Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pulled pork: The opposite of being made to look like an idiot in 19th century Scotland

Per my two minutes of online research, this is the origin of the phrase "Pull One's Leg":

"When you pull a person's leg you are spoofing or making fun of him, usually in a good-humored way. But that wasn't always the meaning of the expression. When the expression first turned up in Scotland about a hundred years ago, it was lacking the lighthearted touch it has today. In those days 'pull one's leg' meant to make of fool of him, often by outright cheating. The best theory of the origin of the phrase is that by tripping a person -- pulling his leg -- you can throw him into a state of confusion and make him look very foolish indeed." From "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollinsPublishers)." - phrases.org.UK

Fortunately, when you have pulled pork instead of a pulled leg, something very different happens. You look very wise indeed, and people are way too busy eating to even think about laughing at you.  Lightheartedly or not.

Pulled Jerk (or BBQ) Pork Sliders

by Sharon Graves
The basic idea came from the wonderful Sara Foster's Southern Kitchen, and from meeting the folks from Jabberwocky at the Hollywood Farmer's Market.  They had pulled pork as a sample showing off their jerk sauce, and my daughter could not stop talking about it*.  It's killer - tangy, spicy, and addictive.  Available online, for you non-locals, on their website. We devoured these jerk sliders on Father's Day. I'm sure the same method would work with a smoky BBQ sauce, too!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours


For the Pulled Pork
  • 2-2 1/2 lb. boneless pork butt roast, or a 3 lb. bone-in roast
  • 2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. smoked salt (if you have it, garlic salt if you don't)
  • generous grating of black pepper
  • zest of 1 lime
  • a little olive oil, for searing
  • 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 c. Jabberwocky jerk sauce or your favorite BBQ sauce
For the onions
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced cross-wise
  • splash of rice vinegar
  • 1 c. of ice water
For serving
  • 1 dozen small dinner rolls, preferably King's Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

Wash and trim the roast, pat dry and set aside. Preheat the oven to 325.

In a small bowl, combine the red pepper flakes, salts, black pepper and lime zest. Rub this mixture all over the pork roast.

Heat a large Dutch oven over high heat on the stove, and add enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom. When the oil is nice and hot, add the meat. All you want to do is sear it until lightly brown on all sides, so use tongs to turn the meat every couple of minutes until that's done.

Remove the pan from the heat, and add the vinegar and the water, being careful to pour the liquids around the meat and not directly on top of it, so the seasonings stay on. The liquid will not cover the pork...that's OK. Cover and place the pan in the oven.

Roast for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the pork is supremely tender, and pulls apart easily with a fork. Take the pot out, but leave the oven on. Remove the pork to a cutting board. Using tongs or a fork, separate the meat into smaller, irregular chunks.

Heat up a grill pan or a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add a little olive oil, and heat until sizzling. Working in batches, quickly brown the pieces of pork until the edges are dark and crispy, shredding a little more while the pork is frying. NOTE: You can also do this step over a BBQ - just keep the pork in chunks on the grill. Return the finished pieces to the pot.

When all the pork is back in the pot, add the 1/2 c. of jerk sauce or BBQ sauce, and stir everything up together. Cover, and return the pot to the oven for another 45 minutes to an hour.

While the pork is on its final bake, prepare the onions. Place the thinly sliced red onion in a glass bowl. Cover with ice water, then add the rice vinegar.

To serve, lightly toast a dozen small slider buns, preferably Kings Hawaiian. Place a heaping helping of pork on the bottom bun, and top with plenty of the pickled onions, and other fixings as you like.

* "Oh, for God's sake, Mom!  Buy the sauce already. [Has five more samples in a row]. Dad, just tell her to buy it. I need a lemonade. Then can we go?"