Moms, we go by so many different titles, don’t we? Household CEO, chauffer, educator, personal stylist, life coach . . . and the list could go on and on. One title that we don’t want? Short-Order Cook.
Who has time for such endeavors? Not me and not you. Come mealtime, thy name shall be Versatile. Each month I will provide you with a recipe that you can serve to picky kiddos and dial up for more grown-up palates. Our first recipe: Cream Soda Pulled Pork Sliders with Poblano Grapefruit Slaw.
For my local mamas, I did all of my shopping at Central Market for this recipe. This is a slow-cooker recipe so do allow 7-8 hours of slow cooker time to create the pork prior to making the sliders. This recipe makes 12-14 sliders.
For the Pork:
- 4 lb. Bone-In Pork Shoulder Roast
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 Packet of Colorado Spice BBQ Seasoning
- Cream Soda – 72oz
- Chicken Broth – One 32oz container
For the BBQ Sauce:
- 2 Cups Ketchup
- 12 oz Cream Soda
- ½ Cup Water
- 5 Tbs. Light Brown Sugar
- 5 Tbs. Cane Sugar
- 1 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce
- ½ Tbs. Onion Powder
- ½ Tbs. Chipotle Power – or less to your taste
For the Slaw:
- ¼ Cup Julienned Poblano Pepper
- 2 Cups of Shredded Cabbage
- ½ Cup Mayonnaise
- Chipotle Tobasco Sauce
- 1 Tbs. HEB Grapefruit Vinaigrette – If you can’t find this, vinaigrette that features a strong citrus flavor will do.
For the Slider:
- 2 Tbs. Butter
- Brioche Rolls – or whatever type of small bun you prefer
Slow-Cook the Pork
Salt and pepper the raw pork shoulder and cover it with the BBQ seasoning so that the seasoning completely covers the meat. Let the meat rest in the seasoning for 10-15 minutes. Place the meat into a slow cooker with the fat side up if possible. Pour cream soda and chicken broth into the slow cooker until the liquid covers the pork. The ratio of cream soda to chicken broth should be 6:1, meaning that no matter how much liquid is in the pot, there should be six times as much cream soda as chicken broth. Cook over low heat for 6-8 hours or until the pork falls apart easily. Remove the pork to a large bowl and shred with two forks. Remove any large chunks of fat. Add salt to season to your taste.
Versatile Chef Step: Remove a portion of plain pork for the kiddos who don’t like sauce or prefer their sauce on the side.
Make the Slaw
In a small bowl, mix together the mayo, tobasco, and vinaigrette. In a large bowl, mix together the cabbage and poblano strips. Add the contents of the small bowl to the large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste and chives if you like. Set the slaw aside. You can make the slaw up to a day ahead of time. Refrigerate if you make the slaw ahead of time.
Whip Up the BBQ Sauce
Of course, you can use any type of BBQ sauce that you like, but the cream soda and chipotle in this sauce compliment the pork nicely.
Add 12oz of cream soda to a small sauce pan. Turn up the heat to medium and simmer the soda for 20 minutes or so until it is reduced to about half a cup. You might have a little more than half a cup and that’s ok.
In a large sauce pan, combine your reduced cream soda with the rest of your BBQ sauce ingredients and simmer over medium to medium-low heat for about 30-45 minutes or until all ingredients have blended. Be sure to stir the sauce often and monitor the heat. With the high sugar content, you don’t want to risk burning.
Versatile Chef Step: For the kiddo that doesn’t appreciate spicy foods, eliminate the ½ Tbs. of chipotle powder for the initial cooking of the BBQ sauce. Once the sauce is complete using all other ingredients, take out a portion of the sauce and set it aside. Reduce the heat to very low and add the chipotle powder (reduce the amount to correspond with the sauce left in the pan). Let the sauce heat for 5 minutes or so to blend the chipotle powder in.
Put Together the Sliders:
Mix together a portion of the shredded pork and BBQ sauce. How much you mix depends on your preference of meat to sauce rationing, what you have already pulled out of the pot and set aside for the kiddos, and how much you need for your servings.
On a skillet, melt two tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Cut the buns in half and place them on top of the melted butter to create a heated, crispy buttered bun. Place the meat on top of the buttered buns and top with slaw. Serve immediately.
Versatile Chef Step: Reserve a portion of the buns for the kiddos and butter and heat depending on preferences. Serve according to your kids’ preferences. You can do a deconstructed meal of every element alone on the plate or work up a sandwich with the sweet-no-heat sauce on the side or present a sandwich with no sauce at all.