I don’t know if there are enough words to describe my love for pulled pork. To me, it’s one of the world’s most perfect foods. It’s rich and succulent and so versatile. You can have it “naked” from the smoker and let the flavours hold their own, or you can mix it or top it with a number of sauces that can vary based on region. You can have it piled on a plate, on a bun or even wrapped up in a perfect little taco. There was no doubt that I’d be making pulled pork on this North American Road Trip, but I had to decide which region would inspire the way I made it.
For this road trip, I decided to go with Kansas City style pulled pork, which involves a tomato-based sauce with vinegar and mustard. I, sadly, do not have a smoker, so I made this in my slow cooker. I used a small-ish pork loin roast (about 3 pounds). I rubbed it with a spice mixture that I found here. I then made a batch of this Kansas City Style BBQ sauce. I placed the pork in the slow cooker and poured the homemade sauce over it. I cooked mine on high for about 4 hours, but if you started this early in the day, you could cook it on low for about 7-8.
To accompany the pork, I put together a quick slaw. I bought a bag of broccoli slaw because I love the super crunchy texture. Also, I wanted to kick it up a notch so I used sriracha mayo instead of regular mayo for the slaw. I didn’t follow any particular recipe but added apple cider vinegar and the sriracha mayo until I had the creaminess and flavour that I liked.
I also decided to make some oven fries to serve alongside the sandwich. I started with 1 large russet potato (there are only two of us, so one potato was enough). I cut it into very thin fries, skin-on and then soaked them in ice cold water for about a half hour. I dried them off with a paper towel as best as I could then tossed them with grapeseed oil, salt and pepper. I spread them in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. I baked them at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes. Then, I flipped them and turned the oven up to 500 and continued cooking them for an additional 15 minutes. The end result were the crispiest oven fries I’ve ever been able to make. I think it was the combination of soaking them, then hitting them with the extra-high heat at the end that just made them so crispy. You might need to experiment with temperatures based on your own oven, but this worked for me.
Once the pulled pork was done (and had the house smelling unbelievable!), I took it out of the slow cooker and shred it using two forks. I then put it back in the slow cooker and mixed it up with the sauce.
I served it on a fresh, toasted kaiser bun and topped it with the sriracha slaw.
This was probably the best pulled pork I have made to date. I used to fall victim to laziness and use pre-made sauce – which STILL turned out delicious every time – but this homemade sauce took it to the next level. My boyfriend also managed to find a bourbon-barrel aged beer from a small Kansas City brewery a our local LCBO to complete the meal.
So far, this is the early favourite in my culinary road trip! Check back in tomorrow to see where we ended up next.