So what does one do with pulled pork leftovers – other than heat them back up?
Well this guy – two thumbs pointing at me – makes something even more awesome. Just you wait and see…
To get the process of making pulled pork even more awesome started you will need a few ingredients:
- Bourbon – for this batch I chose Michter’s Small Batch Sour Mash
- Maple Syrup – we went with Macdonald’s Maple Syrup (of course I ordered it off of Amazon Fresh)
- Red onion
- Garlic – lots of it
- Smoked Paprika and other spices with some “heat”
- Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce
Once you have all of these marvelous ingredients at hand you get to get to work on delivering an outstanding dish to your dining table.
Smash up the garlic cloves, dice up the red onions and dump in to a Dutch Oven or heavy pan with some butter and a dash of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil). Start sweating down the garlic and onions until they start to soften up.
Then comes the “adult” part of this recipe – pour in a few dashes of bourbon. The garlic and onions will soak it up and it’ll smell like heaven in a dutch oven.
And with all of the talk lately of sins in the kitchen and culinary gastronomy and using liquor to cook – why not put some bourbon in pulled pork. Russell on the Next Food Network Star put bourbon and bacon in ice cream in his promo video with Bennet’s ice cream
Sweat it for another few minutes and then drop in the spices and let those soak up with a bit of the bourbon and the sweat from the garlic and onions. They’ll take on this beautiful dark brick/burnt sienna color that reminds me of a late sunset in Joshua Tree.
As the garlic and onions soak up all of this color and bourbon and spice it is time to unleash the pulled pork in to the mix. Unload whatever leftover pulled pork you have in to the dutch oven or heavy pan and stir it around to start integrating the garlic, onions and sauces. This may take a few minutes, so it is the perfect time to crack open a cold beer and start to relax before you put on the finishing touches.
And now for the first of the three finishing touches – this pulled pork needs a bit of sweetness and stickiness. Some people would turn to honey, but I think that is too sticky for this. And maple syrup goes fantastically with bourbon – so it is a match made in heaven.
Pour a few glugs in – no measuring at this part of the recipe. If you want it sweeter, then add more. If your sauce is already pretty loose then don’t add to much or it may get too soupy. But if your sauce is clumpy then add away.
So many ways to tweak these recipes. And I want you to remember that cooking like this is not like baking. Pulled pork and other slow cooked dishes have more leniency for experimentation and almost beg for trying new things to expand your palate and your comfort levels of tinkering in the kitchen (more on that in another post).
Once the maple syrup is starting to thicken up we add our final ingredient and prepare for our final step.
Break open the leftover Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce – since I’m betting you bought a Costco sized jug just like I did. I mean, why waste money on a tiny bottle when Costco can sell me enough to fill a kiddy pool. I can almost always find ways to use it all.
Pour in a few glugs and just like with the maple syrup – watch for the consistency and thickness. Too much sauce and it gets watery or soupy. Too little and it is clumpy. Neither are good.
With some practice you’ll be able to tell almost on sight that you’ve reached the right thickness. And, once you’ve reached that thickness then turn the heat up. You want it hot enough to heat everything through and thicken that sauce up, so it coats and almost caramelizes the leftover pulled pork.
It won’t take long, so don’t go running outside to water the plants or downstairs to do a load of laundry. Sit in the kitchen with your cold beer and get some buns or grilled bread or coleslaw ready, while you watch your masterpiece come to life. This should only take 5-10 minutes and you’ll quickly see it get extra ooey and gooey and hit a magic spot of yumminess.
Take it off the heat and serve it up before it sets and thickens up too much more. Crack open some cold ones and pass it all around. Then remind everyone how hard you slaved in the kitchen tinkering with your recipe and regale them with the fun ingredients – you’ll sound like some Food Network star in the making or a pompous windbag if you go too far, so watch how much you go on and on…
But most importantly enjoy being creative with your leftovers and enjoy sharing your creations with your family and friends.
Up next – Shun Premier knife reviews and Seabreeze Farms Toulouse and farmers market sweet onion sandwiches…