Easy Pulled Pork

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This is so easy, I don’t know why we haven’t made this a million times. If you happen by for dinner in the near future, odds are we’ll be feeding you pulled pork. Once you try a bite, you won’t mind at all that I didn’t fuss over your dinner! In fact, I think you’ll go home and make a big pot yourself.  🙂

Ingredients (Makes 1 big ol’ pot of pulled pork, enough for 12 – 16 hearty sandwiches)

Boneless pork loin roast (about 3 pounds)

1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s)

1/2 cup white vinegar

For the brine:

2 cups water

2 cups ice cubes

1/2 cup salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds

Directions

Step 1) Bring water, salt, brown sugar, and whole mustard seeds to a boil in a large pot. Stir well to make sure all of the brown sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Add ice cubes to the brine, and stir to melt the cubes and cool the brine.

Step 2) Place the pork roast in a gallon size ziploc bag, and set the bag in a pan with sides (in case the bag leaks). Carefully ladle brine into the ziploc bag to cover the pork roast, and close the bag. Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Step 3) After 24 hours, remove the pork roast from the brine and place the roast in a baking pan with a lid.

Step 4) Whisk together 1/2 cup vinegar and 1 cup BBQ sauce. Pour this mixture over the pork roast, and place the lid on the baking pan.

Step 5) Place the covered pork roast in a preheated 300 degree oven for 6 hours. Really, 6 hours.

Step 6) After 6 hours, remove the lid from the baking pan and pull the pork roast apart with forks. This will be very, very easy! Serve with rolls and coleslaw. Enjoy!

Indonesian Slow-Cooked Pork

WIN_20160324_165428Few cuisines rival the foods of Indonesia for their fragrance and layers of rich, exotic flavors. This dish will taste like you have worked kitchen wizardry all day long, when really, it only takes a few minutes to prepare. Pop this dish in the oven and let it cook slowly. Enjoy over potatoes with a side of fresh fruit. Or, enjoy with roasted vegetables and fresh bread. Either way, you won’t be disappointed!

WIN_20160324_130118Ingredients (Serves 6)

3 pounds boneless pork spare ribs

2 tablespoons oil, such as coconut oil

1 small onion, cut into 1 inch chunks

3 pieces of lemongrass, each approximately 4 inches long

2 lime leaves

1 generous tablespoon chili paste, such as Nam Prik Pao

1 can coconut milk

WIN_20160324_160304Directions

Step 1) Working in two batches, brown spare ribs with oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook spare ribs for about 3 minutes per side. Don’t wash the skillet yet!

Step 2) Layer spare ribs in a large casserole dish along with lemongrass. lime leaves, and onion.

Step 3) Add chili paste and coconut milk to the pan in which the pork was browned. Whisk together the chili paste and coconut milk with the pan drippings, and then pour the mixture over the pork in the casserole dish.

Rachael Ray Cucina Stoneware 3-Piece Round Casserole & Lid Set, Agave Blue

Step 4) Cover casserole dish and slow cook in a preheated 325 degree oven for 3 hours until fork tender. Enjoy your Indonesian Slow-Cooked Pork!

Helpful Tip: Feel free to reduce (or increase!) the amount of chili paste in this recipe to suit your personal preferences. Thin slices of fresh green bell pepper (shown at top) help cut the heat from the chili paste, making this dish more enjoyable for diners who are sensitive to hot spices. The green pepper slices are Half-Pint Approved!

Divine Rack of Ribs

WIN_20160407_154543Nothing says “I love you” to the carnivore in your life like a well seasoned, slow roasted rack of ribs. My favorite carnivore has been working madcrazy hours lately. Hearty meals help keep him going. These ribs are a dining vacation… until it’s time to get back to work!

WIN_20160407_140526Ingredients (Serves 2 with leftovers)

1 large rack of pork baby back ribs (about 3 pounds)

For the brine:

3 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup sea salt

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds

4 whole allspice

4 whole black peppercorns

WIN_20160407_140651For the almost-dry rub:

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Directions

Step 1) Combine all brine ingredients in a saucepan and stir well. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat.

Step 2) Refrigerate brine until the brine is very cold. This can be done a day ahead of time, if you wish.

Step 3) Cut the rack of ribs into serving size lengths (I cut the rack into 4 pieces). Place the pieces in a gallon size zip-lock storage bag. Carefully pour brine into the bag. You don’t need to use all of the brine, but should add enough brine to the bag so that the ribs are covered.

Step 4) Set the bag in a large bowl (in case of leaks), and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours.

Note: If you need to store your ribs in the fridge for longer than 12 hours, remove them from the brine after 12 hours and simply store them in a fresh zip-lock bag.

Step 5) Remove ribs from brine and place on a baking sheet with shallow sides. The bones should be on the bottom, with the meat facing up.

Step 6) Place ribs in a preheated 300 degree oven and roast for 1 hour. While the ribs are roasting, combine the ingredients for the “almost-dry rub” and mix into a paste.

WIN_20160407_140920Step 7) After 1 hour of roasting, remove ribs from the oven. Carefully rub the “almost-dry rub” all over the tops of the ribs. Return the ribs to the oven for an additional 40 minutes, or until a meat thermometer measures an internal temperature (not right against a bone) of 180 degrees.

Step 8) Once the meat reaches a temperature of 180 degrees, reduce your oven temperature to 180 degrees (really… that’s not a typo) and return the ribs to the oven at this lower temperature for 20 minutes. The meat will become more tender during this time.

Step 9) Serve with your favorite side dishes, such as Great Grandma’s Baked Beans and Easy Peanut Cabbage Slaw. Enjoy!