Saturday, July 9, 2011

Summer of the Sammich

I intended to spend the summer expanding my cooking repertoire, and I'm well on my way toward accomplishing that goal.  However, I was not aware of the dangers inherent in such an endeavor. I've introduced all new cravings to my household.  Didn't we have enough already?  Apparently not.

Every other day now my husband asks me for chicken pot pie, and when that fails, he gets my daughter to ask me for it.

When I decided to attempt a brisket, I didn't know that six pounds would cost $53 at Whole Foods.  After tasting it, I would so pay that again.

And now?  We've discovered this.

It's not just a sandwich.  It's a sammich.  So good.

My husband, who hails from North Carolina, has longed for an RO's sandwich for quite some time.  I've only tried RO's once, and my taste buds still remember the experience fondly.  Although his wife would easily spend $53 on a brisket, spending $1500 on a plane ticket to NC in order to get this man his sandwich is out of the question.    So we've been searching for substitutes, but here in Hawaii, the only pulled pork is kalua pork, which is heavenly, and the only barbecue is Asian-style, which is amazing, but it is so not North Carolina barbecue.

Rob recently found out that we can order RO's slaw online, and so he eagerly placed an order.  When it showed up on Thursday, however, it had not been refrigerated (even though the box said "KEEP REFRIGERATED."  It was inedible.  Poor Rob.  Poor slaw.

All was not lost, though.  We discovered a pretty decent slaw recipe and made a few changes.

1 head of cabbage (cut into wedges and run through a food processor)
1 cup of ketchup (we like Del Monte)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons dry mustard powder
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons pickle relish
2 teaspoons of barbecue sauce 
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon A1 sauce
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)

To illustrate the power of Rob's craving, I should mention that the man actually stepped in and prepared the slaw himself.  Whoa.  He combined the ingredients in a large bowl and let it sit an hour in the fridge.  Well, almost an hour -- we couldn't resist eating as soon as the pork was ready.  Having tried the slaw the next day, I'm certain that it seems to be getting better and better the longer it sits. 

For the barbecue sauce, we used the Neely's version, which is delicious.

We mixed it in with the pulled pork as well.

For the pork itself, I had trouble deciding which recipe to try, since I had never made it before.  I put out the call on Facebook, and the best advice I got was, "Low and slow, baby! Low and slow!" from Dena, and the most popular recommendation was to use a crock pot.   Of all of the recipes I considered, Paula Deen's looked the most tempting, but rather than cook it in the oven, I took the crock pot route, and oh, I do not regret that choice one bit.  Right around the eighth hour, the meat fell right off the bone, and after nine hours of "low and slow," it was perfect.  I removed the meat from the juices and pulled two forks through it to separate it.

When it came to the actual sandwich -- excuse me, sammich -- prep, we mixed the meat with the barbecue sauce, placed it on a soft hamburger bun (soft is best, so that it can soak up the yumminess), and topped it with slaw.  So good.    Last night we didn't even care about sides.  We just wanted our sammiches.

This morning, though, I woke up and decided that we needed to have dinner for lunch, so I made some baked beans and cornbread.  Since they cook at different temperatures, I started with the cornbread.

Our favorite cornbread recipe is found in Martha Stewart's Holidays cookbook.  It's called "Ina's Cornbread," with Ina referring to Ina Garten, I presume.  I love this cornbread.  It's sweet and cakelike, and with a dollop of butter over the top?  It's a beautiful thing.

I also made baked beans, using another Paula Deen recipe.

One change I made based on the online reviews was to cook the bacon first, so that it would retain some of its crispiness when it mixed with the liquid.  A good choice, in retrospect.

We've basically been sitting, napping, and eating for 24 hours now, since the pulled pork first came out of the slow cooker.  Of course it's not healthy, but who gives a rip about healthy when there's a sammich with my name on it?   I'll have a salad and a quick run around the block when the leftovers are gone. :)


  1. Jill, you are so funny! Thanks for sharing your culinary adventures and recipes. Congrats on your Garden Girl status--I love your work.

  2. I don't eat chicken, but that pot pie is making me swoon. YUM.

  3. Yummo!! You are too funny Jill Love the "I'll have a salad and run around the block" bit.Have a great Sunday!

  4. Mmmmmm... We made pulled pork last weekend for the party we had. We have a smoker though and 11 hours later it was perfection! We use a North Carolina vinegar sauce instead of bbq sauce. I'm sad it is all gone!


  5. OMG, what are you doing to me?? You have me seriously wanting to try this! Brisket has always kinda scared me for some reason, making it at home I mean. It's really looks scrumptious - sammich scrumptious!

  6. I do loves me some brisket!
    Looks delish :)

  7. Yummy! I long for Portuguese sausage and your boy longs for NC BBQ! LOL, can we switch? I can make just about anything Hawaiian in my NC kitchen, except for the deliciousness that is Portuguese sausage. I beg and plead for my friends with airfare money to come and visit me, but only if they pack a cooler full of PS for me. It's worked twice these past four years, what can I say? Your food looks delicious!