Saturday, December 5, 2015

Why Wait Around to Eat?

Pulled Pork Sandwiches
One of my most vivid childhood memories involves sitting in a fancy restaurant called The Skyliner.  Our parents thought it was a special treat to dine out at least twice a year.  My brother and I considered it torture because of all the waiting around.  

Back then, bread baskets didn’t exist in Western Pennsylvania.  Or maybe our little town was too unsophisticated to have them.  All I know is that once we ordered our prime ribs of beef, it took the waiter at least 30 minutes to bring them to the table. To a kid that was like half a day.  What were they doing in the kitchen?

Once I had my own kitchen, I never had to wait around.  That’s one of the thrills of cooking your own food.  When I had guests, I planned ahead. They never twiddled their thumbs or sucked them while their stomachs grumbled. 

I even mastered cooking a prime rib roast, just to prove I could.  However, it’s a skill I seldom use because, like me, most of my dinner companions have stopped eating masses of meat.  Unfortunately I have yet to discover how to cook two servings of prime rib. 

However, I have figured out how to make two pulled pork sandwiches.  Instead of starting with an enormous boneless pork shoulder and cooking it for 7-8 hours, I substitute 2 pork chops.  Cooking time is 2 hours (unattended), and with the addition of BBQ sauce the taste is almost the same.  The best part?  No endless leftovers.
Pulled Pork Sandwiches - serves 2  
2 pork chops (the cheapest – looks don’t count because the meat will be shredded) 
1/2 cup cider or wine vinegar 
8 black peppercorns 
BBQ Sauce 
Buns (4 small or 2 large) 
Combine the pork chops, cider and peppercorns in a medium pot.  Add enough water to cover + 1 more cup.  Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 2 hours.  Check periodically to make sure the water hasn’t boiled away.  Add more water as needed.  
After 2 hours, the meat should be very tender and easy to pull apart.  If not, continue cooking, checking it every 15 minutes, until it is tender enough.  Turn off the heat and let cool.  Discard the liquid. 
When the chops can be easily handled, pull off the meat in shreds.  Refrigerate, covered, until needed. 
About 10 minutes before serving, heat the rolls in the oven.  Put the shredded pork in a medium pot, add a few tablespoons water and heat over medium heat until hot. 
Pile into buns and pass the BBQ Sauce.
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