otherwise I would shove it in so fast I might not enjoy it.

And it was good.

Anyway, to make:

Mix this whole mess in a big bowl and let it sit for a while (10 mins?) while you get forks and drinks and things. Serve it up alongside your awesome pulled pork and feel free to jam some in the tortilla. It's best that way. And then you also don't mind the Too Bigness.

Immediately following this photograph, all that coleslaw went in with the pork, there.
Good times.


  1. 3 things...
    -Yum. That looks awesome. Especially with the coleslaw.
    -In your mind, does your house have the same voice as Pierce Brosnan? 'Cause Bubba better watch his back if so.
    -I've got several yummy recipes for cabbage, but haven't really gotten around to posting them. I'll get on that. (pickled in jalapeno juice, Biticks, panfried)

  2. Crockpot is the way to go!

    Haven't done the pulled pork sandwiches yet... looks good though.

    We tried an apple pork crockpot recipe a few weeks ago.... it was pretty good.

  3. That looks so good!!! But yeah- not until you shredded it.

  4. Mmmm, pork . . .

    And tell Bubba that if his only comment is going to be something annoyingly vague and yet negative like "It needs something," he'd be better off eating the food without complaint until he figures out what he thinks it needs.

    Just a suggestion. Can you tell I don't dig critiques from those who have not contributed to the cookery? Suggestions, perhaps, but complaints--no.

  5. Yum! And look at you making your own coleslaw, and not just getting it from a bag! Sounds like you're happier with your pulled meat that we were with our recent pulled beef (with a very similar recipe!). The pulled pork faired much better, but that was with some bottled BBQ.

  6. Wendy - Yeah it was gooooooooooood! I froze some so we can relive this moment during a busy week when I don't have time to even turn on the crockpot.

    Now that you've suggested it, my house DOES have the voice of Pierce Brosnan (a la that Simpsons episode...love it!) But, Bubba's younger, so I think he still wins out.

    What are Biticks? What is this panfrying you speak of?

    Trailing - Honestly, the second day sandwiches are the best reason to make this. SO GOOD.

    Nell - Yeah, and then it barely looked good. This is more of a "don't look just taste" kind of recipe.

    Kristin - Hehe - well, I'd barely call it complaining - more like, commenting. Lord knows he'll eat anything I cook and ask for seconds (except for beets or tofu) and he does all the dishes, so I'm OK with it.

    Can you tell I'm trying to accept it as "constructive criticism"? I think he just knows how close it is to perfect and wants to help it on its way.

    Either way, he's been eating it for lunch ever since and says it was awesome on a roll with some chips. I bet.

    Not that I wouldn't like to know "what it needs", but since I like it just fine (except maybe I could have shredded it properly but whatever), I'll just keep making it like this. SO THERE.

    Jeph - My god how many times can we make comments about pulling meat before someone makes a joke?!

    Also, yes, I like this coleslaw recipe. You don't need red and green cabbage, but since I had it, I used it. Try it out! Don't forget the celery seeds and lots of vinegar, that's what makes it good.

  7. Ooooh, with tortillas -- that looks awesome! I've only seen pulled pork on buns and I'm not a big bun fan (get your mind outta the gutter -- I know you!) so, I'm going to try the tortilla method. Thanks for sharing!

    Oh...cabbage...cabbage rolls and steamed cabbage with butter and s&p. Yeah, boring, but you asked!

  8. I love cabbage and I'm not even ashamed to say it. One of my favorite "recipes" (hardly) is for caramelized onions, sauteed cabbage and noodles with butter. Delish but full of The Fat.

    Then there is delicious cabbage soup. But though the soup is also delish, you and Bubba will be producing your own air freshener after eating it. And "fresh"-ener is maybe the wrong word.

  9. Ok, talk about great minds and all that. I used our crock pot for the first time in eons today and made pretty much the same thing. Only I used BBQ sauce and we had it on sammich rolls. But our house didn't smell like dinner when I got home, it just smelled like warm. (I believe heat has a scent.) (I know, I'm a freak.)

