Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cola Braised Pulled Pork and Stovetop Mac and Cheese

You guys.  Have you ever seen the movie, "The Strangers"?  Its basically my worst nightmare realized in the form of a completely ridiculous yet painfully believable showing of cinematic genius.  Its about these people who make the mistake of answering the door to a stranger in the middle of the night and then they are terrorized and killed for no reason.  Sounds classy, huh?  I literally couldn't sit still while we watched it and instead paced the room, yelling at my husband, "why are they DOING this to me!?!?!  I can't even look!  Turn it off!  NO WAIT, leave it on!!!" and then I would plug my ears for the really scary parts. 

Ever since I watched that movie, I've been kind of scared to sleep in our house alone at night.  Because I'm convinced that I'll wake up to someone knocking at the door, and we KNOW that once that happens, its all over.  I often lay in bed and plan my escape routes should someone break in to come and get me.  I decide whether to hide or scream like a banshee and try to escape, depending on where the imaginary intruder might enter the house.  I think about if I climb out the window, how do I get Lola (the dog) out the window too?  Do I grab a butcher knife or a baseball bat?  Or neither!?!?  Its very stressful, just thinking about it.  And then of course when I go to sleep, I dream about it, too.

My husband was out of town this past week, and of course like a huge idiot, I start thinking about The Strangers as I'm getting ready for bed.  And then I have nightmares and lay awake, listening for the dreaded knock on the door.  Good lord, writing it down makes me sound a little bit crazy.  Anyway!  So then I can't go back to sleep right away because if I do, the dream will pick up right where it left off.  So I have to watch something on TV to get my mind off things.  I had a bunch of DVR'd episodes of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and that show is not scary at all.  It was perfect!  Until I fell back asleep in the middle of the third one.  My stranger dream picked up right where it left off, except that this time, instead of trying to kill me with a knife, the intruder tried to kill me by suffocating me with a pork chop.  I kid you not.

Anyway, now that I've confirmed that I'm completely insane, let's talk about pulled pork, shall we?  Made this for Monday night football when the Eagles lost to the Bears.  Shameful.  The pork, however, was anything but.  I could eat pulled pork every day.  But then I'd be too fat to climb out the window when an intruder comes.  So we'll keep this filed under the "once in awhile" bucket.

Crockpot Pulled Pork Braised in Cola
Source: Tasty Kitchen 

1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Paprika
1 teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 large Bone-in Pork Butt
1 whole Large Onion, Peeled
1 cup Cola (can Also Sub Cherry Cola Or Root Beer - I used Dr. Pepper!)
4 Tablespoons Cider Vinegar (divided In To 2)
1 cup BBQ Sauce (homemade, recipe below)

In a small bowl, combine all of the dry spice ingredients for the rub. Liberally season the pork roast all over with the rub. You may have extra left over, I save it for later use in an empty spice jar.

Slice onion in half crosswise, then cut those slices in half again so that you have 4 large pieces, or dice it if you prefer. Separate the onion into rings. Lay almost all of the onion in the bottom of the crockpot, leaving a few rings for the top. Place roast on top of the onions and lay the rest of the onion on top of the roast. Pour cola and 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar over roast. Cover, turn on low, and cook for 7 hours. After 5 hours check to see if the meat is pulling off the bone.  If it is you are ready to shred, if not check it again in 30 minutes.

When the pork is ready, remove it from the crockpot. Pour out the juices into a large measuring cup or bowl. Set aside. Remove onion from crockpot. Either use them to top sandwiches, or slice them up and add them later to the shredded pork.

Using two forks, shred pork and return it to the crockpot. Mix 1 cup of BBQ sauce with 1/2 cup of juices, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar. Pour over the shredded pork and toss gently to coat the pork. If it isn’t wet enough, add a little more juice, if you like it thicker, add more BBQ sauce. Keep it on warm until you are ready. Then serve and enjoy!

Emeril's BBQ Sauce
Source: Emeril!

4 cups ketchup
1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup pure cane syrup, or molasses
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Creole or other spicy whole-grain mustard
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2-3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno peppers
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon or other hot pepper sauce  
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Mix all ingredients.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Easy Mac and Cheese
Source: Sunny Side Up

16 oz box pasta, I used small shells
2 Tbsp butter
12 oz can evaporated milk
2 egg, beaten
1 tsp dry mustard powder
1/4 tsp red pepper optional
1/8-1/4 tsp Black Pepper
2 cups freshly grated cheddar cheese (I used gouda and cheddar mixed, and it must be freshly grated)
Salt to taste

Boil pasta shells 1-2 minutes short of the suggested time on the box. In the meantime, combine the evaporated milk, eggs, mustard powder, and pepper in a large measuring cup and whisk together.

Drain the pasta in a colander and then return it right back to the hot pan. Reduce heat to low. Add the butter and stir until melted.

Carefully add the milk egg combination to the pan, stirring constantly to avoid making scrambled eggs. Stir for 3-4 minutes or until it starts to thicken. Add the cheese in 4-5 increments, making sure that each addition is completely melted before adding the next.


  1. Haha, I'm exactly the same way when it comes to scary movies. I can't watch them and when I do I can't sleep! Lately I've been having zombie dreams!

  2. Can i just say that this was some of the best pork/bbq sauce that I have ever had? Great job, Ann. For all the readers out there - put some cola in some pork; it's good!

  3. Touchee on the pork recipe and GO BEARS! :)