A New Style Pulled Pork, Homemade Buns, and How We Got in the Christmas Spirit When It’s Not Even Thanksgiving

There, my longest post title yet.

We,  DH and I, have come to the startling conclusion that we are officially over-the-hill. Way over and sliding down at a brisk rate, wind blowing back our graying locks.

How do I know this all of a sudden? What gave it away alarmingly?

The wrinkled hands? The cover-up-the-grey hair? The oldies music I play on Pandora?

Nope. It’s the AARP, nursing home and toys-for-the-grand-kids commercials we are watching on the Hallmark channel!And we don’t even have grand-kids! But geez! They, the Hallmark channel, are playing nothing but Christmas stories day and night now until Christmas and there is nothing like getting in the Holiday Spirit than by watching sappy, happy romantic Christmas stories where the boy always gets the girl (and visa-versa) and every star you have ever known in your life eventually passes across the screen and some of them you think, “wow, when did they get so old?!” and suddenly you think you are not looking so old after all because, wow, look at them.

I love it.

I can hear you now…”But it’s not even Thanksgiving!”. I know, I know. I keep saying the same thing when I see those shopping ads and go the stores seeing all the Christmas decor. But I kind of like having the option of getting my stuff ahead of time. I don’t always have the money to do all my shopping just before Christmas. Spread it out a little.

Sometimes, around here anyway, we need a little holiday push. We missed the Halloween boat entirely. We have a box somewhere in the rafters labeled ‘Halloween’ and never even got it out. No ghostly string of lights at the door. No cackling green hand in a candy bowl. No Nightmare Before Christmas holiday tree. I couldn’t even find our disk of Nightmare before Christmas! It was just an empty box. Whats up with that!?

I don’t want that to happen at Christmas. We need all the early push we can get. We might even string up lights for the first time outside this year! But don’t hold your breath, it might just be a fleeting thought inspired by the Hallmark Channel.

Which brings me to pulled pork.  Because thats what we had for dinner and we, some of us anyway, were eating in front of the latest Holiday Hallmark movie. And once you watch the first 5 minutes, you just have to watch the rest. Maybe its voodoo, but you just do. It reminds me of when we were kids and there were family friendly Disney movies on every Sunday night. Of course back then most movies were family friendly, but whatever. These movies are rated TV-G, although not all the commercials are very G.None the less, I don’t have to worry about anyone walking by at a particularly sensitive moment. It’s all good clean fun. The bad women wear way too much make-up. Okay, most of the good ones do too. The guys all look like they belong in a Sears ad. A little too pretty maybe. But one mustn’t complain.

Where we I? Oh yes,

I had taken out a frozen boston butt (excuse my language, how gauche), to thaw a couple of days ago, then find it does not fit in my little crock pot, not my new deep covered baker either, so it has to go in my huge, old, la Kirkland iron pot to slow cook in the oven. No worries. I covered it with a variety of seasoning, some from the Pampered Chef like the Buffalo Rub and the Greek Rub as well as some garlic salt, pepper and lots of diced onions (diced with my food chopper). I put it into a 450 degree oven, uncovered, for 1 hour. Yep, that is a pretty darn hot oven. Then after an hour I poured in some apple juice and water, about 1 cup, put a lid on, turned down the heat to 325 and walked away.

I left it for several hours, knowing the longer it baked, the more tender and delicious it would be.

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But I didn’t have any burger buns. Oh no. Guess I will just  have to…. whip some up! It was already 3:30. But burger buns are my specialty, right? Well, more or less. They are easy-breezy.

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So I got the buns going, the meat was melting. What next? I did not have any coleslaw or cabbage so I would have to send someone to the store for me. But I have watched “Chopped” before. If they can make a dessert from nothing but some lemons, goose tongue and Nutella (or whatever), then I should be able to come up with something from my food stocks, right?

The first place I looked, my new go-to place, was The Pampered Chef website. Sure enough, they had one, and only one, at least online, recipe for Carolina Pulled Pork and it fit the bill perfectly. Instead of a coleslaw made with cabbage, it was a slaw made with apples and cucumbers, both of which I had! Boo-ya!

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Now I am going to give you, because I love you, the original recipe, even though it’s not what I did. While I did have my own pork that baked up beautifully, (well, it actually was kind of ugly, but melt-in-your-mouth wonderful), we also had a back-up plan. Pulled pork from Costco. Something along the lines of Jack Daniels barbecue sauce in pulled pork, ready to eat.

So yes, that is cheating, but at least I had a plan B. But as it was, I just mixed their saucy pork with some of my pork, slapped it onto a warm homemade burger bun and topped it with the apple slaw.

Oh yum!

So here is the recipe, even though I did not do the first part this time. I probably will next time, when I get myself some of that Carolina Mustard Barbecue sauce.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

1 tbsp (15 mL) brown sugar

1 tbsp (15 mL) paprika

1 tsp (5 mL) garlic powder

1 tsp (5 mL) dry mustard

1 tsp (5 mL) salt

1/2 tsp (2 mL) coarsely ground black pepper

1   bone-in pork shoulder roast (5-6 lbs/2.25-2.7 kg)

1 bottle (11.2 oz/317 mL) Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce (Trader Joes has something similar)

12 large hamburger buns, warmed

Slaw

1/3 cup (75 mL) mayonnaise

1 1/2 tbsp (22 mL) cider vinegar

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

2 large red apples such as Gala, cored

1   seedless cucumber

Directions

1

Prepare grill for indirect cooking over medium-low heat. For pork, combine brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, mustard, salt and black pepper in (1-cup/250-mL) Prep Bowl;stir. Rub seasoning mixture onto all sides of pork. Place pork fat-side up on grid of grill. Grill, covered, 4-6 hours or until pork is falling off the bones. (If using charcoal, add 12 new coals on each side of grill every hour to maintain a consistent grill temperature.)

2

Meanwhile, for slaw, combine mayonnaise, vinegar and salt in Classic Batter Bowl. Thinly slice apples using Simple Slicer on #2 setting. Cut apple slices into thin strips. Cut cucumber into julienne strips with Julienne Peeler.Cut strips crosswise into 1 1/2-in. (3-cm) pieces; pat dry with a paper towel. Add apples and cucumber to dressing in batter bowl; mix gently. Cover and refrigerate slaw until ready to use.

3

Transfer pork from grill to Reversible Bamboo Carving Board using BBQ Tongs and BBQ Turner. Trim off and discard skin and fat. Pull out and discard bones. Shred pork using Hold ‘N Slice® and a fork. Transfer shredded pork to 13 x 10 x 2-in. (33 x 25 x 5-cm) disposable foil pan (see Cook’s Tip).

4

Add barbecue sauce; mix well. Serve pork on warmed buns and top with slaw.

But what about monkey buns and what are they anyway?

You have heard of monkey bread, yes? Little balls of sweet dough dipped in melted butter and rolled in cinnamon sugar, then baked in a round pan? Well, monkey buns are along those same lines, but I bake them in large 6 to-a-pan cupcake pans.I used the  ‘slurry’ I usually use for sticky buns and pour some in the bottom of each cup. Then I add chopped nuts and the sugared up balls of sweet dough. Well, not actually balls. I flatten the dough out and cut it into little bitty pieces  which I then pick up and dip in the melted butter, etc.

Raise, bake, put a baking sheet on top and flip. I made these for the bake sale at church today.Wish I had a picture. Sorry. They were  the best though. Just  thought I would throw it out there to inspire someone to give it a go.

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