[Recipe 2] PORK PO’BOYS with APPLE SLAW
Texan-style pulled pork is one of our favourite, er, pig-outs. It’s juicy and lip-smackin’, and goes down beautifully with caramelised apples and a glass of cider. My boys just love it. You’ll need to whip up a batch of home-made kick-arse BBQ sauce to marinate the pork in – it’s lovely and tangy, with a bit of bite; and it’s so easy to make. It yields a large quantity of sauce and it freezes well, so you can make these recipes again at a later date.
The pork is slow-cooked for at least 4 hours, so it’s most definitely a weekend meal. Reserve half the pulled pork, and some of the BBQ sauce though; and you can serve up amazing Pork po’boys with apple slaw as a second meal in no time.
Po’boys are traditional Louisiana-style submarines stuffed with any type of warm meat or fish (chicken, roast beef, shrimp, oysters, crab, fried catfish or… pulled pork). They’re always dressed with salad and we love stuffing ours with apple slaw – can’t have pork without apple.
The key to a perfect po’boy is the bread – it must be crusty with a soft centre. The long white rolls sold at Vietnamese bakeries around town fit the description perfectly.
There are countless theories as to the origin of the term po’boy, but the most widely-accepted story (which I discovered here) is that they were invented by Clovis and Benjamin Martin, brothers and former streetcar drivers who opened a restaurant on St. Claude Avenue in New Orleans in the 1920s. When streetcar drivers went on strike in 1929, the brothers took up their cause and created an inexpensive sandwich of gravy and spare bits of roast beef on French bread that they’d serve the unemployed workers from the rear of their restaurant. When a worker came to get one, a cry would go up in the kitchen: ‘here comes another poor boy!’ The name was transferred to the sandwiches, which eventually became known as ‘po-boys’.
Gawd, all this talk of 1920s America has reminded me of Boardwalk Empire. Season 3 starts in 8 days. Not that I’m counting sleeps or anything…
Ciao for now.
Ingredients (serves 4 for 2 meals):
1.75 kilo (3.8 lb) piece free-range boned pork neck (pork scotch fillet)
1 cup home-made BBQ sauce, plus extra to serve
Caramelised (caramelized) apples:
2 tablespoons (30g) butter
2 large green apples, cut into eighths
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon verjuice (verjus)*
Place pork into a small, close-fitting, ovenproof pot (I use my trusty orange lidded one, shown in this post).
Add 1 cup of cold water to the home-made BBQ sauce and stir well. Pour over the pork piece until well-covered. Allow to marinate in the fridge, covered, for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 150°C (300ºF).
Transfer the pork and the marinade to the pre-heated oven and bake for 4–5 hours, basting with the marinade once every hour, until the pork is very tender. Test to see whether pork is tender after 4 hours. If not, return to the oven for a further 30 minutes and check again.
Meanwhile, make the caramelised apples. Melt butter in a heavy-based frying pan. Add apples and brown sugar. Cook, covered, over a medium-high heat until the apple is golden brown and caramelised, about ten minutes. Reduce heat and stir in verjuice. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes on high, uncovered, stirring constantly. Remove pan from heat and set aside. Apples can be warmed when pork is ready to serve.
Remove pork from oven and allow to rest, covered with foil, for fifteen minutes.
♦ Reserve ½ cup pan juices for the Pork po’boys with apple slaw.
Discard remaining pan juices. With two forks, pull the meat apart into shreds.
♦ Reserve half of the pulled pork (about 2½ cups) for the Pork po’boys with apple slaw.
Pile remaining pork onto a large platter. Place warmed caramelised apples and extra BBQ sauce into serving bowls, and allow everyone to help themselves. Yummo.
- *Verjuice (or verjus) is made from the juice of unfermented grapes. The wonderful Maggie Beer, Australian cook and writer, has been producing verjuice since 1984. Hers is available world-wide, in large supermarkets and specialty food stores. If unavailable, replace with apple cider vinegar or white balsamic vinegar.
- Reserved pulled pork can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Fussy kid tip: I peel a couple of the caramelised apples and puree them for my boys – pulled pork and apple sauce! Yum.
[Recipe 2] Pork po’boys with apple slaw
Cut through bread rolls.
♦ Lightly warm the reserved pulled pork. This can be done carefully in a small covered saucepan, or in the microwave. Drizzle with the reserved cooking juices, cover with cling film (or a lid), and microwave on high for 1–2 minutes. Don’t make it too hot!
Stuff the bread rolls with the warmed pulled pork.
Add apple slaw and drizzle with home-made BBQ sauce. Serve immediately.
- Fussy kid tip: My 5-year old isn’t too keen on coleslaw so I serve his po’boy with avocado, grated carrot and tomato sauce (ketchup). We polish off the leftover coleslaw for lunch at work, with sliced poached chicken stirred through.