Raspberry-Chipotle Pulled Pork Sandwiches

I recently posted my recipe for Memphis-inspired pulled pork. Well now it's time to share how I put some of that pork to work.

Pulled pork is traditionally served on a CWB (cheap white bun) with a drizzle or two of sauce, and coleslaw. That's it! It's simple, easy and run-down-your-arm delicious.

I'm generally all about tradition, but sometimes it's good to color outside the lines a bit, so here I've added some fruitiness to the party. The combination of moist smokey pork, a fantastic raspberry-chipotle sauce, and slaw kicked up with pineapple truly elevate the sandwich.

8 large Plain hamburger buns
4 cups Pulled pork (here's a cheater version)
1 cup Fischer & Wieser Original Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce®
2 cups Pineapple slaw (recipe follows)

Pineapple Slaw
1 bag (16 oz) Tri-color slaw
1/2 cup Pineapple, crushed and drained
1/3 cup Buttermilk
1/4 cup Sugar
3 Tbsp Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp Canola oil
1 tsp Apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Garlic salt
1/2 tsp Celery salt
1/2 tsp Black pepper, ground fresh
1/8 tsp Maggi Seasoning
2 tsp Lemon juice, squeezed fresh

Note: If you can't find Maggi Seasoning, just use a dash each of Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce.

Combine all of the slaw ingredients, except the slaw mix, in a large mixing bowl and whisk until all of the dressing ingredients are smooth and well-incorporated.

Add the slaw and fold it in so that it's evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate 2-4 hours, stirring occasionally.

Warm the sauce and buns.

Fischer & Wieser Original Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce®

Top each bun with 1/2 cup of pork (hot, of course), 2 tablespoons of sauce, and 1/4 cup of slaw (drained of excess juice).

Tip: I press the slaw in a pasta fork to remove the juice.

Pulled pork

Serve and enjoy!

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Hot & Fast Memphis-style Pulled Pork

Here is the process I typically use to cook a "hot & fast" barbequed pork butt, which then becomes the much more familiar pulled pork. The Memphis part comes from the dry rub that I use.

Way back in the early days of this blog I shared my hot and fast beef brisket process, and this is really the same thing, but with a cut that is obviously from a whole 'nother beast.

Traditional barbecue is typically cooked "low & slow" (a long time at a low temperature), but, as the name implies, it takes a very long time. With a hot and fast method (a shorter time at a higher temperature) you take the same basic steps, but you get to eat much sooner — typically in as little as half the time. The goal is to achieve the same quality end product in a much shorter time. To help quantify things, a 7-8 pound butt can generally take 10-12 hours to cook low & slow. Here I'll show you how I get the same result in five hours.

Among BBQ purists the usual response to a hotter and faster cook is, "Yeah, but can you tell the difference?" To that I simply reply, "No!" I've cooked both styles at home and in competition and the only difference I see is in the amount of sleep I get. It really is the same product in a much shorter time. If you're a busy family guy like me (or you like to get some sleep at competitions, like me), that makes all the difference in the world.

Let's get on the bidness end of some hot & fast hog!

7-8 lb Pork Boston butt
3/4 cup Memphis-style dry rub (recipe follows — makes more than needed)
6 oz Ginger ale
Canola oil spray

Memphis Dry Rub
1 cup Sea salt, medium fine (no table salt, please)
1/2 cup Unrefined evaporated cane sugar (no table sugar, please)
1/2 cup Brown sugar, golden/light
2 Tbs Sweet Hungarian paprika
2 Tbs Chili powder, medium heat
2 Tbs Granulated onion (not onion "powder")
2 Tbs Dry mustard
1 Tbs Granulated garlic (not garlic "powder")
2 tsp Dry thyme
2 tsp Dry oregano
2 tsp Black pepper, ground fresh
2 tsp Celery salt
2 tsp Ground ginger
1 tsp Ground coriander
1 tsp Ground cayenne (optional)

Combine all of the rub ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well with a
whisk or stand mixer.

Trim the pork of any loose fat and season all sides with a fairly heavy coat of the rub (about 2/3 cup). Make sure that you season all of the exterior parts of the pork, including any portions between the muscles that you can get to.

Put the pork in a lipped pan with the fat cap down, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 12-36 hours (the longer the better).

