I got home last evening, the first in nearly a week, in time to cook something for dinner. It’s doubtful in the good old U.S. of A. that there’s any occupation that’s as degrading and unrewarding (both personally and financially) than selling cars for a living.
But that’s what I do. And I try to keep a good firm grasp on my integrity and my professionalism in an environment where customers tend to approach with trepidation and distrust. But it gives me something to do 50-60 hours a week and enough income each month to almost get “ends to meet”.
Anyway, enough of my whining. An exchange of texts yesterday with my bride, Mrs. CB, yielded taking out a bag of shredded pork from the freezer for a simple, quick and tasty dinner. About a month ago I slow cooked a pork shoulder and then shredded the whole thing for a variety of meals that can be made cheaply and quickly. The menu for the night was what Mrs. CB calls “Shredded Pork Sammiches” (aka Pulled Pork Sammiches).
The pork shoulder was bone-in and weighed almost 8 lbs and cost $.99 a lb. It yielded right around 5 lbs. of meat. Normally I would have kept the bones too so I can make “beans” in a couple of months but my freezer is pretty much jammed full and there’s already a couple of left over pork bones in there for whenever I stumble across them when we’ve got a cold, rainy weekend forecast.
So, as has become a bit of a bad habit with me, I didn’t think to photograph the cooking process last night until about the 3rd step. But, I think you’ll get it. This is simple. It’s a great dinner for a whole family and it can be accompanied, like ours, with a simple can of beans or with slaw or salad, chips or fries–just about anything you want. And it’s cheap.
Recipe: Shredded Pork Sammiches
Summary: An easy, quick and totally tasty meal for school nights, football parties, potlucks or just because they’re tasty.
- Get out your cutting board and chef’s knife. Chop the onion and jalapeno.
- Take out a good size skillet and put it on the stove’s big burner turned to medium-high (about 4 o’clock on the dial on an electric range).
- Squirt the oil into the pan. When the pan and oil are hot, drop in the shredded pork and gently spread it into a single layer.
- We’re going to put a bit of crust on the pork. This gives it a little texture and color and a bit of “nutty” flavor.
- Let the pork sit in the hot skillet for 4-5 minutes then add the onion and jalapenos and stir everything around. Now is the time to reduce the heat to medium (about 6 o’clock).
- Add salt, garlic and cumin. How much? Enough! But not too much. Before serving you’ll want to taste it and add a bit more if needed.
- Give the onion and jalapeno 2-3 minutes to start to sweat and release their flavor.
- Add the beef broth. This will moisten the meat again and give it a bit more flavor.
- When the beef broth is absorbed and cooked off, add the BBQ sauce—about 2/3 a cup. Not too much but enough so that all the meat has a light coating of it.
- Stir everything really well and let it sit for a minute or 2. Turn off the stove and serve.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 15 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 6
That’s pretty easy isn’t it. And from start to finish it takes about 20 minutes. There are all kinds of recipes out there these days for shredded pork. And you can by pre-packaged, shredded pork for about $4 a pound. That’s way too much. Buy pork roast when it’s on sale, toss it into your slow-cooker with some water, broth and spices and let it cook for 4-5 hours. Then shred it, bag it and freeze it for when you want it. It’s that easy.
The Cheap Bastid Test: The 1 lb of shredded pork cost about $1.75 by the time you factor the $.99 I spent to buy it and the shrinkage from cooking and the bones. The BBQ sauce was already in the fridge and I used maybe $.35 worth. I used about $.25 beef broth and the onion & jalapeno cost about $.25. Add buns from the dollar store—half a package—for $.50. The total comes to $3.10 for 4 “Shredded Pork Sammiches” (and by the way, there’s enough left over for us to each have one for lunch today.
That’s the Cheap Bastid Way: Eat Good. Eat Cheap. Be Grateful!