Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Asian Pulled Pork
Every once in a while, our grocery store will have a special on whole pork tenderloin that is just too good to pass up. As a result we occasionally end up with 7-10 pounds of the tasty cut in our freezer, usually parceled into 2-3 pound bundles. It roasts well, put shreds wonderfully after a day in the slow cooker. On a cold January day, a BBQ shredded pork sounded perfect.
I have of late jumped back into phase 1 of South Beach, making most commercial BBQ sauces a no-no for the shear amount of sugar and corn syrup they often contain. After a bit of searching I stumbled upon an interesting Asian pulled pork recipe. So little sugar was in the rub and sauce that is was easy enough to substitute splenda or truvia without sacrificing the taste, especially with so many other flavors in the mix.
I did make quite a few substitutes to the sauce, due to what I did or did not have at home. Below is my version. The original can be found at the Week of Menus blog (I really want to dish this up again someday with Joanne's pickled shallots and pickled jalapeno accompaniments).
2-3 lb pork tenderloin (or shoulder, or butt...)
2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp ginger powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp brown sugar substitute
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp fresh minced ginger
2 tsp rice wine
1 1/2 tsp sriracha
1 Tbsp sugar substitute
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp nut butter (peanut or cashew works particularly well)
1/2 cup chicken broth
fresh cilantro, chopped
In a bowl, combine all of the rub ingredients and mix well. Trim any excess fat from the pork, pat dry and press into the rub, coating all sides. Place the pork in a slow cooker with 1/2 cup of water or broth and cook on low for 7-9 hours.
About a half hour prior to serving, start the sauce. Saute the garlic and ginger in oil for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the rice wine, srircaha, sugar substitute, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil and nut butter. Simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken broth and simmer while the pork is prepared.
Remove the pork from the slow cooker. Discard any cooking liquid. Shred the meat with two forks and return to the cooker. Stir in the sauce and set the cooker to warm until ready to serve.
A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! The meat was tender and juicy without being soggy or overly laden with sauce. One thing I love about Asian fusion recipes such as these is how well all of the flavors meld...salty, sweet, acidic, spicy...
This meat would have made a great sandwich (especially with the aforementioned accompaniments found with the original source). However, as I have cut the carbs for the next two weeks I opted to serve it over a bed of shredded cabbage that had been tossed with sesame oil and rice wine vinegar. The cool crisp cabbage and warm, spicy pork played so well off each other. Those two in tandem would work well wrapped in lettuce leaves (as seems to be the current appetizer trend at many a nicer Asian fusion restaurant), or with báo bǐng...those delicate little Chinese crepes...
There was quite a bit of heat, probably from the srirachi. I loved it. Ross was ambivalent. But the spice-timid could always dial back the cayenne in the rub and serve the sriracha on the side.