Before the weather turns warm- yes, it is STILL cold in Ohio- I wanted to turn on the oven slow and low to use my beautiful LeCreuset.

I just can’t imagine having my stove on for 6 hours in the summer. So, I’m trying to use this bad boy as much as possible now.

Pork was the dinner choice of the day.

Pork shoulder to be exact.

Pork Story #1:

Pork and I have a bit of a love hate relationship.

When I was growing up, people thought that you had to cook every ounce of holy moisture out of any cut of pork to insure that you and yours did not end up with trichinosis. I don’t even know the origin of the trichinosis scare, but it sure seemed that for the first 20 years of my life people were nervous that pigs had a high likelihood of contracting this parasitic disease and then passing it on to us.

I remember pork chops as a VERY tough and VERY chewy and VERY not delicious cut of meat.

Hated it.

However, there was bacon. If you know me at all, you know that I would leave Brad for bacon if that were legally possible.

I’m kidding, Brad!

Who would marry bacon?

That would be absurd.

Only a weirdo would marry bacon.

But it would be a delicious union.

Love bacon.

Ham for sandwiches landed somewhere in the middle of my pork chop disdain and bacon love.

The end.

Pork Story #2:

In 9th grade, every day at lunch, my friend Todd wrote and then read his very own David Letterman style “Top Ten List”.

I remember being doubled over in laughter with the random things that made their way onto that list.

One particular list that has stuck with me is “Top Ten Words that Sound Funny when Anne says Them”.

This is Anne:

All of the boys loved Anne in middle and high school, and you can see why. She is beautiful.

And she was and is fun.

And Anne has a signature dance move. You should ask her to show it to you if you know her.

However, according to Todd, there are 10 words apparently that sound funny when Anne says them.

And topping the list was the word “Pork”.

To this day, I cannot buy or make pork without momentarily being transported to my 9th grade lunch table.

The end.

Pork Story #3:

That brings us to today and to a recipe for pork shoulder.

Pork shoulder really only tastes good if you cook it slowly, over a long period of time.

Then it is delicious.

I bought a 4 lb. bone-in pork shoulder.

I am in meal-freezing mode to prepare for our little guy or gal’s arrival, so I’m making double recipes of almost everything to freeze and eat later.

So, for 2 people I would not recommend a 4 lb. pork shoulder. However, if you can only find a large cut of this meat then you must throw a dinner party.

It is surely a sign!

Start by preheating your oven to 300 degrees.

Then, on your stove top, heat up 2 tablespoons of oil in your dutch oven over medium-high heat.

If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can most certainly use a normal pot or even a large skillet on your stove. Then, when our pot goes into the oven, your meat is simply transferred to a slow cooker/crock pot.

Unwrap your meat.

Pretty, non?

Take a knife and make 8 slits into the top of the meat.

Deep and wide enough for a clove of garlic to be slipped in.

Then, slip in the garlic.

See if you can find all 8 garlic cloves.

This is like a really weird and lame version of “Where’s Waldo?”.

Give the meat a good sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Then rub the meat with 1 1/2 T. of chili powder, and 2 t. of cumin.

Now take that garlic stuffed, and spice rubbed pork and place it face down in your hot oil.

This should sizzle and pop, and smell pretty darn good!

While the first side is searing, give the exposed bottom side the salt, pepper, chili powder, and cumin treatment.

Now, we shall make a sauce.

Perhaps the easiest sauce in all of the land.

The sauce will be added to the pork shortly.

Take one small can of chipotle in adobo peppers, and pop them into a bowl or small mixing container.

Chipotle in Adobo peppers are simply smoked jalapenos. You can find them in the Hispanic foods section or aisle at your grocery store.

Then grab a can of diced tomatoes. Any style will do, but I thought that the fire-roasted version that I found in my pantry would compliment the smokiness of both the cumin and the chipotles.

Add that can to your chipotles.

Blend them up.

Back to the pork.

Give it a flip to allow the underside to brown up.

Looks good already, doesn’t it?

Chop up 1/2 of a red onion.

Or a white one.

Or a yellow one.

Or a couple shallots.

You get the idea.

Toss those in around your pork.

Take your chipotle in adobo and fire roasted tomato sauce and pour that into the pork party.

Now add about 1 1/2 cups of water.

And for the heck of it, I threw in a chopped up jalapeno.

I actually was just rooting around in the fridge trying to decide if anything would be right for this recipe, and this lonely jalapeno called out to me.

I could not deny the call.

And 2 of the tiniest bay leaves ever.

If they were larger, I would have only used one.

Pop a lid on it.

And into the oven it goes.

Or into the crock pot it goes (on low).

For 6 hours.

I peeked in at the pork after about 4 hours of cooking, and I poked at it with some kitchen tongs.

This is a highly technically advanced culinary move.

It was still not falling apart which meant it wasn’t done cooking.

The meat will FALL APART when done. Without trying.

No knife needed. Not even a butter knife.

After 6 hours, this is what it looked like:

The meat had completely separated itself from the bone which is a great sign that the pork is ready for you!

I went to grab a large hunk of the pork with my tongs, and it fell apart.

Perfect!

It was the perfect consistency for shredding.

Remove the bone from the mix, and toss it.

Then pull out all of the pork.

Use a couple of forks to shred this pork to pieces.

I have a massive aversion to fatty gristle, so I take a little longer than most to make sure that I won’t be biting into any fatty chewy nastiness.

I put about half of our pork into an air-tight freezer container to be thawed and reheated some day after baby arrives.

For freezer meals, I always include a label with the contents, the date that I made the food (don’t really want to eat anything older than months), and then the number of servings.

For dinner, we decided that spicy pulled pork tacos were the only way to go.

One of our favorite restaurants in the city, Nada, does a killer carnitas taco.

And they crisp up their shredded pork before you get it on your plate, so I did the same.

You can totally skip this step if you don’t care about crispy pork.

Put a t. of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.

Throw in some pork.

Toss a flour tortilla over your flame to warm it and char it ever so slightly.

Then add your special sauce.

I made this sauce by taking all of the juice that was left in my Le Creuset after removing the pork bone and meat. I used my immersion blender to blend the saucy mixture of red onion, jalapeno, chipotles and tomatoes.

Then I threw a healthy tablespoon of the sauce on the pork while it cooked.

Transfer the pork to your tortillas with some cheese, sour cream and guacamole.

Give it a squeeze of fresh lime (another Nada trick) to brighten up all of the flavors.

And there you have it.

It is not the tidiest plate, so don’t judge me.

However, I was drooling at this point. It was all I could do to just snap a picture before diving in!

Or if you are like me, and you prefer the smaller (and decidedly more delicious) corn tortillas, you can make your tacos in those.

Either way, you can’t go wrong.

Pork Shoulder. Try it.

You’ll love it.

Promise.

Hump day is here. Woop!

XO,

Leah

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