Friday, August 06, 2010

Leftovers? Not So Much

Again, I apologize for the lack of interesting posts right now, but the stress of the unknown has been weighing heavily on my mind lately, and it just saps the creativity right out of me. However, all is not lost--there is a glimmer of hope and the wheels of progress are turning ever so slowly. I'll say no more until I know more, but right now, I'm cautiously optimistic.

But enough about that. Let's talk about what really brings in the crowds--food!

Yep, even though I have no creativity at the keyboard right now, I still have mad skillz in the kitchen, and man oh man, did they ever shine on Wednesday night.

It was our usual poker night, and lately, I've felt like we've been in a rut as far as munchies go. It seems that we always have either pizza, wings, little smokies, queso dip, or some combination thereof. Nobody complains, that's for sure, but I felt like we needed some variety.

Not only that, but we didn't even play poker this time around. After I taught the fellas how to play 'golf' last Wednesday, that's all they wanted to play this week. New game, new menu--it had to be done.

So I thought that I'd make something special this time around, and eventually I decided to make pulled pork bbq. Now, I don't have a smoker, but that's an easy fix. So here's what I did:

First of all, I had bacon for breakfast. This is a very important step. I cook my bacon in a huge cast-iron skillet that weighs about as much as a TV set--it's the most useful implement in the ol' kitchen toolbox as far as I'm concerned. So anyhow, after I had my bacon, I got rid of most--but not all--of the drippings, and I didn't wash the pan, either. I heated it back up, and tossed in a nice hefty $9.00 pork roast that I picked up at the grocery store. I gave it a good sear on all sides, letting some of that bacon goodness seep into the meat. Once it had a nice bacony caramelized outer shell on it, I transferred the whole thing into the crock pot.

I set it on low, at first, and doctored the meat up a bit. Into the pot went an envelope of Lipton onion soup mix, a couple of cloves of minced garlic, a little fresh cracked black pepper (no salt needed--there's plenty in the onion soup mix), about a quarter cup of water, and a quarter cup of Coca Cola.

I let that slow-cook for a couple of hours, then turned it up to 'high' for two more hours after that. That's when the house really started to smell good. After four hours, I turned the crockpot down to 'low' again, this time for another hour. After five hours in the meat sauna, it was just about ready. So I carefully transferred the pork roast to a huge Pyrex mixing bowl, and attacked it with two forks, shredding the meat. It was extremely tender, and very easy to work with--it basically fell apart with very little effort.

Once the meat was all shredded, I poured off all but about a quarter cup of the drippings in the crockpot, and whatever was left, I poured over the meat in the mixing bowl to keep it moist. Then I added an entire bottle of KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce, a generous squeeze of Sriracha hot Thai chili sauce, a few drops of liquid smoke, and another quarter cup of Coca Cola. I mixed it all up an put it back in the crockpot. Then I took the empty bottle of BBQ sauce, added a splash of water to it, put the lid back on, shook it up, and emptied the dregs into the crockpot also--a little extra moisture doesn't hurt at all, and you want all that bbq sauce goodness.

I left the crockpot on low for about another hour, when my guests started arriving, but I stirred it around every ten or fifteen minutes or so (you don't want the bbq sauce to scorch, so you kind of have to babysit it, and also, when you take the lid off, the smell is just amazing...) After about an hour, I turned it down to the 'Keep Warm' setting.

Anyhow, once people started showing up, their reaction was the same--Holy shiat it smells good in here! I had some good onion buns to make the sandies with, and they were a hit, too. And of course, one can't have good bbq without coleslaw, so earlier in the day I ran down to the KFC on East Tropicana and picked up two large containers of the good stuff. I think we also had kettle-cooked Maui Onion tater chips, plus an assortment of beer and other drinks.

Let me tell you--everyone raved about the food this time around, and they tore through my kitchen like a biblical horde of locusts. And oh by the way, they want me to make the same thing again next week. (Everyone went back for seconds and thirds until there was nothing left but an empty crockpot and a garbage can full of dirty paper plates)

I didn't think about taking any pictures at the time, but then, I wasn't thinking about writing about it, either. Hell, I had no idea that it would turn out to be such a hit, so y'all will just have to use your imagination (or Google Image Search, like I did).

Anyhow, poker night went well, and we stayed up goofing off until almost 2:00 in the morning. Once the food was gone and the game was over, we lounged about smoking cigars (well, AC and I smoked the pipes). Overall, it was a very enjoyable and fun evening, highlighted by some damn good food.

And I know what you're thinking--Why Coca Cola? I don't know, but it's one of those magical ingredients that makes pork taste better. Some hillbilly discovered it years and years ago, and now it's a staple of southern cooking. Baste a baked ham with it sometime, and you'll know what I mean.

So that's what went down on Wednesday night here at Casa de Mikey--lots of good food, plenty of beer and cocktails to drink, a great game of cards, and lots of fine tobacco was smoked. Yep, it was a pretty good Hump Day, one that I can't wait to do all over again next week.


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