Hot & Fast Memphis-style Pulled Pork

About six hours before you want to serve, Fire up your grill/cooker for indirect cooking at 325º grate temperature using the smoke wood of your choice. I use Kingsford® Original (blue bag) with four small chunks of hickory and two small chunks of cherry.

Note: You'll need enough coals for a five-hour cook, or be prepared to add coals as needed. If you're using a gas grill, make a few smoker pouches.

While your coals are starting, uncover the butt and hit all sides with another light coat of rub (about two tablespoons).

Hot & Fast Memphis-style Pulled Pork

When your coals are ready, put the butt on the cooker with the fat cap down.

Hot & Fast Memphis-style Pulled Pork

Cover and let it cook for 3 hours at an average grate temperature of 325-350*. Here's how mine looked at two hours.

Hot & Fast Memphis-style Pulled Pork

...and at three hours.

Hot & Fast Memphis-style Pulled Pork

At the three hour mark (mine was 165º internal), wrap it fat-side-up in a triple layer of heavy-duty foil, adding the ginger ale. You want to wrap it as tightly as you can without the risk of piercing the foil.

Hot & Fast Memphis-style Pulled Pork

Put it back on the cooker and cook indirect for another two hours. The finished temp should be about 203º in the thickest part of the butt. If it's below 195º, continue cooking, checking the internal temperature about every 15 minutes.

Note: Once it's wrapped you can finish the cook in a 325º oven. Yes, it's sort of like cheating, but nobody will know. If you're pressed for time, just increase the heat to 350º.

Remove the butt from the cooker, open the foil and let it rest for at least 15 minutes.

Pull the pork with a large fork in each hand (or by hand wearing gloves), discarding any noticeable pieces of fat. I season the pulled meat with a little bit of the rub and I add some of the wrapping liquid (skimmed of fat) to keep it moist.

Hot & Fast Memphis-style Pulled Pork

Serve the pulled pork on a bun topped with BBQ sauce and some of your favorite slaw.

Enjoy, then enjoy some more!

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Review: The Texas Brush

Just about anyone who has used a grill more than once knows how important a grill brush is. A good brush is a must, and there is plenty of junk out there. Here I'll review the seriously turbo magnum Texas Brush.

We all know the familiar cliche that everything is big in Texas. Well, in the case of this brush that statement is no joke! Check out the dimensions of this thing!

Review: The Texas Brush

In addition to its sheer size this beast has seriously aggressive carbon steel bristles. One side is fairly normal, but the other looks like it could be used to clean the treads of an M1 Abrams tank!

Review: The Texas Brush

Review: The Texas Brush

As soon as you take the brush out of the box it's obvious that it is well-made with quality materials. It weighs nearly five pounds and the wood is clean and free of knots or other defects.

You can see in the pictures that this isn't a high-tech piece of equipment. It's simply a 24" handle attached to a wooden wedge with a brush screwed into each side. They also offer a four-foot wooden handle, a metal handle, and two other varieties of brush head (stainless steel and brass). You can build your own at their site.

Review: The Texas Brush

The Texas Brush works well, depending on your grill. The long handle, size and weight are good for large heavy grills. However, I think it's much too large and stiff for smaller grills, like a 22" Weber kettle. The effort required to get good cleaning will likely push the grill over. This is especially true on expanded metal grates like you see in the pictures here. The grill in the photos is 32" in diameter and weighs 80 pounds, and I was moving it on my driveway with the brush. Perhaps the brass bristle head wouldn't take as much effort. The coarse teeth do a great job of getting the gunk from between the wires on a standard grate.

Another drawback is the price. As I mentioned earlier it is well-made, but I don't know that I could justify the $49 for the "Texas Jr." model that you see here. You can pick up a standard broiler brush from the internet or a restaurant supply store for half the price or less. Perhaps the Texas Brush is superior in the long run, I don't know.

The bottom line for me is that this is a good choice if need to do serious heavy-duty cleaning on a larger heavy grill (or commercial broiler), and you don't mind spending the extra money.

Disclaimer: The brush was provided to me free of charge for the purpose of this review, but the thoughts expressed are entirely my own.

Safety Disclaimer: I would NOT recommend this for 80's big Texas hair!


