All posts in the Pork category

Asian Sloppy Joe Sliders

Published August 14, 2013 by jenmatteson

Who doesn’t love  a sloppy joe?  Certainly no one in this house. Unless it’s that gunk out of a can that rhymes with sanwhich.  I’ve always used the same sloppy joe recipe since I was a kid, the one my mom would make, and it’s delicious.  I had to get out of my sloppy joe comfort zone for one of my first recipe swaps, as I was given slow cooker sloppy joes.  While those were good, we didn’t love them, and I really don’t understand the point of using a slow cooker when you basically have to precook everything anyway.

Asian Sloppy Joe Sliders

I came across this recipe in Food and Wine a few months ago and have been wanting to try it.  I actually had it planned for dinner a few nights, but you know how sometimes plans just don’t work out?  Well, they didn’t.  But, I finally got the chance to make a batch of these for a camping trip with my bestie, her husby, Nate and myself.  We were in charge of one dinner and one lunch, so I thought this would be something easy, but different from the normal burger or brat that is a common meal while camping.

Sloppy Joe Sliders

I thought these turned out fantastic.  At first, I thought I would need more hoisin, but after letting it simmer and taste testing it, I thought they were perfectly Asian.  For serving, I wouldn’t mind a little extra Sriracha, but obviously it’s not for everyone.  They went over really well while camping, and even the Asian approved!  I love my mom’s sloppy joe recipe, but I have to say, this really takes the cake.  The spicy pickles really kick it up a notch, adding a crunch, while the lettuce adds some extra freshness.  Try these out for your next pot luck.  You can come back and thank me later!

Asian Sloppy Joe Sliders

Asian Sloppy Joe Sliders

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: 8-10 (Makes 20 sliders)


olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
3 tbsp sambal oelek or other Asian chile sauce (I used a combo of sweet asian chili sauce and Sriracha)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
Kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 lb lean ground chicken
1 lb lean ground pork
1 cup hoisin sauce
1-15 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
20 dinner rolls, split and toasted
shredded iceberg lettuce and spicy pickles (optional)


1. Heat olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium high heat.  Add onions, celery, chile sauce, garlic, ginger and a generous pinch of salt and pepper.  Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes.  Add ground chicken and pork and cook, stirring occasionally to break up the meat, until no pink remains, about 5 minutes.  Stir in hoisin, tomatoes and lime juice and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the mixture on the bottom half of each roll.  Top with shredded lettuce, spicy pickles and top of bun and serve.

Slow Cooker Cuban Pork Sandwiches

Published May 15, 2013 by jenmatteson

I absolutely love the slow cooker, and it is so underused in my kitchen.  Especially in the warmer months.  We tend to do a whole lot more grilling; who doesn’t?  But, the slow cooker is good in the summer too because it doesn’t heat up your kitchen, and you can enjoy the wonderful weather in the evening instead of trying to get dinner on the table at a reasonable time.  We’ve all been there.

Slow Cooker Cuban Pork Sandwiches

I saved this recipe about a month ago for several reasons.  1) As mentioned above, I need to use my slow cooker way more.  2) I like the sound of all the ingredients in this recipe. 3) I’m a sucker for any type of pulled pork sandwich. 4) I had a pork shoulder in my freezer that I had purchased on sale a few weeks back calling my name (and this recipe’s name).  Normally, I probably would have just made BBQ pulled pork sandwiches with the pork shoulder, but we’re adventurous and wanted to try something a little different.  This was perfect.

Everything came together super quickly, and I had everything on hand already – with the exception of a lime.  I pretty much always have lemons and limes on hand, but just happened to be out when I was pulling this together. Seeing as though I was doing it before work, I really didn’t have time to run to the store, so I forged ahead without the lime juice.  I feel like that was a mistake.  The pork was still really tender, moist and delicious, but it seemed like it was lacking a bit of freshness, which I’m sure the lime would have contributed.  The cilantro mayonnaise was great!  Nate said he didn’t think it added much to the sandwich, but I liked it and it was a change from my usual BBQ and/or hot sauce.  When we had leftovers, we added a little mango Habanero hot sauce to our sandwiches and they were awesome!  This would be an excellent meal for company on a Friday night so everything is ready to go when you get home from work and you have little prep.  You can focus on cleaning those last little places and getting cocktails and appetizers out instead of worrying about the main event!

Slow Cooker Cuban Pork Sandwiches

Slow Cooker Cuban Pork Sandwiches

Source: Adapted from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Servings: 6-8


For the pork:
1 onion, halved and sliced
3 lb boneless pork shoulder (butt would work, too)
1 tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tsp dry minced garlic
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
juice of one lime
1/4 water
hamburger buns. toasted (toasting is optional, but it keeps the bun from getting overly soggy)

For the cilantro mayonnaise:
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp cilantro, minced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp lime juice


1. Arrange onions on bottom of slow cooker.  Place pork shoulder on top.

2. In a small bowl. combine brown sugar, garlic, salt and pepper.  Sprinkle over pork.  Pour lime juice and water around pork.

3. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, until pork very tender.  Meanwhile, combine ingredients for cilantro mayonnaise and refrigerate until ready to use.

