Learning about food, photography, and writing. Sharing what I find.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Tangy Shredded Pork

So I guess we should add Pork to the list of things I over-eat. Cookies, Pizza, and Pork. I think the Pizza and Pork parts are really a reflection of how my marriage has directed my eating patterns. I have always had a love-affair with pizza, but, in Penn, I met my pizza-loving match. Obsessed + Obsessed = Frequent Binges. Also, Penn is far less enthused by chicken than he is pork. I love both, so I haven't minded upping the pork production. In fact, I am happy with how it has expanded my cooking mind.

For example, one night I wanted to try my hand at pulled pork, something my raised-below-the-Mason-Dixon-line husband truly treasures. I knew I could never do Southern Pulled Pork justice, but I wanted something to offer him. So, I called my mother and she had found a recipe on good-old Epicurious.com. It's nothing like Southern BBQ. In fact, I think it's more of an Asian-inspired recipe. Whatever it is, its tang hits all the right taste-buds for me . . . and it's very simple.

It's filled with flavor and makes a heck of a sandwich (I'd love to hear people's favorite coleslaw recipes to go along with this stuff! I think our sandwiches could have been even better with a little slaw on top!).

I'm going to call this Tangy Shredded Pork so that you remember not to inhale too deeply when taking a bite (Have you ever choked on vinegar? IT HURTS). I had previously copied the recipe into my recipe book, but I did find the original recipe back on Epicurious. Looks like a Lemon Slaw might be a good complement for the final pork product. I honestly didn't modify the recipe too much, just changed up some of the amounts to go with the exorbitant amount of pork I had to work with.

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. cider vinegar (we ended up adding even more)
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tbs. chili sauce (I found this in the Asian Foods section of my grocery store. Spicy and delicious!)
  • 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce (I used a heavy hand when measuring this one :)
  • 1-2 tsp. tabasco sauce (to taste)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pork tenderloin, halved
Assemble the ingredients at the start, because they are all added simultaneously.
Chop Onion and mince Garlic.

Heat a heavy, deep pan over medium heat.
Coat bottom of pan with Olive Oil.
Add the onion and garlic to the pan, stirring over medium heat for about 7 minutes.

Onions should just begin to brown around the edges when done.

(Recipes that begin with sauteing onion and garlic always seem to please the audience. You just can't beat that smell.)

Stir in the remaining ingredients, except the Pork, of course. Bring to a low boil and then simmer covered over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.

 While the sauce is simmering, remove all silver skin and excess fat from the pork.

(I am finally perfecting my silver skin removal skills! A pork loin is so much prettier without it.)

Add the now-trimmed pork to the sauce.

I was doubling the recipe. Do as I say, not as I do or you will be panicking about overflow like I did.

Simmer covered, turning occasionally, until pork is tender (About 45 minutes).

Remove the Pork to a heavy cutting board to cool (I took a picture of this, but 4 slabs of cooked, undressed pork sitting on a cutting board is not all that pretty to look at).
If necessary, cook the sauce down a little further (until slightly thickened) while the pork cools.
Purée the sauce in a blender until it is smooth.
Return smooth sauce to pot.
Place over low heat to warm.
Shred cooled pork with fingers or forks (I started with fingers and moved to forks per the suggestion of my brother-in-law. Both are good, but my impatience had led to scalded fingers when using the first method).

Add shredded pork to the pot.

Stir to coat pork with sauce and to heat pork through.

Do a taste-test to see if you need to add to the sauce (We added a bunch more vinegar and tabasco sauce at the end to bring up the punch. Some of the guys even added tabasco on top of their sandwiches).

(Penn caught me sneaking several "taste tests" before dinner)

Serve on fluffy rolls with your favorite cheese or coleslaw as topping.

 The next day I even made a hot dip out of the leftover pork. I chopped it up and stirred in some cream cheese, mozzarella, even more tabasco, baked it, and served it with tortilla chips and crackers! Oh, pork, you are so versatile.

Photo credit to Penn for the above post . . . wherever you see my hands, he is behind the camera (and some of the other ones, too).


  1. I'm not going to gush over this recipe like some fawning food critic trying to heap adjectives in order to get you to use one sense to imagine another. This will just be a clinical observation stating an unbiased fact; which is to say that if you fix this recipe according to the above directions, you will end up with a dish fit for breakfast, lunch AND dinner... as well as deserts for all three.

  2. This is actually the same recipe that I use...but I think my problem is that I don't puree the sauce, I don't thicken it enough, and I usually have way too much pork and not enough sauce. Mine definitely doesn't look like that, and I'm sure it doesn't taste as good. I'll have to try it again, with your modifications. :) Did you make those rolls?

  3. Bethy, I'm not sure Aaron would like this pork as we make it . . . very vinegar-y (but also very spicy). I think that using Mom's barbecue sauce recipe to cook the pork would be a good option for a sweeter, smokier flavor. I think the best part is that the pork cooks right in the sauce itself. And, the pureeing definitely helps the texture and coats the pork nicely. The sauce gets into all the nooks and crannies. :) Also, the first time I made this one, I didn't use the chili sauce. This time it definitely added a nice punch to the whole thing (and color, too).

    No, I did not make the rolls. I bet my biscuits would be a good carrier for this pork, though . . .

  4. A trick I learned for shredding pork shoulder may work for this. Wear a pair of heavy duty (new) rubber gloves when pulling. Clean, unburned hands abound!