Tag Archives: Sauce

Carolina Style Barbecue Sauce

Carolina Style Barbecue Sauce

About a month ago we decided it was finally time to cook the gigantic 16lb pork shoulder we have had in our freezer ever since we bought our last hog (hint: almost a year now).  Rather than eat leftovers for weeks we decided to throw a party where the centerpiece was a huge brined and smoked hunk of pork.  Doesn’t that sound like the best centerpiece ever?

The Simple Ingredients

The pork was pretty amazing on its own.  However, we are sauce people at heart.  Marc has been known to whip up a batch of his favorite Thai peanut sauce and pour it over just enough rice to make it appear as if he is not eating only sauce.  The problem with commercial bbq sauces is that they tend to be loaded with sugar and high fructose corn syrup and light on things like tomatoes and spices.  So we figured we had best make our own. Besides, if we are going to spend 11 hours smoking fresh pork, why would we let someone else add the final touch in the form of a sauce?

Onions and Garlic in the Pan

Turns out that this project was really pretty simple.  As a matter of fact, we already had all of the ingredients in the house, no shopping necessary.  Gently saute some onion and garlic in oil, add all of the ingredients, simmer 15 minutes and it’s pretty much done.  A final whiz in the blender to make a nice smooth sauce and it was ready to go.  So easy… why haven’t we done this in the past?

Simmer Simmer

Carolina Style Barbecue Sauce

Adapted from Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn


1/2 cup (70 grams) chopped onion

1 tbls (18 grams) chopped garlic

1 tbls (15 ml) vegetable oil

1/2 cup (25 ml) cider vinegar

1/2 cup (125 ml) Worcestershire sauce

1 tbls (4 grams) dry mustard powder

2 tablespoons (26 grams) dark brown sugar

2 tbls (16 grams) paprika

1 tbls (15 grams) kosher salt

1 tsp (3 grams) cayenne pepper

1 cup (250 ml) catsup (we like Trader Joe’s Organic Ketchup because it actually tastes like tomatoes, you could substitute the same volume of tomato puree if you would like)

To Make:

Start with a medium sized heavy bottom sauce pan and heat the vegetable oil (or use olive oil if you want that flavor as part of your sauce). Add the onion and garlic and gently saute until soft but not browned.

Add in the cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, dark brown sugar, paprika, kosher salt and cayenne pepper.  Stir the ingredients together and bring to a gentle simmer.  Add in the catsup, return to a simmer and set your timer for 15 minutes.  Stir occasionally to make sure the mixture isn’t sticking to the bottom of  the pan.

After 15 minutes of simmering, remove the pan from the heat and allow to slightly cool before blending.  Using a blender, puree the mixture until smooth.  Please, please, please be careful blending hot or warm liquids.  The steam builds up and can cause the sauce to splatter all over, creating both a mess and potentially burning you.  To avoid this, puree in small batches and remove the top from the blender lid to allow the excess steam to be released.

To Serve:

This is a nice, slightly tangy bbq sauce that is great on meats of all kinds (especially smoked ones!).  It would also make a great base for a bbq chicken pizza (like this one). Makes about 2 cups and stores up to a week or so in the fridge.


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Filed under Add-ons, Dairy-free, Dinner, Gluten-Free

Carnitas (a.k.a Mexican Pulled Pork)

Carnitas (a.k.a. Mexican Pulled Pork)

Carnitas (a.k.a. Mexican Pulled Pork)

It has been a great summer for vegetables.  Our farm share has produced a tremendous amount of delicious fruit and vegetables that we have been eating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day (okay, maybe for breakfast only 2-3 days a week).  That is why so many of our summer recipes have been veggie-focused.  We want to make sure everyone knows what to do with all the great produce.  Once in a while though, you just want some meat.  Sure, you can have a side of veggies, or maybe use them as a garnish… but sometimes, even in the summer, meat has to take center stage.

Working on the pork butt

Working on the pork butt

This is definitely that kind of dish.  Ever since my friend Chrissy passed me this recipe more than a year ago, it has been hovering at the back of my mind whispering things like “Kelly, make me” and “I am both crispy and meltingly delicious, you won’t be able to resist.”  We recently had the chance to purchase a whole pig from this great farmer and with a beautiful pork shoulder in our possession, I knew those whispers couldn’t be ignored any longer.

How the sauce should look once it is reduced

The sauce is ready

Of course, as soon as I had my first bite, I wondered why the heck I had waited so long.  The pork, which is braised and then broiled, is fall-apart tender with crisp edges.  The braising liquid is reduced to make a flavorful glaze that gives the pork a rich taste with overtones of orange and cumin.  This is not a complicated recipe, but it does take some time.  Now that the weather is cooling off a bit in the Northeast, it is the perfect time to take on a recipe like this.  Make it for Sunday dinner and enjoy with the lovely late summer tomatoes and corn.

