Monday, June 30, 2014

Sunday Supper

I slept in until 5:49 a.m. on Sunday. I grabbed a cup of coffee and finished the Blog. On the news, they said it had rained overnight in the western counties, but it never rained here. I raced through the Sunday morning chores. Then I got started on dinner.

I have had a hankering for pulled pork sandwiches. But, it’s too hot to run the oven for hours. And smoking it would require dragging out the big grille from the shed and hours of tending to it. Since it’s supposed to rain around noon, that’s not an option, either. But, I found a recipe for pulled pork on your countertop, using the slow cooker!

Before I go on, I must tell you that the recipe called for a 3 1/2 pound bone-in pork shoulder roast (or Boston butt as it’s also called). Unfortunately, the smallest one I could get at Kroger’s was a whopping six pounds. Hopefully, you can find a smaller one. So, I will give you the ingredients for the regular recipe, although I doubled them.

For the spice rub, I mixed together two teaspoons of smoked paprika, one teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. I trimmed off the excess fat (leaving some on, of course) and rubbed on the spice mix. I did this on a half sheet pan to contain the mess. I let that sit for a bit to get happy.

Then, I assembled my mise en place. I cut up two cups of yellow onions, sliced vertically and five garlic cloves, sliced thin. BTW, I used the two aluminum bowl method to peel the garlic. I love that trick!

Garlic, cornstarch slurry and yellow onions

I got out everything I would need: chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, molasses, soy sauce, crushed red pepper, corn starch, peach preserves (note: I could not find pure peach preserves, so I had to settle for Smucker’s Peach Apricot preserves) and a small bottle of bourbon.

I got my 12-inch skillet and coated it with canola spray. I turned it on medium-high and when it was heated, I put in the pork shoulder. I cooked it about 10 minutes, tuning it to brown all sides. This will give you the “bark” of a good ‘cue.

When it was done, I stuck it in my large slow cooker. It just barely fit!

I added 1/2 cup of chicken stock. 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/3 cup of molasses. 2 tablespoons soy sauce and one teaspoon of crush red pepper flakes into the skillet. I brought that up to a boil, scraping the pan to release the brown bits. Then I added 1/2 cup of the peach preserves, using a whisk to incorporate them. I poured the mixture over the pork and topped it with the onions and garlic. I covered that and turned the slow cooker on low. You need to cook the 3 1/2 pound roast 6 1/2 hours of until the pork is very tender. God only know how long a six pound roast will take! I’ll check it at 4:30 p.m.

Then I began the slow process of cleaning up the mess. Some things I hand washed, others went into the dishwasher.

My friend B___ called to let me know that Dunham’s was having a two-day sale on kayaks (I had told him how disappointed I was that I didn’t buy the one at Costco when they briefly carried them).

So, I finally shaved, showered and got dressed. While I was shaving, I was reminded again how crappy my razor is these days. It takes several passes to get all the little hairs. I know why. You are supposed to change the blades once a year and it’s been a lot longer than that this time. I have it on the calendar, but when I went to Meijer’s in January, they were all out. And, I guess I just forgot about them.

So, first I went to Meijer’s (they had them this time!) and bought some replacement blades. Then I went to Dunham’s.  The one I was hoping to see (a Pelican Ulitmate 100 SE for $189.00 – saving $140) they didn’t have, of course. But the sales guy gave me his name and said they should be getting another shipment in on Tuesday or Wednesday and he/they would honor the sales price.

There was another one I really liked (a Pelican Matrix 100 Angler) that had two flush-mount rod holders and one swivel one – perfect for fishing!) It was on sale as well, but was $299.00 (saving only $80). But, it doesn’t come with the paddle ($25-50) and I would need a life vest ($50+) so I decided to be frugal (dammit), seeing as I’ve already spend a lot on recreation (in the form of the motorcycle) this year.

Sidebar: I hate it when I act responsible!

I did pick up a new pair of crocs (my old ones were worn smooth, had chunks ripped out of the soles and the left strap broke this week) and a small game and gun deer license (don’t ask).

