A sweet and spicy Saturday meal: Dr. Pepper Pork
I like pork. I never met a pig product I didn't like. I am particularly partial to the pork loin, for it is lovely in its diverse applications. I don't ever pass up an opportunity to buy a pork loin when it is on sale, and I always plan to cook it in the crock pot over the weekend, but somehow I never do. Crock pots require a degree of thinking ahead that just doesn't agree with my fabulous and spontaneous lifestyle. Or, at least, with my ADD.
So, with my most recent pork purchase, I planned to slow cook a little barbacoa, but of course, I remembered this plan at about 4 in the afternoon on the day it was intended. Oops. Go ahead and consider this a crock pot recipe that I have already bastardized to go in the oven. I like to make a big mess of something on Saturdays so that there are leftovers for the rest of the week, particularly right now, when I could give birth at any moment. It's comforting to know there's food around. You'd think I was born in the depression, the way I'm stockpiling food.
Traditional pork barbacoa has chilis in adobo sauce, and I do love a good chili in adobo, but it is awfully spicy, and I like to make things my 3-year-old will eat these days. So, while this recipe has a kick, it's not too spicy for a delicate palate. If you love spicy, go ahead and blend in some chilis in adobo. You won't regret it.
Mr. Meat and Potatoes gave me a Soda Stream for Christmas, mostly to shut me up since I've been whining about wanting one since June. I want every single thing I drink to have bubbles in it. And now, since this most precious of gifts has been bestowed upon me, it does. I've been compulsively using it, and I like to incorporate it into my cooking as often as possible, so into the barbacoa went a liter of homemade Dr. Pepper. People, there isn't much that Dr. Pepper can't make better. And Dr. Pepper you made in your house? Righteous. I mean, you could use store-bought Dr. Pepper to fine results, I'm sure, but somehow making a fresh batch right there for my recipe seemed far superior.
Dr. Pepper Pork Barbacoa
For the sauce:
2 cups El Pato Tomato Sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 liter (about 5 1/2 cups) Dr. Pepper (do not use diet)
1 tablespoon juice from pickled jalapenos
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
few shakes of crushed red pepper
3 pounds pork loin or pork butt
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil (I had some pepper-infused olive oil that I used for this to great results)
Begin by preheating your oven to 325 F.
Then salt and pepper your pork liberally and heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over high heat. Toss the pork in the oil and brown thoroughly on all sides. Do not skimp on this step. Turn on your vent, because this could get rather smoky.
Meanwhile, mix up your sauce. I just stirred mine together but if you are using chilis in adobo you'll want to blend or food process it to make it all smooth and incorporated.
Just put everything except the Dr.Pepper in a bowl and stir. Pour the Dr. Pepper into the pot around the pork and then pour the tomato mixture over the pork to coat.
Cook at 325 F for about three hours.
I served mine with some jasmine rice and black beans, a la rice bowl with green onions and cilantro, but you could wrap it in a tortilla or even on a bun. Whatever makes your skirt fly up.
It makes a lot and will freeze nicely for later, say, when you are recovering from a cesarean section and cooking sounds like a torture akin to pulling out your arm hairs one by one.