Monday, May 21, 2012

Recipe: Tangy Shredded Cola Pork

Thanks to everyone for your ideas and support after my last post, "Surviving the Terrible Twos." Things are slowly improving, and I've really appreciated all the insight. Not only have I gotten some great ideas, it's nice to be reminded that I'm not the only one in the world struggling with this, and that sooner or later, this too shall pass. Evan still is pulling his share of tantrums but he seems to be settling some, and likewise I'm feeling happier and more at peace. I think what's changed most is my perspective and how I react to the situation, so in that respect alone I feel a LOT better about life with a toddler.

I will do a follow-up post soon, but until then, I wanted to share a recipe I came up with tonight that turned out fantastic, if I say so myself. It's a five-ingredient crock pot gem that is perfect for making in large quantities to serve at a party. It was just the three of us tonight (well, two, since Evan is a self-imposed vegetarian) so we barely made a dent in it, even though I had seconds and my husband had thirds.

I created this recipe after taking a look at several similar ones. You might say this is a "best of" combination pulled pork recipe. It was so simple and turned out so delicious I think it has now made its way into our regular rotation.

Tangy Shredded Cola Pork
-2 lbs. to 3 lbs. pork tenderloin, thawed
-1 can cola (must be regular, do NOT use diet!)
-approx. 1/2 bottle barbecue sauce
-1/2 packet dried onion soup mix
-Rolls or hamburger buns

Put the pork in a greased crock pot. Sprinkle the dried onion soup mix on top of the meat, squirt about 1/4 bottle of barbecue sauce on top, then pour the entire can of cola (I used Coke) into the crock pot. Put the lid on and cook on low for 6-7 hours.

When it's done cooking, pour all the liquid into a bowl and set aside. There will be a lot, but you will use some of it so don't throw it out.

Shred the pork using two forks. The meat should be very tender and just fall apart, so shredding it really doesn't take much time or effort.

Put the shredded pork into a serving dish (or back in the crock pot, if you're transporting the meat or serving out of the pot). Pour some of the liquid over the pork (I used about 1-1/2 cups) and stir to coat. The idea is to make the pork moist after shredding and adding some of the flavor back in, but not to saturate it.

To make the sauce: In a small bowl, mix about 1/2 cup of the liquid and about 1/2 cup of the barbecue sauce, or combine at any ratio to get the desired flavor and consistency. You can either mix the sauce in with the meat or serve it on the side, or both (I served it on the side).

That's it! I served the pork with sweet dinner rolls and we made pulled pork sandwiches. We also had pineapple spears and potato wedges, but we had enough of the liquid left over I contemplated making mashed potatoes so I could use it to make gravy. Maybe next time.

We were so busy wolfing down this tasty dinner that I did not get a "finished product" picture. You'll have to use your imagination here, but just take my word that it was delicious — tender, juicy and cooked to perfection.

Bon appetit!

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