Leftovers. We haven't always had an easy relationship. Most of the meals I make are one night stands to me. A brief moment of excitement from a photo in a food magazine, the rush of something new, but then the meal is over and you find that dish X is just dinner. It gets assigned a container and space on the middle shelf in the refrigerator and you're off again in pursuit of the next new recipe. Then, sometime in the not so distant future, you find what was once the promise of new love shoved behind the jam and yogurt languishing in murky liquid. You know that the only humane thing to do at this point is to just toss the whole mess, container included, because goodness only knows what toxins may spew forth if you open the lid.
That sums up my relationship with leftovers.
I have moments of guilt and for a few days here and there I will pack them as lunch for work. More often than not however, I forget they are there and a week later find them resembling a science experiment that went bad.
Oh, get off your high horse. I know you do the same thing.
I'm trying to be better. I'm trying to be more conscience about how much food I buy and cook and willing myself to eat what's leftover before making something new. Having hungry teenagers around helps.
This week we are heading off on vacation and it is a necessity that we clear out the fridge. There's lettuce, and a few stray vegetables that will be tossed into a salad, hummus and sliced turkey that will be used in someones lunch, and what's left of the recipe I'm sharing with you today. Beer Basted Pulled Pork. It's one of those nice oven braises that require very little attention from you but gives back in big ways. It has great flavor and it's just the thing to make if you are feeding a crowd, or teenagers who eat like a crowd.
Oh, by the way. We're off to visit some Washington State Wineries and then on to Miami to visit family. Stay tuned for some postings from the road.
If you have a favorite restaurant in the Miami area you like let me know, likewise with any vineyards in Walla Walla, I'd love to check them out.
Beer Basted Pulled Pork
6 cups beer, any type you like
2 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
1 (5-6 pound) Boston pork butt
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Sprinkle the pork evenly with 1 tablespoon of salt, massage into the meat and let sit for 20 minutes.
Bring the first 9 ingredients, minus 1 tablespoon of salt, to a boil in a very large pot. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 minute to blend the flavors. Place the pork in a large Dutch oven and pour half the liquid over the pork. Cover and place in the oven with a sheet pan underneath to catch any drips.
Braise the pork for 4-5 hours or until the meat shreds easily with a fork.
While the pork cooks bring the remaining braising liquid to a boil over medium high heat. Cook until reduced to the consistency of syrup about 40 minutes or so. Keep a careful eye on it so that it does not burn or reduce too quickly after about 25 minutes. Once the liquid is syrupy, discard the bay leaves and let cool. The mixture will thicken as it cools.
When the meat is fully cooked, remove the pork from the cooking liquid and shred with 2 forks. Season with salt and pepper to taste and then mix the pork with the reduced liquid and serve.
We like to serve this as sandwiches with caramelized onions on a soft potato roll.