Spicy Pulled Pork with Homemade Buns

I apologize for the lack of a catchy title but I figured meat and carbs would get your attention.

Am I right?  Well, you're here anyway.

Sorry I haven't been around these parts for a while...but I've resigned myself to the fact that,

1.  I have been busy (as usual)
2. I have a two year old and another on the way--life can be decidedly chaotic (and only getting more so)
3. I haven't been cooking much...or rather, we've been having the same meals over and over (sorry Mr. K) because I've been in a please-let-winter-end slump and have resisted cooking any more stews, soups, pot roasts, etc.  Winter must end sometime, right? 


Well, my friends, winter has been quickly dying 'round these parts.  This week the midwestern highs have been in the low 60s!  Thanks be to God above.  We are now entering spring for real.  And I've been motivated.

Motivated for what, you might ask? 

Well really, whenever warm weather abouds what does anyone yearn for?  Good ol' BBQ.  That's right.  The smell of it, the mere idea of getting out on your deck and taking in the heat (albeit the heat from the coals/gas/whatever, it is still HEAT), it's what we long for.

However, much to my dismay we do not own a grill.


No grill.  So I have had to smell other people's lovely smoky aromas wafting from every other porch, except mine.  Why don't we have one?  A few reasons.  One, we have a small deck- not even large enough for two people to sit on let alone a large cooking contraption.  Two, we have no room in our garage to store one either.  Third, grilling intimidates me. 

There, I said it. 

Scoff all you want.  Laugh if you will.  However, I think there is at least one thing most cooks would say intimidates them.  And to be honest, I see myself as more of a baker and less of a cook.  Most cooks would say yeast intimidates them- but yeast and I are best buds. 

We get along well.

Grills and I?  Not in the slightest.  I admire people like Bobby Flay but grilling is just not my forte.  Another thing that intimidates me?  Roasting birds.  Never done it, haven't even entertained the thought- it terrifies me to no end.  So now you know two slightly embarrassing things about this wannabe cook. 

Anyway- that's another issue for another day.

Since I don't have a grill and don't have the slightest idea how to master grilling perfection, I tend to roast my meat in the crockpot (low and slow), make a sauce of some sort, shred the meat, then add the sauce an hour before eating to let the flavors marry.  It's my BBQ method.  Don't judge.

Last week, while perusing Pioneer Woman's site, I saw a recipe that caught my eye and revived my spirits.

It screamed, spring!  BBQ!  Make me now! 

And so I did.  And here you go.

The recipe?  Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork.  I had a few cans of DP in my fridge, and all the other ingredients so decided, why not?  I'll give it a whirl. 

Now, since I gave you the link you can very well meander on over to her site and make it yourself but let me just give you a few (okay, a lot of) tidbits on what I did- because I generally don't follow recipes exactly.  I like to make 'em a bit leaner, and add some extras. 

First, I used a crockpot rather than a dutch oven.  I didn't want to heat up my whole house.  Basically did all the same things but just put my pot on high for 4 hours, then on low for 2.  Same thing.  Easy breezy.

Second, I only had Diet Dr. Pepper, so that's what I used.  If you don't have either- use Coke!  Or Diet Coke!  Or heck, use root beer for crying out loud.  Just as long as it's cola-based, you'll be fine.

Third, I chopped my onions finely and sauteed them first (rather than just throwing raw wedges in the bottom)...I like the flavor better and I don't like big chunks of things floating around.  I have consistency issues.

Fourth, PW has you dump in the whole jar of chipotle in adobo sauce.  I did this.  However she never says what to do with the peppers at the end- but I vote discard them!  Those things are super spicy.  And again, I don't like big chunks of things floating around.  It's something I'm working on.  Is there a self-help hotline for cooking issues?

Fifth, I used pork loin roast, not shoulder or pork butt.  Pork loin is leaner- less fat to skim off.  And again, less chunks floating around.  [Shudder].  Sorry, I'll stop.

Sixth, at the end she just has you shred the meat, then put it back into the loads of broth.  I don't like fishing through liquid to get to my meat.  Instead, I removed 3 cups of broth and placed it in a medium saucepan, then dumped the rest- I'm sure you could save it for something but I didn't have the energy.  To the stove sauce I added a few things to make it less overpoweringly spicy and a bit sweeter.  You can add whatever you like but some things I chose were: a 1/2 C ketchup, 2 Tbsp worcestershire sauce, 1/3 C maple syrup, 1/3 C brown sugar, and a Tablespoon of dijon mustard.  I mixed all the above into the broth, boiled 'em together for about 10 min, then dumped the broth mixture back into the crockpot with the shredded meat.  Let the whole thing mingle for another half hour and voila- it's done (and leaner, less spicy, more flavorful, less chunks-floating-to-be-removed). 

Piece of cake.  And delicious.  Mr. K now votes this as our top pulled pork recipe (we have a few others) and tonight, I'm taking it to my monthly meal swap.  I hope everyone feels the same way about it as we do!  We'll see.

Here are a few shots of the meat:

Low and slow, baby.

I know, there are things floating.  I'm trying not to notice.

Once it's falling off the bone, shred it up.

Then dump it back in the crockpot and make the stove sauce from the 3 cups reserved broth.  Add whatever else floats your boat, then return the sauce to the crockpot.

And that would be all...but PW just threw her meat on some tortillas-which is fine and would be incredibly tasty.  But we like us some carbs around here.

AND me being a baker at heart, I couldn't just go out and (gasp) buy some hamburger buns.  No, no.  That is not how we roll in this house.

I had to make 'em, of course.

So I did.  And here you go.

Again, I know some of you cooks generally don't do yeast and that's fine.  But if I am willing to try my hand at barbeque (and I have, and continue to make feeble attempts) then you cannot just give up on yeast.  It's perfectly easy once you get the hang of it...don't let a few unrisen loaves keep you down.  No pun intended. 

And hamburger buns are simple.  Seriously.  If you have a basic bread recipe down, these are a walk in the park.

So...first, take my basic whole wheat bread recipe.  Make the bread according to the instructions, however when it comes time to shape the dough (after the first rise), you are simply going to shape it into buns instead of bread.

Easy right?


Let's do it.

Break off pieces a little larger than a golfball and round it into a roll shape.

Flatten the ball with a rolling pin, making a 1/2" thick circle, whatever size you like your buns.
Some like 'em big, some small.
I don't judge- they are your buns :)

Place flattened rounds on a greased cookie sheet, cover with greased plastic wrap.

Let rise until double, about 30 min or more.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Once the buns have doubled in size, remove the wrap and place in oven for 12-15 minutes.  Keep a watch on them so they don't get too brown (check the bottoms).

Take 'em out, and let cool.

Butter the tops, if you wish- it makes 'em nice and soft.
I wish, so I do.
Aren't they lovely?

Mmm, soft buns.  :)

Slice the buns and top with your meat.

Pleasure on a plate.
And I didn't even have to break out a grill.

Now go enjoy yourself some buns.
And slow roasted meat.
And, perhaps, warmer weather.
I think I shall.


Lindsey Litton said...

I'm good and stuffed from this meal tonight. It was delish! And your homemade buns were a treat! I'm so glad I picked a low number for the swap:)

Shadley said...

Mmmm. Barbeque is also a fave of mine...AND I am intimidated by yeast. So this post was very good for me :)

Rachel Farley said...

I love the way you write! It keeps me entertained and I think you are hilarious and adorable.

This sounds REALLY good! I am going to have to try this.

You are inspiring too- homemade buns?! Awesome idea! I will have to give that a try.

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