Pork Rub

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A smoker is to summer as the crock pot is to winter.  Slow and low cooking of affordable meats yielding moist and delicious results.  Whether you choose to smoke over coals or go the electric route as we have, you are in for a treat.  Our outside setup has driven us the electric route, and we have not been disappointed over the ease and quality of results.  It is now part of our regular Sunday routine, making enough meat or fish to eat for lunch and dinner all week long.  Today we are smoking a pork shoulder-butt with a homemade rub.  I wanted to share this rub recipe as it is easy and flavorful for a summer of grilling or smoking.  Starting out a little spicy and salty there is a hint of sweet that is perfect for pork.

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Ingredients: 

2 Tbsp Paprika (hot or sweet based on preference, I used a mix of the two)
1 Tbsp ground Black Pepper
1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp Onion Powder
1 Tbsp Cayenne Powder
2 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1 1/2 Tbsp Brown Sugar

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Directions: 

Mix all ingredients together and use liberally over meats 20-30 minutes before cooking.

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Asian Pulled Chicken and Pork with Homemade Hoisin Sauce

2014-04-26 20.09.14This pulled pork and chicken recipe came into existence starting with a recipe  I found online at the site http://www.justataste.com.  I thought it looked amazing and simple to make.  My only problem with the recipe is using a store bought hoisin sauce.  I searched for a way to make a homemade hoisin sauce to avoid any unknown or unnecessary ingredients.  With a little time I found a really easy looking recipe from Gwyneth Paltrwo that totally fit the bill.  This recipe however required red miso paste, which I have never used or even seen for sale at the grocery store before.  This then took me on a trip to the Asian Supermarket, aka, the coolest market ever.  Since this experience I have made several Asian inspired meals that I have never before attempted.  I’m looking forward to experimenting with ramen noodles more in the future.

This is my spin on the initial recipe, in my opinion a little healthier and more flavorful.  I served it the first time over rice with asparagus as pictured.  The next time I tried it both over salad greens and as a slider with coleslaw (check out summer coleslaw recipe in sides section).  All options were really great, I would even like to try the meat in a soft shell taco with coleslaw and fresh cilantro.  The hoisin sauce recipe is a little spiced up as well with red chili paste (another ingredient courtesy of the Asian supermarket).  The hoisin sauce recipe makes an entire cup, so the leftovers can be used in a stir fry or used as a barbecue sauce for ribs, chicken, pork, shrimp, etc.  Use the sauce up within one week, stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Ingredients:

Hoisin Sauce Ingredients:

1 Tbsp oil (I used avocado oil, but anything will do)
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1/2 cup red miso paste (I don’t know what this is exactly, I found a soybean paste and used that, but it was brown colored)
1 tsp red chili paste (I added this for a little heat)
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp brown rice vinegar (I used regular rice vinegar)

Pulled Chicken and Pork Ingredients:

3-4 pounds of meat (I used a combo of 1/2 boneless skinless chicken breasts and pork tenderloin)
5 slices of thick cut bacon
1/2 cup honey (I used a raw honey), heaping
1/2 cup of soy sauce (low sodium), heaping
1/3 cup blackberry jam
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup red pepper flakes
1 Serrano pepper, sliced thin (any hot pepper will do if you want to add more heat)
1 Tbsp corn starch
sesame seeds, green onions, or chives to garnish.

Directions:

1. Start by making the hoisin sauce first.  Heat oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat, add minced garlic and Chinese five-spice and cook until fragrant less than one minute.

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2. Whisk in remaining hoisin sauce ingredients and cook for a few minutes until the sauce thickens and is heated through.

3. This will make 1 cup of hoisin sauce, so you will have some remaining.

4. Leave a Tbsp of hoisin sauce in the pan and return heat to medium.  Add bacon and cook through.

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5. Add onion and garlic, cooking for a few minutes until onions are soft and garlic is fragrant.

6. Add honey, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, blackberry jam, red pepper flakes, and Serrano pepper.  Whisk to dissolve and heat through.

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7. In large crock pot line bottom with chicken and pork, pour heated mixture over top and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours.

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8. When fully cooked, remove chicken and pork to shred with two forks.

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9. Thicken juices remaining in slow cooker with cornstarch as directed on cornstarch packaging.  Return shredded meat to slow cooker and stir to combine.  Continue to cook on low for 30 minutes before serving.

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10. Garnish with seeds, green onions, or chives served over a green salad, rice, or served on a bun with coleslaw.