On the way back home, it was after 12:30 p.m., traffic had really picked up and the sky was dark and ominous. So, I missed the window to ride the bike today.

I changed clothes and started the last load of weekend wash. Then I went out to work in the garage for a while.

I had the sanding station outside and was working away, when the first big raindrops fell. I quickly moved everything inside. But the rain lasted only about five minutes! Then the sun came back out and it got even steamier.

I went back outside and started working. I finally finished the first sanding with 80 grit, so I have two more to go. But, I felt it was safe to start assembling at that point. I fired up the air compressor and got out the nail gun. I also got out the wood glue, drill motor, drill bits and deck screws. I took a moment to throw the laundry into the dryer.

I worked on assembly until 4:30 p.m. My final thing for the day was to drill a 1 1/4-inch hole through a 2x12 for a dowel I don’t have yet. It was a pain in the butt to (hopefully) keep the hole straight and true. I put all the tools away and blew the sawdust out of the garage. Then I set the saw horses to one side and pulled the truck back inside.

It was still sunny, so I hooked up the hose to the drip hose in the vegetable garden and turned it on. The threat of storms is only until 9:00 p.m. tonight and if it rains, oh well. The veggies need water!

Back inside, I mixed a bag of shredded cabbage with half a jar of Marzetti Original Slaw dressing. I covered the bowl with cling wrap and set it in the fridge to chill. Then I checked on my pork roast (it’s been smelling fantastic for a couple-three hours now). It was certainly ready! In fact, it was quite difficult to remove it from the slow cooker as it kept breaking apart.  But I finally got it all onto a half sheet pan and let it cool slightly. Meanwhile, I used a slotted spoon to get all the garlic and onions out of the broth.

Then I put the broth into my OXO Fat separator. Now, if you don’t have a fat separator, here’s what you can do: Put a large baggie into a four-cup glass measuring cup. Pour the liquid into the baggie and let it set for 10 minutes. The fat will rise to the top (as it does in my fat separator). Seal the bag and then snip off one bottom corner of the bag. Drain the drippings into the skillet, stopping before the fat reaches the opening. Then discard the fat.

However, as I said, I have a fat separator (I use it for gravies). So, I let it stand 76y4510 minutes and then poured the liquid into the skillet. I poured 1/4 cup of bourbon into the drippings and brought it to a boil. I cooked it 10 minutes until it reduced to about 1 1/2 cups.

While the drippings reduced, I used two forks to shred the pork (easy peasy). I moved the pork from the half sheet pan to my biggest bowl and mixed the onions and garlic back in.

Then I combined two tablespoons of cold water with two teaspoons of cornstarch in a small bowl and whisked it. I added that mixture to the reduced sauce, whisking constantly until it thickened. I drizzled the sauce over the pulled pork and tossed it gently to combine.

I sliced two of the dinner rolls open, added some pulled pork. I added a good squeeze of Sweet Baby Ray’s original barbecue sauce and topped that with my coleslaw.

I sat down and enjoyed the hell out of my Sunday supper!

Then came the part I didn’t enjoy: cleaning up the mess! I put the remaining pulled pork into containers. I ended up putting two four-cup containers in the freezer and 1+ four-cup container in the fridge. I ended up running the dishwasher again, but had to hand wash the slow cooker and the wooden cutting board. I cleaned the counter tops and the stove and then I was finally finished.

I went out and turned off the hose. I reeled it in after disconnecting the drip hose. Then I used the wand to water the raised bed herb garden. It was after 8:00 p.m. and the sun was still shining, BTW. Other than that five minute shower, it had been dry all damn day.

I went inside and got a few things ready for work on Monday. At 9:00 p.m., I watched the new episode of Mountain Men and then The Hunt. Finally, I went to bed.


  1. Dinner looks fantastic! What is your aluminum garlic bowl trick?

  2. Thanks! You put the unpeeled garlic in two same-size aluminum bowls (they have to be aluminum, BTW), one covering the other. Then you shake them vigorously. Take the top bowl off and your garlic is peeled!