I was in “hog heaven” when I found the most incredible deal on half pork loins for only $2.18 per kg. At that price, I bought two of them knowing it’d be an adventure finding ways to prepare the many portions the loins would yield. Plus, I couldn’t pass up an offer that good!
My husband was a trooper and immediately cut the meat into several pork chops and roasts before vacuum-sealing and freezing. We set aside one centre cut roast to cook right away. Next step was finding a great southern pulled pork recipe but nothing jumped out at me as I searched online and through my cookbooks. I was in a funk and really wanted to try something different. Then came the aha moment when I remembered preparing an Asian ginger turkey breast in the slow cooker a while back that my in-house food critics (aka my family) loved. So, I set out to find an Asian pulled pork recipe. Sadly, anything I found called for very hot spices and/or the inclusion of apples and that just wasn’t appealing to me. At that point, I knew I’d be creating my own recipe and here it is….
Marinade/slow cooker sauce
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 Tbsp hoisin sauce
3 Tbsp ketchup
1 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp natural honey
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
2 tsp finely chopped ginger
I mixed all the ingredients together and rubbed on the roast before placing in the slow cooker. Any leftover marinade was poured over the meat along with a cup of water. Since it was getting late in the morning (I’d spent too much time searching for recipes), I needed to kick-start the process so I put it on high for two hours before turning it to low, where it remained for another five hours.
Once done and out of the slow cooker, any visible fat was removed; however, there wasn’t much because it was a very lean cut from the start. I then used my stand mixer on the lowest speed to gently shred the meat, saving me time and effort, which was so much easier than manually doing with a fork. The bonus – a more uniform shred.
Sugar’s Asian BBQ Sauce
1 teaspoon olive oil
2-3 shallots (depending on size) chopped
1/2 cup ketchup
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp natural honey
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
My homemade Asian BBQ sauce was made while the meat remained in the bowl of the stand mixer. I started by lightly spraying the frypan before adding a teaspoon of oil. Spraying first helped reduce the overall amount of oil needed. The chopped shallots were sautéed for a few minutes until soft and the next five ingredients were mixed together and added to the pan. I let the sauce simmer for about five minutes until the liquid reduced.
Off the heat, I then added the vinegar and sesame oil and mixed well before incorporating with the meat in the stand mixer on low speed for about 30 seconds.
Dole chopped salads were on sale so I cheated and bought the Chopped Sesame Asian variety to use on the sandwiches instead of making my own slaw. I needed only four small servings and the cost to buy a cabbage and all of the other ingredients was more expensive and could have resulted in a lot of waste. The big bonus, though, was the prep time saved!
The sandwiches were assembled by adding the meat to the bun and adding the Asian slaw on top. It was yummy!
On the “Sugar Scale” [my unofficial recipe rating system], this recipe scored a seven out of 10. The ingredients were inexpensive but it was time-consuming creating the marinade and the BBQ sauce and even longer to clean up the mess. My family did enjoy the sandwiches and it yielded enough extra meat to vacuum pack and freeze for two, quick meals later on. That alone helped offset how surprisingly drawn-out the entire process was and increased the overall score in my rating.