  10. Howdy Doody. I was dying laughing in my office. This is why I shouldn't read blogs at work! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

  11. I batch of homemade cabbage rolls will kill one of your cabbages. Yummmm. They are damn good too.

    In a large pot put one large can of tomato sauce, 2 small cans of tomato paste. Mix and fill with water until the pot is 3/4 of the way full.
    For your meat mixture: 1 1/2 lbs raw ground beef, 1 onion, 2 egg, and 1 1/2-2 cups rice, salt and peppar. Mix together with your hands. You may have to add more rice if there doesnt look like enough.
    For you cabbage: Boil a large pot of water. Peel the nasty (or nast) leaves off, usually just the outer layer. Set the whole cabbage into the boiling water for a few minutes until the next layer is soft. Remove the soft outer leaves and fill with meat mixture. Wrap and secure with toothpicks. Continue on until you either run out of meat or the cabbage is getting to hard to work with. Cut the cabbage into quaters and put everything into your tomato sauce. Simmer for about 3 hours.
    We make mashed potatoes to go with it. Enjoy

  12. Hm, I wonder if a nice jerk sauce would go well with my pulled meat?


    You mean like that?

    ooh - I bet this stuff WOULD be good with a Caribbean jerk sauce on it!

  13. Btw - have you ever had/heard of beirochs? My grandmothers out in Kansas would make it. It's a mix of shredded cabbage and ground beef (and not much for seasoning!) cooked together, then wrapped in roll dough, left to rise a little, and then baked. The original hot pocket - super handy to take out to the guys working in the fields - they each got a handy little meal wrapped up in the baked bread dough. SOOO GOOD!

  14. mmm... those sound great! if you are into the blog tagging thing, i tagged you on my blog

  15. For the cabbage rolls- to avoid burnt fingers from boiling the leaves - freeze the head of cabbage. The leaves will peel off. You just need to leave it in there overnight (ya know how frost works *wink*). Or you can be super lazy like I am and make unstuffed cabbage rolls - make them in a skillet with all the ingredients, instead of rolling just add shredded cabbage instead (I do the same with peppers, I don't stuff peppers I just chop and add to the skillet). You can also add it to any vegetable soup. We like to also core and cut a cabbage into quarters, wrap in foil with a chunk of butter and some salt and pepper and grill or bake until you can squeeze the package (means the cabbage is soft). Just put in at the temp at whatever you're baking a meatloaf or whatever - it'll take about as long as a potato or so, depends on how big and thick it's cut, as well as the temp.

    We also like this:

    Cabbage Beef Soup
    Serving Size: 6

    1/2 small cabbage head, shredded
    1 large onion, chopped
    5 1/2 cups tomato juice
    2 cups beef broth
    2 tablespoons molasses
    2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    2 teaspoons salt
    1 bay leaf
    3 black peppercorns
    4 allspice berries
    1 pound extra lean ground beef
    2 tablespoons dried dill weed
    1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

    Combine cabbage, onion, tomato juice, and beef broth. Bring to a boil.

    Add molasses, Worcestershire sauce, salt, bay leaf, pepper and allspice. Crumble in ground beef, dill and garlic powder. Simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

    Serve hot.

    Source: The Book of Regional American Cooking: Heartland

    Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 296 Calories; 14g Fat (39.7% calories from fat); 21g Protein; 25g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 52mg Cholesterol; 2065mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 2 1/2 Lean Meat; 2 1/2 Vegetable; 1 1/2 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

  16. I don't eat pork, or dog doody, but this does look good. I sent it on to my pork eating friends.

    Funny funny post. I'm still laughing. Out loud.

  17. Glad you ended up liking it in the end! Yours looks terrific and I am sure it was a great winter meal! Thanks for the link!


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