Spread with sauce and ready for the broiler

Spread with sauce and ready for the broiler


Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated


1 3.5 – 4 lb boneless pork butt, fat cap trimmed to 1/8″ thick, cut into 2″ chunks

1 tsp ground cumin

1 small onion, peeled and halved

2 bay leaves

1 tsp dried oregano

2 tbls freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 1 lime)

2 cups water

1 medium orange, halved

To Make:

Position oven racks to lower middle slot and preheat to 300F.  In a large Dutch Oven (make sure it is stove top and oven safe), combine pork, cumin, onion, bay leaves, oregano, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste, and water.  The liquid should just barely cover the meat.  Juice the orange into a bowl, discarding the seeds, add to the Dutch Oven along with the orange halves.

Bring the Dutch Oven to a simmer on the stove top over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Once the whole thing is simmering, cover the pot and toss it into the oven.  Cook until the meat is tender enough to fall apart when pierced by a fork (about 2 hours).

When the meat is ready, remove the pot from the oven and set your oven to broil.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat to a bowl, discard the orange halves, bay leaves and onions.  Put the pot over high heat (remember, it was in the oven for two hours so use pot holders).  Bring the liquid in the pot to a boil and reduce until it becomes thick and syrupy, stirring frequently.  A wooden spoon or heat proof spatula should leave a trail when it is dragged through the simmering liquid.  It should take 8-12 minutes and leave you with about 1 cup of goodness.

Meanwhile, shred the pork by sticking the middle with two forks and pulling each piece apart.  Fold the reduced liquid into the pulled pork.  Set a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet.  Place the pork on the wire rack in one layer.  Keeping the oven rack in the same lower middle position, slide in the pork into the oven.  Broil until the tops are well browned, about 5 to 8 minutes.  Take it out, turn the pork pieces over (think big pancake spatula), put it back in for another 5 to 8 minutes.

To Serve:

Serve warm, in burritos, as tacos, on a plate, etc. with garnishes such as salsa, lime wedges, sour cream, guacamole, fresh cilantro, corn and black bean salad.  Use your imagination.  Serves 4-6 as a main course.

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Cumin-Dusted Pork Cutlets with Citrus Pan Sauce

Cumin-Dusted Pork Cutlets with Citrus Pan Sauce

Do you know what you are making for dinner tonight?  Is your menu written out on your big wall calendar so you know what you are making for every night of the week?  Perhaps you aren’t as nutty as we are about menu planning, but that’s okay.  You can still have an amazingly delicious dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes if you make this pork recipe.

Gathering the ingredients

This recipe is great for many reasons.  1) most people have the ingredients on hand, 2) it uses pork cutlets which are super thin, thaw quickly (if you forgot to take them out of the freezer the day before), and cook quickly, 3) the pan sauce takes less than 5 minutes to make but tastes so good that you will want to pour it on everything in sight.  The sauce is tart and tangy with the citrus juices, the honey adds a hint of sweetness to round it out, and the garlic and olive oil keep the whole thing from being too syrupy-tasting.

Cooking the pork

If you find yourself with boneless pork chops instead of cutlets, you can still make this work.  Simply cut the chops in half cross-wise and pound them to 1/4 inch thick between two sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap.  This is an excellent way to let out the day’s frustrations.  Serve with rice and black beans and some greens and you have yourself a meal in no time flat.

Scrumptious pan sauce

Cumin-Dusted Pork Cutlets with Citrus Pan Sauce

Adapted from Bon Appetit


2 tbls all-purpose flour

2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

3-4 pork cutlets (about 12 ounces total)

3 tbls olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

3 tbls fresh lemon juice

1 tbls honey

To Make:

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Combine flour, cumin, salt and pepper on a plate and mix well.  Coat each pork cutlet in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess.  Add the pork to the skillet and cook through, turning once, about six minutes.  Transfer the pork to serving plates and tent with foil to keep warm.

Add the last 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the skillet.  Add the garlic and cook until just golden (about 30 seconds), stirring often.  Add the orange juice and the lemon juice.  Bring the juices to a boil, whisking often until reduced and slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.  Whisk in honey.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Pour the sauce over the pork.

To Serve:

Serve warm with whatever sides strike your fancy.  If you put rice on before starting the pork, everything can be done at the same time.  I recommend doubling the sauce recipe.  The amount outlined above makes just enough to lightly cover the pork.  The sauce is so darn good that we find ourselves licking our plates to get every last drop… well, maybe that’s just me.  In any case, consider making extra to drizzle over rice or vegetables.  Serves 2-3.

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Filed under Dairy-free, Dinner, Meat, Recipes