4. Remove roast from slow cooker and pour liquid into bowl.  Return roast to slow cooker and shred with two forks.  Skim fat from reserved liquid and pour about 1 cup skimmed liquid over pork.

5. To serve, spread cilantro mayonnaise on one side of the bun and top with pork.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Published September 7, 2012 by jenmatteson

A few nights ago I hosted my second fantasy football draft at my house.  I must say, the Madtown Muskrats will be pretty good, so my cousins best watch out!  I planned on making some pulled pork sandwiches using a 3-4 lb pork shoulder in the slow cooker with some beer.  I didn’t have any small bottles of our homebrew, and I didn’t want to use an entire 22 oz bottle (seeing as though it was 7 AM before work, it probably wouldn’t have been the best idea to drink the rest of it 😉 ).  So I grabbed a bottle of black cherry soda that had been in my fridge for probably close to a year and prayed for the best.  I’ve seen several similar recipes using Dr. Pepper or Cherry Coke, so I figured what’s the worse that can happen?

It actually turned out really well, but I couldn’t even taste the black cherry soda – sort of a disappointment, but the meat was tender and flavorful (too spicy for some, but that is easily adjustable).  After cooking and shredding it, I removed the bone and added some BBQ sauce.  Not homemade, but maybe that’ll be on my list for next year.  I like Ken Davis BBQ sauce.  It’s affordable, smokey, a hint of tangy, and no spice (you might be thinking what has happened to me, but really it’s just because I can add my own heat, but others can’t take it out if it is already in the sauce).

I served Nicole, from Prevention RD’s, bacon coleslaw with the pulled pork sandwiches.  I didn’t put the slaw on my sandwich that night, but I did with the leftovers, and boy did I miss out before.  What a great combination – and bacon on pork?  Oh yeah, I did it.

What would you have made for a fantasy football draft?

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Source: Pigzilla Original
Servings: 10-12


3-4 lb pork shoulder (pork butt or tenderloin would work too)
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried jalapeno peppers
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tbsp salt
olive oil
12 oz black cherry soda (or use your favorite – or in my case, what you have on hand)
1-2 cups BBQ sauce
hot sauce to taste
favorite buns


1. In a small bowl, mix cumin, garlic powder, oregano, jalapenos, chili powder, pepper and salt together.  Sprinkle generously over pork and drizzle with olive oil.  Rub in seasoning so it is evenly distributed.  Place pork in slow cooker and add soda.  Cook on low for 8 hours.

2. Drain juices.  Shred pork with two forks or in a stand mixer (I removed a lot of the fat on the pork so it wasn’t mixed in before shredding).  If you used a shoulder, be sure to remove the large bone.  Add BBQ sauce and hot sauce to taste.  Season with more salt and pepper if desired.

3. Serve pulled pork on buns and garnish with additional BBQ sauce, hot sauce, and/or coleslaw as desired.

Bacon Blues?

Published July 7, 2012 by jenmatteson

Who doesn’t love bacon?  Seriously.  I generally try to eat healthy, but there are some things that are just better with bacon.  There really is no substitute.  Have you ever tried turkey bacon?  If not, don’t bother.  It really doesn’t even come close to bacon as a substitute.

One thing that isn’t so awesome about bacon is that it splatters grease everywhere when you fry it; it gets all over your stove top, countertops, sometimes even on you.  I hate frying bacon.  But a great way to cook it without the hassle is in the oven.  If you place the bacon strips on a wire rack with a baking sheet underneath and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until it reaches desired crispness.  Viola!  Less mess, less grease, and perfectly cooked, crisp bacon.

Another thing that is not always so great about bacon is the way it’s packaged.  If we are eating bacon, we are eating maybe 4-6 slices at a time.  Well, have you ever tried to take just a few slices off a slab of frozen bacon?  You really can’t without destroying the bacon slices, or completely unthawing the entire slab.  If you take an extra 5 minutes when you get your bacon home from the grocery store to separate and freeze the strips, then you’ll be able to grab just one or two slices at a time when you’re ready to use.

Line a baking sheet with wax paper.  Lay strips of bacon in a single layer on wax paper and freeze.

Once bacon is frozen, about one hour, you can just peel each strip off the wax paper, throw in a gallon sized zip-top bag, and boom!  Bacon at your fingertips in an instant.

What’s your best time-saving tip in the kitchen?

Slow Cooker Pork Tacos

Published July 1, 2012 by jenmatteson

I’ve had this pork tenderloin in my freezer for about two months; I bought two because they were on a great sale, and used the first one for the hoisin glazed pork tenderloin.  I’m not a big pork eater, but when I do eat pork, I prefer tenderloin versus a chop, as the meat is so much more, well, tender.  I decided to throw it in the slow cooker with some seasoning and salsa to make some tacos for Friday night dinner.

On on a side note regarding “slow cooker” vs. “Crockpot”…some people wonder why I use the term slow cooker as opposed to Crockpot.  Well, if you don’t already know the answer, it’s because Crockpot is a (well-known) brand of slow cookers, where as slow cooker is what the appliances is actually called.  Think about tissues and Kleenex, or lip blam and Chapstick.  I don’t know why, but it drives me crazy when people refer to lip balm in general as Chapstick.  I’m a Blistex girl myself.  I do own a Crockpot, but  I still refer to it as slow cooker.  Okay, rant over.

