................ After spending thirty minutes taking photos of this sandwich, I was hoping that it would taste as fabulous as it looked. I'm a little fussy with my food styling and like it to be "just right", I like to take the extra time, if needed .............. but this time I could hardly stand it.
If your a regular visitor here at The Café, you know that Scott, my husband is the wonderful photographer in residence. We work as team, with me as the chief cook and bottle washer, recipe developer, food stylist and post-writer, he's the one who catches all the great images, edits the posts, encourages me daily (sometimes hourly) in this crazy endeavor and is the CEO of taste-testing.
One of the things we do whenever we take pictures is tether. If you're not familiar with photography lingo, tethering simply means that we connect a cable from Scott's camera to my computer. The images are transferred instantly. I get to see the pictures as he's taking them and on a much larger screen than is available on the camera.
It's funny, when we tether, how I notice things that weren't apparent when plating the food. For example, with the first sandwich I put together for these photos, I had no idea how crooked I had cut the roll until it showed up on my screen. It looked a bit like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, you would have laughed.
So, we went back to the drawing board and for the second sandwich (pictured) Scott cut the roll ............ guess what? It's perfect! I guess I need to add "roll slicer" into his job description, what do you think?
The second roll looked great but I had a bit of touching up to do with the toppings. Too much purple cabbage here, not enough green on that side, a little extra sauce here and ............. on and on. We did finally get it right, or at least as right as it was going to get, because both of us were starving and "dying" to dive into these wonderful looking sandwiches. The aroma was driving us crazy.
I suspected what the verdict would be because I had snitched a bit as I was shredding the meat. But I had no idea how wonderful the whole combination would be. A delicious roll*, tender, succulent pork, a delightful sweet & spicy sauce and a simple, but perfectly complimentary fresh slaw as the crowning glory.
"Fabulous!" ................ that's exactly what we said and I have a feeling you'll be saying it too. Not only is this sandwich fabulously delicious, it's easy to put together with the slow cooker doing most of the work and it can be made ahead and warmed just before serving. See what I mean? Fabulous!
* ~ See those yummy looking rolls? They're my Sweet Potato Brioche Sandwich/Dinner Rolls. They're buttery and soft and make the perfect bun for this pulled pork. I'll be sharing the recipe next week but if you want to make the pork before then, just use your favorite sandwich roll.
Rosemary & Root Beer Slow Cooked Pulled Pork w/ Honey-Lime Slaw
Ingredients for the pulled pork:
2 liter bottle root beer
3 pounds pork loin or pork tenderloin, most visible fat removed
1 ½ cups barbecue sauce, use your favorite, we love Sweet Baby Rays
2 cloves garlic cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon sriacha sauce, a condiment available in the Asian section of most larger groceries
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary, divided
sandwich rolls, for serving
Instructions for the pulled pork:
1. Pour root beer into a medium large pot. Bring to a boil, then reduced slightly to a constant simmer. Cook for 30-45 minutes or until root beer is reduced to about 1 liter.
2. Remove from heat and add barbecue sauce, garlic, ginger, sriracha, salt and 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary.
3. Cut pork into several smaller pieces if using a large loin. If using pork tenderloin, don't worry about cutting the meat up.
4. Transfer liquid to a large slow cooker. Submerge meat in liquid. It probably won't be completely covered but that's fine. Turn cooker to high and cover. Cook for 4-5 hours or until meat is tender when pierced with a fork. Pork tenderloin will take less time than pork loin. Start checking the meat after about 3 hours.Turn meat pieces once or twice during the cooking process. Don't overcook or pork will be dry.
5. Remove meat from liquid and allow to cool slightly before shredding.
6. Transfer liquid that remains to a medium-large size pot. Skim fat from surface. Simmer for 30 minutes or until it begins to thicken and is reduced to about half the volume. When reduced, taste and add salt and pepper, if needed. Add last teaspoon of fresh rosemary.
7. While sauce is simmering, shred the pork with two forks. Don't shred it too fine or it will become mushy. You want nice pieces of pork.
8. When sauce is reduced, add about half of it to the pork and gently stir to coat the pork. Again, don't stir to vigorously so that pork turns mushy. Reserve the rest of the sauce.
9. Serve pork on buns or sandwich rolls of your choice. Top pork with Honey-Lime Slaw (recipe below), as desired. Pass reserved sauce at the
Ingredients for the slaw:
3 cups shredded cabbage
3 cups shredded red cabbage
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt & pepper, a pinch
¼ cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Instructions for the slaw:
1. Toss cabbages, cilantro and salt in a bowl. Season with pepper, as desired.
2. Whisk together lime juice, honey and sesame oil until smooth.
3. Pour honey-lime mixture over shredded vegetables and toss to combine. Serve slaw immediately on top of pork sandwiches or chill for an hour or two, toss again before serving.