Every so often, maybe more than I’d like to admit, I have to make a point to remind myself to slow down. Stop and breathe. Look around at the life I’m lucky enough to have been plunked into and relish a little more in how wonderful it is.
I’ve always struggled with anxiety and it makes it extremely difficult for me to just be still. If my mind isn’t completely occupied with ideas, projects and plans, I feel a little uneasy. The same can often be said about my cooking – you’ll rarely find a recipe that takes more than 30 minutes to throw together. It’s quick and simple so you can move onto the next best thing. You get it, right? (I like to assume you’re all just like me. I’m sure you’re not. The world would be a hideous mess if it were filled with that many me’s).
Summer is the perfect time to be slow. Not only because it’s too hot to think or do anything but sit stark & motionless in front of a fan, but because everything is slow like sticky honey in the summer. Plans are more laissez faire, time becomes more of a suggestion than a necessity, drinks are sipped lazily, and, much to my (and hopefully yours) enjoyment, the food becomes less hurried, too.
I made this low and slow Texas Style Pulled Pork from Homesick Texan over the weekend and, much like the pork shoulder that came out of the oven after 7 glorious hours, I found myself melting in it’s presence. It was tender, succulent and heavily spiced with the flavours of Texas. As someone who isn’t fond of the overly sauced, crockpot-style pulled pork (not that I don’t appreciate it’s ease and convenience, it’s just too sweet for my taste), I was shocked at how much I bonded with this humble hunk of pork. I might even like it more than the Pork Carnitas (also from Homesick Texan – Lisa knows how to do meat better than most) that graced our plates earlier this Spring. It’s simple, consisting of little more than a homemade spice rub, pork shoulder, coleslaw and buns (really! That’s it!). It’s slow food that makes me wonder why I don’t cook like this more often… and then I remember that I rarely have 7 hours of free time. But when you do, and it’s worth finding the time, this is what you should do with those 7 hours.
Texas-Style Chipotle-Coffee Pulled Pork
adapted from Homesick Texan
makes about 6 regular sized sandwiches, or 12 sliders
I did these in both slider and regular sized buns, either is delicious. Coleslaw is a must! It’s limey, light and cuts through the richness of the pork.
I skipped the 8 hour rest in the fridge and was happy with the results just the same. But if you do have time, pop the spice-rubbed (raw) pork in the fridge for 8 hours before cooking. I bet the spiced mixture gets that much sexier in those 8 hours.
1 4-pound bone-in pork shoulder
1 1/2 cups favourite barbecue sauce
Chipotle-Coffee rub (recipe to follow)
Cilantro-Jalapeno Slaw (recipe to follow)
sesame buns, toasted
Preheat oven to 250.
Coat the pork shoulder on all sides with the rub (how amazing does it smell, right?!). Drizzle a large roasting pan with 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and place the roast in. Pop in the oven, uncovered, for 7-8 hours.
Remove from the oven and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Using a fork, start shredding the pork. You might need to use a knife to slice through the spice bark, but once you’re through, the meat literally falls right out of it’s crust. Take a little of the bark, chop it up and toss it into the pulled pork mixture for some extra spiced-up flavour. Toss with 1 cup of the barbecue sauce and serve extra on the side for those who want more.
Spoon a generous amount of the pork onto the toasted buns and top with coleslaw. And don’t forget to serve with a very cold beer!
Chipotle-Coffee Spice Rub
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup of finely ground dark coffee
1/4 cup paprika
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp chipotle powder
2 tsp granulated garlic
2 tsp of cinnamon
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp allspice
Mix all spices until no lumps remain. You might not use all the rub, so have a container at the ready for the leftovers.
adapted from Homesick Texan
4 cups red or green cabbage, shredded
4 tbsp cilantro
2 jalapenos, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced julienned
1/3 cup of mayonnaise
4 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp green onions, sliced thin
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar (you can use apple cider vinegar, too)
1 cloves garlic pressed or minced
Mix cabbage, cilantro and julienned jalapenos. Whisk the mayo, lime, vinegar, green onion and garlic until smooth. Toss with the slaw and let it chill in the fridge for 30 minutes (at least).