Pulled pork is something we've normally enjoyed in BBQ restaurants since Penny is not about to try preparing it in our tiny urban kitchen. But, she did spot a package of pulled pork among the fresh packaged meals, mains, and sides at our local Trader Joe's, recently.
We tried it and liked it. Since the sauce is a bit sweet and mayo is outlawed in our food, Penny's solution was to balance the sweetness of the pork with a tart, tangy cole slaw.
In addition to cabbage, carrots, celery, and scallions, we added a finely shredded hakurei turnip purchased from farmer Michael Docter of Winter Moon Farm at the Wayland Winter Farmers' Market. Those are his carrots too! And, below you see him offering samples of the carrots and turnips.
The dressing was malt vinegar, salt, pepper, a bit of honey, and a handful of yellow mustard seeds. This slaw is best made the day before you need it. Letting it sit and pickle mellows out the raw vegetable flavors and allows the mustard seeds work their zingy magic. Just give it a mix a couple of times as it sits in the refrigerator.
In case you were wondering, the shredder Penny was using is a very old, now considered vintage, Borner Thin Julienne Slicer. This syle has long since been replaced by new versions. Here's the current one – Borner Thin Julienne Slicer. (It is fun to see things you use all the time listed on ebay as vintage goods.)
This tool cuts in both directions so it makes quick work of the slaw preparation and it's easy to clean under a stong spray of water. Make sure you use a guard. It doesn't come with one but we use one from another mandoline. The guard also makes it possible to shred almost all of the carrots or turnips with only a thin scrap left behind.
As you see in the photo, we used the bread we had on hand. Softer bread is the usual choice for a pulled pork sandwich but our kitchen staple is crusty artisan bread. This was a ciabatta from Trader Joe's. And, because of that crusty texture, we opted for open faced sandwiches. Messy, but delicious!
Pulled Pork Tips
We did heat the pork in the microwave. Penny breaks it up a bit before she cooks it and removes the occasional piece of fat. (Yes, fat is flavor, but there's plenty of intramuscular fat in this product.) She also makes an effort to get all the sauce out of the bag, squeezing it like a pastry bag.
In this review of the product from SFGate, one of the testers thought it was dry. That could be because a lot of the sauce was left behind in the bag or that the meat was not fully shredded and mixed with the sauce. It was the winner in this taste-off of six prepared pulled pork products.
Have you tried some of these fresh Trader Joe's products? What did you like or not like?
Do you have an Amazon Gift Certificate to use? Or do you need to buy one for a gift? Remember to click over to Amazon from here to support this site!
Words: Penny & Ed Cherubino
Photography: © 2014 Penny & Ed Cherubino