Monday, February 6, 2012

Recipe Resolution: Root Beer Pulled Pork

If you recall, one of my New Years resolutions was to make a new recipe each month. I'm a little late on my January recipe, but I figured I'd make up for it by creating two new dishes in February. It didn't matter if it was a variation on something I had already made in the past, but I really wanted to find new recipes to test out. And even though the purpose of this resolution was to learn to make more things that the hubby likes to eat and I don't, I did say that I would at least attempt to taste everything I cooked.

Even though I made both recipes in the same night, I'm going to split them up into two posts. I'll give you both the pin and the original link to the recipe, the basic process that was followed to make it, if I changed anything from the recommended process, and mine and the hubby's thoughts on the results.

So, the first thing on the agenda was to do some searching on Pinterest for some interesting and yummy recipes. I've always wanted to learn to make pulled pork. I know it sounds silly. Even though my mom had made it hundreds of times, I had never watched her make it before. People have told me their process for making it, and though they all had similarities, they were all different. But the hubby loves pulled pork, and we figured it'd be something that could be made up in a large batch and he could take to work over a couple of days.

I came across this pin about a three ingredient BBQ pulled pork. Sounded simple enough to me! All it required was a can of root beer, pork tenderloin, and your favorite BBQ sauce. You can check out the original recipe for specifics on quantity of everything.

I decided to make it up this past Sunday so that the hubby would have leftovers to take to work and eat throughout the week. The hubby thought it'd be a good idea to invite some friends of ours over to also test out my new recipes. Talk about pressure! So let's dive in..

Step one: Place tenderloin in crock pot & cover with root beer. (I also covered all the sides of the pork with salt & pepper.)

Step two: Cook on low for 6 hours. (Due to lack of time, I ended up cooking it on low for 3 hours, and then splitting the last 3 hours in half and cooking it on high.)

Step three: Pull pork out of crock pot and place on tray. Shred. (I started out with two forks and separating it into large chunks.Then I resorted to using my fingers to shred it even more.)

Step four: After you have dumped out the root beer, place back in slow cooker. Pour BBQ sauce on top and combine. Serve warm.

First of all, I apologize for being forgetful and not taking a photo of the final product. But I'm sure if you've seen one pulled pork sandwich, you've seen them all, right?

If I could change anything about the process, I'd probably add a little more root beer to the crock pot. As you can see in the photo above, the liquid didn't cover the pork entirely, and I felt compelled to turn the pork every couple hours or so to make sure it was cooking evenly. And I know every time I opened the lid I lost precious heat. Plus, the center of the pork wasn't quite as "fork tender," but I don't know if adding more liquid would help with that or not. It could simply be that I had to alter the heat/time of cooking to make sure it was ready by dinner time.

As for taste... well... I've never been a fan of BBQ sauce. I'm telling you, I'm a pretty picky eater. Even though my stepdad makes a BBQ sauce that everyone swears by, I'm still not a fan. So, when I say I didn't like the pork, its because I didn't like it smothered in BBQ sauce. I know. I know. That's the whole point. But, I did try it like I promised. And the hubby and our friends liked it, so you'll probably want to take their opinions over mine.

(Before you read his thoughts, let me just say, he's a man of few words. He doesn't elaborate on much.)

It was good. The pork by itself was a bit dry. But once you put the BBQ sauce on it, it was good. But you've got to remember: if you have a good enough BBQ sauce, it can cover up a lot of little mistakes. At this point I asked him if he wanted to add any other thoughts. His response: Yuummm! Would you want me to make it again: Yes. Also, don't forget to remind them about the fact that it's still really good reheated and you don't need to add any more sauce to keep it moist. Would you want me to change anything the next go around? With that specific recipe? No, I wouldn't change anything. Okay, one more time, last thoughts? Good! Yum! Feed me Seymour. 

Yes...that's my husband for you. And by golly, I love him and all of his quirks!

So there you have it. One recipe down, 11 more to go. Well, technically 10 more to go since I made recipe #2 the same night as this one. But I'll save that for another post.

Anyone else out there have an even simpler recipe? It's hard to fathom that its even possible! Or maybe you used a different flavored soda? Or maybe you just have tips using different ingredients that tastes just as good. This cooking-wife-in-training would love to hear any tips you want to share, or even suggestions for the next recipe we should try.

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