The other day, “Monk” was doing a little shopping at the local grocery store and I asked her to pick up a little meat for dinner. I was not specific in any way as to what she should buy, so to my surprise, she returns home with two pork picnic shoulders. She was in the mood for some red braised pork and not knowing the amount of time it takes to braise, she assumed it would be on the “menu du jour.” The long and the short of it, I made it “happ’n Capt’n” and in less than 2 hours, we had a tasty and gorgeous red braised pork shoulder for dinner. Where the story really begins is when I started thinking about what to do with the other picnic shoulder.
For some strange reason, I had a hankering for a good pulled pork sandwich. I’ve recently been experimenting and updating classic comfort foods that I rarely cook, so I decided to cook the picnic shoulder sous vide and make “pulled pork sammies” for dinner the next day. Knowing that I had a full day of meetings and appointments on Monday, this fell perfectly into “my master plan.” While my red braised pork was simmering away, I quickly boned out the shoulder and applied a simple dry rub of smoked paprika, salt, black pepper and demerara sugar. I vacuum sealed the dry rubbed meat with a large plush of thyme and about 12 cloves of crushed garlic. I set my water bath at 173deg F and let it “do it’s thang” for the next 24 hours.
The next day, on my way home from a busy day of running around, I dropped by the local grocery store and picked up the last few ingredients that we would need for dinner. Fortunately, I have a fairly well stocked kitchen at home, so there was very little that I needed to buy. Now this is one of the major reasons why I love to cook sous vide at home, because having not even thought about this piece of meat for the past 24 hours, I knew it would be done perfectly for dinner and what’s more convenient and tasty than that? So I got home, “kissed the wife and kids” and within 3o minutes we had dinner on the table. To round out the pulled pork sandwich, I made a few delicious, but simple garnishes.
Yowza! BBQ Sauce
Ketchup, garlic, soy sauce, Worchestershire sauce, Nespresso, demerara sugar, sherry vinegar, Meyer lemon, salt, black pepper, Frank’s hot sauce
Carrot and Cabbage Coleslaw
Carrot, cabbage, shallot, Italian parsley, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, sugar, salt
Radish, Scallion and Parsley Salad
Radish, scallion, parsley, salt, extra virgin olive oil
After quickly “banging out” all the garnish, I took my “big ol’ bag o’ pork” out of the water bath, removed the skin and thyme stems from the picnic shoulder and proceeded to shred the meat with “latex gloved hands.” The meat was wonderful, tender, moist, well seasoned and absolutely scrumptuos. When all the meat was pulled and the juices were all re-incorporated into the meat, I added the Yowza!BBQ sauce, adjusted the seasoning with a touch of salt and pepper and we were off to the races.
The result was an amazing pulled pork sandwich with succulent and flavourful meat, fresh, bright flavors and contrasting textures from the coleslaw and radish salad. What a delicious, inexpensive and convenient dinner at home. I’ve had my share of pulled pork sandwiches, but have never had one that made me say wow. In fact, I can’t say that I’m a big fan of pulled pork at all. In most cases the pulled pork I’ve eaten has tended to be on the dry side and the accouterments and sauce which accompanied the pork was not usually to my taste. This sandwich however, made me say Yowza! and by far it’s the best pulled pork sandwich I’ve ever tasted. Even “Monk” agrees and that’s why it’s my Yowza! Moment #4.
Until my next Yowza! moment, peace be unto you.