As per usual when I have something in my slow cooker, when I got home from work, my house smelled amazing.  I don’t know how the cats can stand the insanely awesome aromas all day long; it would drive me crazy.  I shredded the pork and left it on warm as we had to run a few errands before dinner.  All I could think about was pork tacos and I was getting crankier and crankier the longer they took.  Finally, we got home and were ready to eat dinner. As usual on Friday, we didn’t get around to it until after 9 PM, which means my pictures don’t turn out quite as well.  But believe me when I say these were yummy.

Slow Cooker Pork Tacos

Source: Pigzilla Original
Servings: 4


4-5 lb pork tenderloin
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper
1 cup salsa


1. In a small bowl, mix seasonings.  Add tenderloin to slow cooker and sprinkle seasoning mix over the top.  Add salsa, and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

2. After 6-8 hours, shred tenderloin with two forks, and mix with remaining liquid in slow cooker.  Serve in soft or crunchy tortilla shells, over rice or over salad with desired toppings.

Double Crunch Pork Chops

Published June 13, 2012 by jenmatteson

There is absolutely nothing wrong with pork, of course unless you’re Jewish or Muslim…or don’t eat pork for any other personal beliefs – the latest I’ve heard was that some people don’t eat pork because pigs don’t sweat.  I’m not sure of the connection there, but hey, to each their own!  Anyway, my point is that I don’t typically eat a lot of it.  If you’ve followed my blog at all, you’ll see a lot of chicken, turkey, and seafood.

However, I like changing it up from time to time, plus I had these pork chops in my freezer from Nate’s mom that I wanted to use up.  Great news for me, is that I just saw this recipe posted on my What’s Cooking board, which promted me to whip these up.  An added bonus is that I already had all ingredients at home (well, I thought I did, but poor Nate had to stop and get some honey on his way home – he’s the best!).

Seeing as though I rarely cook pork chops, I followed the cooking time pretty precicely, at least for the first side. I should have trusted my instinct and flipped them sooner.  Oh well, only one side got a little dark.  These were super fabulous and crispy with a nice tender center.  The sauce was amazing and could be used for chicken or fish…mmm, salmon would be great!  The only thing I would change for next time is to add a little sriracha in the sauce for a kick.  It’s perfectly fine on it’s own, but you know I like things spicy!

Double Crunch Pork Chops

Source: Sweet Beginnings
Servings: 4


4 thick cut pork chops
salt and pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp freshly ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp paprika
1 egg
1 tbsp milk
olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
fresh ground pepper


1. Season pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides.  In a shallow dish, combine flour, nutmeg, thyme, sage, and paprika.  In another shallow dish, whisk egg, milk, and ground ginger together.

2. Dredge chops in flour, shaking off excess, then into the egg mixture, making sure to completely coat the chop.  Let excess drip off, then dredge in flour mixture again.  Repeat for remaining pork chops.

3. In a large frying pan, heat enough olive oil to just coat the bottom over medium-high heat.  Once oil is hot, place coated chops in and cook about 6-8 minutes, flip, and cook for another 6-8 minutes.  Chops should be completely cooked through and just starting to turn dark brown.

4. In a small sauce pan, heat 1 tsp of olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes.  Add honey, soy sauce and pepper and simmer over low heat.  Whisk mixture continuously, it will bubble up, but you don’t want it to boil over.  Simmer for 5-7 minutes, remove from heat, and let cool for at least 2 minutes.  Sauce should be slightly thick and sticky.  Serve pork chops topped with honey-soy sauce.

Grilled Hoisin-Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Published April 15, 2012 by jenmatteson

I’ve had this recipe in my pile of “to try” for a few weeks now, and I’ve been waiting for a great time to make it.  We had a wonderful couple over for dinner last night and I figured it would a perfect time!  I found the recipe at Prevention RD, which has some phenomenal healthy recipes.

I marinated the pork and Nate grilled it (under my supervision of course).  The only change I made to the original recipe was that I added about two tablespoons of sriracha to spice it up.  I probably could have added more for my taste, but I wasn’t sure if our company liked spicy food.  The marinade caramelizes on the grill to make a slightly crispy in spots, but the inside was so juicy and tender.  This is an excellent entertaining meal, but so simple you could make it for a casual dinner on a weekday night.

Grilled Hoisin-Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Source: Prevention RD
Servings: 4


1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp hoisin
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp sriracha (omit if you are opposed to heat)
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp brandy or whisky (I used whisky)
1 (1 1/4 lb) pork tenderloin


1. In a small mixing bowl, mix together all ingredients except the pork. Place the pork in a large plastic bag, and cover with marinade.  Massage the pork to work in the flavors.  Let pork marinate for 12-24 hours in the refrigerator.

2. Heat grill to medium heat.  When ready, turn the heat down to a medium low and grill the pork on each side for about 8 minutes. Let rest for about 10 minutes before slicing on the bias and serving.

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