I recently tried out a recipe I've been holding onto for several months, waiting until I had house guests so that I wouldn't have lots of leftovers.
It's a recipe for shredded pork cooked with Dr Pepper and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. The ingredients sounded so good, I couldn't wait to give it a go. The recipe, which is from www.thepioneer woman.com, calls for slow-cooking in the oven for six to eight hours.
The thought of keeping my kitchen oven turned on that long when the heat was reaching 90 degrees outside didn't sound so good. So I took my slow cooker outside, plugged it into an outside outlet, and let it do the cooking for me.
It produced some of the tenderest, most flavorful pulled pork I've ever eaten. It was outstanding, though a little spicier than I had expected. To cut the spiciness, I added a bottle of Sticky Fingers Sweet Carolina barbecue sauce (any favorite sauce will do) to the shredded pork. Problem solved.
I used a 5-pound pork butt rather than a whole one, and decreased the number of chipotle peppers, using six rather than the entire can. We all thought it was excellent. This is one recipe I will be saving.
Spicy Dr Pepper Shredded Pork
1 whole large onion
1 whole pork butt, 5 to 7 pounds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 can (11 ounces) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 cans Dr Pepper
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Heat oven to 300 F. Peel the onion and cut it into wedges. Lay them in the bottom of a large Dutch oven.
Generously salt and pepper the pork roast, then set it on top of the onions in the pan.
Pour the can of chipotle peppers over the pork (include the sauce.) Pour in both cans of Dr Pepper. Add brown sugar to the juice, and stir in.
Place lid tightly on pot, then set pot in the oven. Cook for at least six hours, turning roast two or three times during the cooking process. Check meat after six hours; it should be absolutely falling apart (use two forks to test.) If it's not falling apart, return to the oven for another hour.
If using slow cooker, place onions in cooker, then season meat with salt, pepper and brown sugar. Place on top of onions, then add chipotle peppers, as many or few as you want, along with Dr Pepper. Cook on low for 8-10 hours, but check after 6 hours. It may cook fast depending on the size of the pork butt and the make of your slow cooker.
Remove meat from pot and place on a cutting board or other work surface. Use two forks to shred meat, discarding large pieces of fat. Strain as much of the fat off the top of the cooking liquid as you can, and discard it. Return the shredded meat to the cooking liquid, and keep warm until ready to serve. (You can also refrigerate the meat and liquid separately, then remove hardened fat once it's cold. Then heat up the liquid on the stovetop and return the meat to the liquid to warm up.) Makes about 18 servings.
Serve on warm flour tortillas. Top with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, grated cheese, avocado slices, salsa and whatever else you'd like. Or serve with buns and coleslaw for a traditional barbecue feast.
If you'd rather let someone else doing the cooking, don't forget about the barbecue benefit put on every Labor Day by the Signal Mountain Lions Club. The event begins at Althaus Park at 11 a.m. Monday and lasts until the food runs out, said Lions Club board member and past president Mel Tryon.
"We cook 1,400 pounds of barbecue, starting it the day before," he said. And they always run out, so get there early to enjoy a sandwich ($5) or barbecue platter with coleslaw, beans and bread ($7). You can also buy it by the pound for $9 per pound, and there's a drive-through line, so you don't even have to get out of your car to pick it up and take home to enjoy. Those prices are the same as last year's, Tryon said.
Althaus Park is behind Signal Mountain Golf and Country Club at 809 James Blvd.
Of course, you can satisfy your barbecue craving by visiting any of the dozens of barbecue restaurants in town. And now you can add Hardee's to the list. Its new Memphis Burger is piled with smoked pork and dripping with sweet barbecue sauce, all on top of a burger. Everything is topped off with these really good crispy onions. I could get addicted to these burgers in no time. They're loaded with calories, but one doesn't hurt every now and again.