I have been craving pulled pork but I just didn’t have the time necessary to slow cook the meat. I took a risk and a major shortcut by buying a pork tenderloin at the store. I wasn’t sure if the meat would be too stringy braising it in liquid and I was so afraid that I was going to cook it too long and have mush instead of meat. This is not a cut of meat that is made for long, slow cooking. It is already tender, you don’t need the liquid and long cooking times that other cuts need to break down the collagen. Turns out all my fears were ungrounded.
In 2 1/2 hours I had pulled pork, tender, juicy and intensely flavored, yeah me!
I started by building flavors, first I seasoned the meat with Penzey’s Pork Chop Seasoning then I browned the meat on all sides.
I removed the meat from the pan, lowered the heat, and added some sliced onions. I seasoned them with salt and pepper and slowly cooked them, stirring to pick up the fonds from the bottom of the pan. Once the onions had a little color and had softened a bit, I added in three minced garlic cloves, one granny smith apple, diced and one of the jalapeno peppers from my garden, diced. I allowed that to cook for another minute and added two 12 oz bottles of beer to the pan along with 1 cup of water. I put the meat back in the pan, brought the liquid to a boil, turned it down to a simmer and put a lid on the pot. I left it to cook for two hours.
I wanted to hit all of the taste bud flavors into one dish, sweet (apple), savory (onions), spice (jalapeno), bitter (beer), salt (spice blend), infusing the meat with subtle flavor that would still be strong enough to stand up after being doused in BBQ sauce.
After two hours, I removed the meat and let it cool for a bit before shredding the meat with two forks. I turned the heat to high and reduced the pan sauce by half to intensify the flavors. Once it had reduced, I used my hand-held submersion blender to blend the onions, garlic, jalapeno and apple, creating a smooth, light broth.
I took half the meat and tossed it with some BBQ sauce and served it on potato rolls with a side of coleslaw. The rest of the meat, I put in a freezer bag, topped it with the cooking liquid and put it in the freezer for a quick easy weeknight dinner. I prefer to reheat shredded meat in a bit of liquid so it doesn’t dry out. I will heat the meat in the broth and then drain it and toss with BBQ sauce.
Another reason to store your left over pulled pork in the cooking liquid is so you can use the meat in another dish. Use it to top nachos, make pork tacos, add it to potatoes and make hash, the possibilities are endless!