Hands up if you got a Terry’s Chocolate Orange for Christmas! I got one and I bought one so I actually had two of them taunting me with their orange-y cocoa-y goodness. When I decided I was going to make pulled pork, I had a vague idea in my head that I was going to do it in the slow cooker with root beer and spices. But while nibbling on slice after slice of chocolate orange, unsurprisingly I had new inspiration.
Despite my addiction I showed a lot of restraint with the chocolate. I used a 4 pound pork shoulder and just 6 slices of Terry’s. I think the slices provide a subtle back note in the sauce, which also has dark beer, hot chili powder, cocoa powder, cumin, and maple syrup.
You can turn the base recipe, aka the Pulled Pork: The Mother recipe, into at least four dishes, including tacos, nachos, chili, and of course, sandwiches. Here’s a pic of the nacho version:
This post also contains two bonus recipes. The first is for a barbecue sauce that you can serve with the sandwiches. It’s never made sense to me that you’d make your own pulled pork and top it with bottled sauce. So, after I cooked the pulled pork and separated the meat from the fat and bone, I strained out the cooking liquid and turned it into bbq sauce, by adding maple syrup, sweet smoked paprika, and freshly squeezed orange juice. Making this is optional, but adds a extra layer of flavour.
The second bonus recipe is for a quick Carrot Jicama coleslaw that would be good on either the tacos or the sandwiches.
Pulled Pork: The Mother Recipe
It was New Year’s Eve when I first made this. I traipsed half way across town to an organic butcher only to be greeted by the neon Closed sign of the shop. Not really registering what this meant, and seeing men working inside, I pulled at the locked glass door. One of the butchers came to the door and upon hearing what I was making, advised me that “bone in, crackle on” was the way to go. He handed me the meat, wrapped in eco-friendly black plastic, through the shop door. It was twilight. There was a lightly falling snow. I took my 4 pound bundle of joy home and spent New Year’s cooking it and New Year’s Day eating it and concocting the bonus recipes. Let me know if you think this was a good way to ring in the year!
- 4 pound pork shoulder, bone in, crackle on
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 cups chopped sweet onion
- 2 cans of tomato paste
- 375 ml dark beer
- 2 tablespoons hot chili powder
- 1 tablespoon regular chili powder
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 6 segments chocolate orange
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium frying pan, add the oil and heat to medium then add the 2 cups chopped sweet onion and fry until soft and starting to brown.
- Turn your slow cooker on its slowest setting.
- Add the onions to the slow cooker.
- In the same frying pan that you cooked the onions, add the tomato paste and cook and stir over low heat for a few minutes. Add the dark beer, stirring it into the tomato paste. Stir in the spices, chocolate orange slices, and maple syrup.
- Add the pork to the slow cooker on top of the onions. Pour the beer/tomato paste/spices on top.
- Let it do its thing until the meat is falling off the bone. I made the Pulled Pork in a slow cooker on low and left it overnight.
- Let it cool enough to handle.
- Remove the bone and any big fatty pieces of pork.
- Put the pork in a colander and strain out about 80% of the liquid. What remains is your base for tacos or nachos or sandwiches. If you are making chili, leave about half of the liquid in and set aside the rest to add back as needed.
Bonus Recipe 1: Barbecue Sauce
- liquid from Pulled Pork: The Mother Recipe
- 1/8 cup sweetener (I used maple syrup, it’s a Canadian thing)
- 1/8 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Take the liquid that you strained out of the Pulled Pork in step 9 and pour it into a medium-sized sauce pan.
- Add the sweetener, orange juice, and paprika.
- Put the cornstarch in a small bowl, and stir in some of the barbecue sauce liquid, until smooth. Stir this back into the barbecue sauce.
- Heat until thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Bonus Recipe 2: Carrot Jicama Coleslaw
- 2 cups of grated carrot
- 2 cups of grated jicama
- 1/4 cup of plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice
- honey to taste
- In a medium bowl, combine the carrot and jicama.
- In a smaller bowl, combine the yogurt and lime and stir until smooth. Season with honey to taste.
- Stir the dressing into the carrot and jicama.
Dish Idea 1: Nachos
These are ingredients per serving. If you are making a 10 inch platter, you will probably need at least 8 servings, in other words, 8 times the recipe below.
- 1/2 cup corn chips
- 1/2 cup heated Pulled Pork
- 1 ounce old white cheddar, grated
- 1/4 cup caramelized onions
- Optional items:
- sliced jalapenos
- Mexican crema, sour cream, or plain whole fat yogurt
- Make Pulled Pork: The Mother Recipe.
- Use it to make nachos, layering as follows:
- pulled pork
- caramelized onions
- jalapenos, if using
- Cook at 425 for about 10-12 minutes until the cheese is melted.
- Serve with crema/sour cream/yogurt and some good beer. A Belgian white with orange and coriander would be awesome.
Dish Idea 2: Tacos
- tacos of your choice
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup heated Pulled Pork, depending on taco size
- 1 ounce queso fresco or mild feta, grated or sliced
- 1 tablespoon Carrot Jicama Coleslaw
- Heat the tacos according to package instructions.
- Heat the Pulled Pork.
- Place Pulled Pork into taco and top with cheese and coleslaw.
Dish Idea 3: Chili
This is a bit of a loose recipe because it really depends on how much of the pulled pork you want to use.
- olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 1 to 2 poblano peppers, chopped
- 1 to 2 cans of black beans, drained
- good ratio of Pulled Pork and its sauce
- suggested toppings: nacho chips, cheese, sour cream
- In a medium pan, saute the chopped onion and poblano peppers over medium heat until soft and browned.
- Stir in the black beans, Pulled Pork, and the sauce.
- Simmer over medium to low heat until the flavours are mingled, at least 1/2 hour. More is better. You might need to add extra sauce.
- Serve with one or more of the suggested toppings.
Dish Idea 4: Sandwiches
- Make Pulled Pork: The Mother Recipe.
- Make the BBQ sauce.
- Optionally, make the coleslaw.
- Make/buy/barter for bread/rolls of your choice.
- Slather bread/roll with Pulled Pork, top with BBQ sauce and coleslaw.
Dish Idea 5: With Starch & Greens
The title says it all! This Pulled Pork could also just simply be served with a starch – potatoes, rice, yams, and some quickly steamed or stir-fried greens, such as spinach. Maybe toss in a little garlic or some chili oil, whatever you like. It’s your world, as Bob Ross would say!
That was a long post! Thanks for reading until the end. Scroll on down to the Comments section and tell me what you think.