The Spud Dog

I was recently challenged to come up with a unique ballpark hot dog that would represent me and/or my region. Well, I'm always up for a good culinary challenge, so I present The Spud Dog.

This dog starts with a hoagie roll lined with melty cheddar cheese. Then I pile on some freshly made fries, caramelized onions, a grilled Kosher beef hot dog, sauerkraut and ballpark mustard.

The inspiration for this dog comes almost equally from me and my region. Of course Idaho is most known for our potatoes (we even have "Famous Potatoes" emblazoned on our license plates), so the fries were a given. We also produce our fair share of dairy and beef, including the famous American Wagyu beef from Snake River Farms.

The personal part of the inspiration is the onion, kraut, and the name. I was raised eating my German maternal grandmother's sauerkraut and pork which includes wedges of onion that steam and lightly caramelize as it cooks. As for the name, my wife called me "Spud" when we first met, as I was in Idaho and she lived in SoCal.

My usual testers, the ladies of the house, gave this serious props. Let me know what you think.

4 Kosher beef hot dogs (bun-length)
4 Good hoagie rolls
8 slices Medium cheddar cheese
4 cups French fries, fresh
1/2 cup Caramelized onions
1 1/2 cups Sauerkraut, room temperature
Yellow mustard, to taste

Start your grill and grill the hot dogs to your liking.

While the dogs are cooking, split the rolls horizontally about 3/4 of the way through.

Line each roll with two slices of cheese, add an equal amount of fries to each, and heat them under your broiler until the cheese is just starting to melt.

Smear an equal amount of caramelized onions on top of the fries, add the grilled hot dog, cover with an equal amount of sauerkraut and mustard to taste.

Serve and enjoy!

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Mango-Peach Death Wings

I'm cooking twelve pounds of my Memphis Dry-Rubbed Wings for a game day party this afternoon, and I thought it would be fun to make a few hot and sweet wings for the adventurous folks. What started as an experiment turned out fantastic, if I do say so myself.

Don't let the name scare you. Yes, these are hot, but they're not rip-your-lips-off hot. Well, at least not until you hit about the fourth wing. As a case in point, our eldest daughter (13) ate one last night and wanted another. They really have a great balance of heat, sweet, and smoke.

The heat for these bad boys comes from Oakridge BBQ's Habanero Death Dust, and they are slathered with a silky sweet and slightly tangy glaze of mango-peach pepper jelly and melted butter. If you can't find the jelly, standard pepper jelly or an apricot-pineapple jelly (or a mixture of both) would be great as well.

If you are a hot wing fan, I highly recommend that you give these a try. They are honestly some of the best I've ever had.

8 Chicken wings, whole (or 16 wing sections)
1 cup Zesty Italian salad dressing (any cheap store brand is fine)
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp Habanero Death Dust, or your favorite hot BBQ seasoning
1/4 cup Mango-peach pepper jelly
2 Tbsp Butter, unsalted
Canola oil cooking spray

Cut the tips off of the wings then cut them into sections, removing any excess skin and fat.

Mango-Peach Death Wings

Put the wings and salad dressing in a gallon-size zip-top bag and slosh the wings around so that they are all coated. Seal the bag, removing the excess air and refrigerate four hours.

Mango-Peach Death Wings

Drain as much of the dressing as you can from the bag (or move the wings to a new bag), and add 1/4 cup of the Death Dust or whatever seasoning you're using. Squish the wings around in the bag so that they are all coated, and refrigerate one hour.

Start your grill and prepare for indirect cooking over medium heat (325-350º). I used a combination of Kingsford® Competition Briquets and mesquite lump charcoal.

Put the remaining 2 tablespoons of Death Dust in a shaker.

Cook the wings indirect for 20 minutes, then flip them, spray them with a light mist of canola spray, and dust them lightly with the seasoning.

Mango-Peach Death Wings

Cook 15 minutes more, then repeat the flip, mist and dust process three more times, every 15 minutes.

Mango-Peach Death Wings

Combine the jelly and butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave until the butter is melted, then whisk well to combine.

Coat each wing with the glaze and cook 10 more minutes.

Glaze each wing again and remove them from the grill to a platter.

Mango-Peach Death Wings

Serve with the remaining glaze for dipping and enjoy (with caution)!

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