So pork shoulder isn’t all that cute to photograph. (Who would’ve guessed?) Luckily, my pig-shaped cutting board is and was able to act as a stand-in for my three main ingredients for stellar pulled pork — pork (obviously), a fab BBQ sauce (Stubb’s is delicious and its spicy factor was a perfect pairing for the creamy cole slaw I made) and root beer.
That’s right — root beer.
My favorite recipe for pulled pork came from a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that Kyle’s mother bought him to bring to college. Simply, dump your pork into a crock pot and let it cook on low for 7-8 hours partially submerged in root beer. Not diet root beer, but full sugar, full calorie root beer. I like the nice frothy kinds. Mmm…
Basically: I place my pork (3-5 lbs) on a bed of sliced white onions in my crock pot and drain out the root beer after 7 hours (in a process I like to call, Rachel makes a huge greasy, sticky mess while praying she doesn’t dump her entire pork loin into the sink.) Then I shred within the crock pot, top with a hefty dose of BBQ sauce and allow it to cook in the sauce for an additional hour before serving on soft, pillowy Martin’s potato rolls, topped with a big ol’ dollop of cole slaw.
I’ve made a few minor tweaks to the recipe over the past few years and am a firm believer that no pulled pork is complete without a heaping serving of cole slaw so that also left some room for experimentation. This time, I made creamy cilantro-lime cole slaw from Epicurious. I made a few adjustments to the recipe based on the advice of reviews but overall stuck with the main requirements.
Creamy Cilantro-Lime Cole Slaw
adapted from Epicurious
8 cups shredded cabbage (I used a mix of red cabbage, carrots and regular cabbage that I found at my grocer.)
4 thinly chopped green onions (chop from the middle, giving you half white and half green)
1 Serrano chile, finely chopped with seeds (leave out the seeds if you don’t want the heat)
1/3 cup light mayo
3/4 cup light sour cream
2 Tbs seasoned rice vinegar
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
2 Tbs lime juice
1 tsp lime zest
Whisk together mayo, vinegar, lime juice and sour cream.
Fold in chopped cilantro, lime zest and Serrano chile.
Put cabbage and green onions in large bowl, cover in dressing and stir to combine.
Salt and pepper to taste, refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.