Admission: I haven’t always been a vegetarian.
*GASP* you say, but alas, it’s true. For the better part of my formative years, I enjoyed immensely the likes of beef, chicken, sausage, and worldly goods from the ocean. By watching and helping my mother and grandmother, I learned how to cook all manner of meat-stuff.
Back then, it was easy to soak up all the extemporaneous actions of adding a pinch of this and a dash of that without worry. Now-a-days, my repertoire of non-vegetarian cooking relies heavily on written recipes, either those I find online or those from the one of the many cookbooks I own. It also helps to have a meat-eater in the house to whom I can always turn with a “please taste this.”
When I do cook meat, the highest compliment I can receive is having a table full of happy survivors with full and calm stomachs. But I’ll also occasionally get something along the lines of “I can’t believe a vegetarian cooked this!” My response is usually “don’t thank me, thank the recipe.” I had this conversation recently over a dinner of pulled pork sandwiches. If you try the recipe and like it, don’t thank me, thank Betty Crocker!
Root beer pulled pork
The bulk of this meal is cooked in a crock pot. The recipe recommends using one in the 3-5 quart range, but I used a 7-quart one, and things turned out fine.
For the roast:
4-pound pork roast, bone-in or boneless
salt, pepper, oil
2 medium onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup root beer (NOT diet)
For the sauce:
3 cups root beer (again, NOT diet)
1 cup chili sauce (or 1 cup of ketchup mixed with 2 teaspoons of hot chili powder and a dash of [rice wine, white, apple cider, etc.] vinegar)
You’ll also need:
Hamburger buns, kaiser rolls, or something similar
Condiments of your choosing, like coleslaw and pickles
- Begin by trimming and seasoning the roast with salt and pepper. Then in a hot, oiled pan, sear the roast on all sides (2-3 minutes per side).
- Place the onions in the bottom of the crock pot, followed by the garlic and then the roast. Pour in the 1 cup of root beer. Cook on low for 10 hours or high for 6 hours.
- Once the roast is done, remove bones if necessary, and then shred the roast with forks. (Depending on the size of your crock pot, you may have to remove the pork into order to do this. If so, transfer the pork back into the crock pot when done.) Keep shredded pork on warm.
- In a large saucepan over high heat, carefully mix together the root beer and the chili sauce. Bring the mixture to a roiling boil then reduce the heat enough to keep the sauce on a low boil. Stir occasionally.
- After about 30 minutes, once the sauce has reduced a little, add roughly 1/2 cup of the sauce to the pork in the crock pot and mix. Return the sauce pot to the stove and continue to cook the sauce until thickened — around another 30 to 45 minutes over medium heat. Remember to stir. (The sauce will also thicken a little more once it’s taken off the heat.)
Serve pork warm on rolls, with sauce.
Let’s see just how many blogs Cary can put on her roster before going mad! While you’ll find her here on occasion, you’ll more likely to catch her over on United We Game or Geek Force Network; or better yet, working on her own blog about gaming and nostalgia and such, Recollections of Play.