Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pulled Pork and Baked Beans

As Jim calls it, the complete redneck meal.  
Here in Georgia it's only tolerable outside for about three (blissful) weeks out of the year.  Those weeks just so happen to almost always fall in the month of October.  One of many reasons why it's my favorite month.

Jim and I decided to take full advantage of that fact by eating dinner outside on the deck.  What better way to pass a crisp beautiful still somewhat warm college football Saturday in the fall?  There is none, my friend.  

And what better meal for such a day than pulled pork from the slow cooker and baked beans?  

I have never made pulled pork or really barbecue anything before.  Ridiculous, I know, but true.  And this just so happened to be the easiest recipe ever for unbelievably delicious pulled pork sandwiches.  The hardest part is figuring out exactly what pork tenderloin is.

Chops, I'm familiar with.  Roast, I can picture.  Loin, yeah I got it.  But tenderloin?  I was standing in the meat section wondering how any of this stuff could go from hunk of meat to shreds of barbecue when I found my answer in the form of a huge disgusting looking tube of squishy pork wrapped in plastic.  Sounds disgusting, but transforms into delicious. 

Don't worry, at this point, I too had my serious doubts.  And they were compounded yet again when I read this:

"Place pork tenderloin in the slow cooker.  Cover with one can of root beer.  Cook on low for 8 hours."

Now those of you who read my blog regularly may remember Root Beer Float Cake.  Somehow cake mix and a can of root beer became a delicious cake.  I'm not sure what sort of magic root beer possesses to take one other (mediocre at best) ingredient and combine to make something incredible.  I don't understand it and I don't question it.  I just accept it.

So, that's exactly what I did.  I feel bad even pretending like it's even a recipe, but here ya go.

Pulled Pork

2 lb. pork tenderloin
1 can root beer
2 cups barbecue sauce

Place tenderloin in slow cooker.  Cover with root beer.  Cook on low for 8 hours.

Drain pork, return to slow cooker.  Shred into bite-sized pieces.  Add 2 cups barbecue sauce and cook again on low for about 1 hour.  Serve on buns with additional barbecue.

The baked beans were inspired by Jack Stack, which Jim's best men referred to as "the best baked beans they've ever eaten".  I was impressed.  I was inspired.  I was challenged.  This is what I came up with.

Ode to Jack Stack Baked Beans

2 cans (15 oz) pork and beans
5 strips bacon
1 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 Tbsp chili powder
4 heaping Tbsp brown sugar

Fry bacon in a nonstick pan 3 minute per side or until crispy.  Remove to paper towels and pat dry.  When cool, crumble bacon into small pieces.  

Add all ingredients to a medium sized saucepan.  Stir to combine and cook over medium heat until bubbling.  Reduce heat to low and simmer about 25 minutes or until thick.  

As we ate this elegantly simple barbecue feast, we had an unexpected visitor.  I may have mentioned that our deck backs up to some serious woods.  We always hear squirrels crashing around back there.  Many times we hear something much larger and more cautious walking around back there in the leaves.  This particular evening we saw a 5 (maybe 6?) point buck.

He made eye contact with Jim more than once and just stood around letting us watch him munch on grass for a good ten minutes before he walked off, totally unafraid.  He probably knew he could seriously mess us up with those antlers if he wanted too.

See how close he is to our fence?  He was right there.  It was so cool.

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