I never really thought much about BBQ sauce until it became the subject of my gym’s latest Paleo Cook-off Challenge. Really good meat rarely needs to be smothered in sauce, and since most of the BBQ sauce I have ever really liked is high in sugar, why bother? I’m glad I did bother, because I discovered something Paul and I both really love, and it’s a lot easier than I thought it would be.
But first, here is a recipe for pulled pork that if, after reading this, you ran out to gather ingredients so you could make it right this very minute you would be so very, very happy. And that’s a guarantee. It’s my own riff off the Garlic Pulled Pork from Mark’s Daily Apple. I think the crock pot method yields a far more tender meat. Plus there are less ingredients that take four minutes to prepare – yes I actually timed it. The only drawback is it takes ~16 hours (maybe less) to cook so patience and planning is required. I will make this again this week and get pictures.
Garlicky Crockpot Pulled Pork
- 4# pork shoulder roast (or butt). Do yourself a favor and have the butcher remove the bone so you have 4# of meat and fat. Do NOT trim the fat.
- 2 Tbsp kosher sea salt
- 2 Tbsp dried granulated (not powdered) garlic
- 1 Tbsp freshly ground pepper
- juice from 1 large lime
- 6 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled
- 2 large onions, chopped
Make a paste out of the salt, granulated garlic, pepper and lime juice. Rub on the roast. Put roast in crockpot. Make six thin slices all over deep into the pork and secure a clove of garlic into each cut. Slice the onion and throw on top of the roast. Put crockpot on low and forget about it for anywhere from 10 – 16 hours. As it cooks, the roast will be making a wonderful juice, which you can spoon over the meat as it’s cooking from time to time. When it’s done being cooked in a crockpot, there is no need to “viciously attack it with forks” (as Mark describes). You just sort of tap it gently and *foomp* it will fall apart.
Trust me, this pork is perfect without any sauce at all and it took every ounce of strength I posses not to devour the entire pot by myself. (Okay, so I am being a little melodramatic about that.) But since you’ve got all that time to kill, might as well make some BBQ sauce. I consider this to be “primal” rather than strictly paleo, since that particular label seems to attract the ire of purists who would argue there was no maple syrup (for example) in the Before Times. Whatever. It’s tasty and good and has a whole lot less sugar than what you’d find in a store-brought brand, which is good enough for me.
Smoky-Sweet Chipotle BBQ Sauce
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 large onion
- 1 6oz can tomato paste
- 1 c beef stock (next time I plan on using 1 c of the stock yielded from the garlic pulled pork, if I make them both together again. But if I do that I’m cutting back on the salt in this recipe and adding to taste at the end)
- 1/4 – 1/2 c fresh-pressed pineapple juice (no sugar added, like Lakewood, find at Whole Foods)
- 3 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 Tbsp chipotle pepper paste*
- 2 Tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tsp sea salt
- 1-2 Tbsp maple sugar powder
- 1 Tbsp dried granulated (not powdered) garlic
- freshly ground pepper to taste
Process onion and garlic cloves in food processor until minced fine.
Combine onion and garlic, along with the remainder of ingredients, into a medium-sized sauce pan and mix well. Bring sauce to a gentle boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until thickened to preference (20-30 minutes). Stir frequently and adjust spices to taste. Smother onto a big pile of meat and dig in! If there’s any leftover sauce, it can be stored in refrigerator.
* About the chipotle pepper paste: I make this by dumping several cans of Chipotle in Adobo Sauce in a food processor and whirring until it’s a paste. Because it is so damned potent and hot it will kill any microbe that comes within 100 yards of it, his paste can be stored indefinitely in the fridge, so process several cans at a time. You’ll use it in a lot of stuff probably. We do. Just be careful if you’re trying to avoid wheat or gluten: some brands use flour in their adobo sauce. Just read the label – Moreno has a little sugar, but no wheat.
Finally: Cookies. I don’t bake much, haven’t over the past year or so since I tend to focus primarily on fruit with cream or a few squares of dark chocolate if I am in the mood for something sweet. But sometimes it’s a really nice treat to have some chocolate chip cookies onhand. I’ve messed around with several different versions and this one is my favorite. I brought about three dozen to our cook-off last night and they were gone in minutes. I’ve settled on coconut flour rather than the more popular almond flour for several reasons:
- it’s significantly less expensive,
- you use less since coconut flour is absorbs liquids like crazy,
- baked goods with coconut have a really nice texture to them,
- coconut flour baked products feel and taste lighter than do almond flour versions
- for some reason it’s easier for me to moderate my intake of coconut flour baked goods. What I’m driving at here is I have a tendency to scarf down almond flour baked goods in a nearly indecent way and I don’t do that with coconut flour products
- finally there’s something about almond flour having a heavier ratio of 0-6/0-3 fatty acids which can be pro-inflammatory for some people, but you smarty pants chemist-types are going to have to weigh in on that one since I don’t care enough to get the facts entirely straight. I’m just throwing it out there. Probably they’ve gone over this topic to death on PaleoHacks if you’re interested.
Chocolate Chip Cookies (with coconut flour and pumpkin)
- ½ c coconut flour
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1½ cinnamon
- 1/2 c dark chocolate chips
- ¼ c butter, softened (or coconut oil)
- ½ c canned pumpkin
- 3 eggs
- ¼ c honey
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with silpat or parchment. Coconut flour products will stick to pans no matter how much you oil them, so parchment is a must – silpat is even better!
Whisk together the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk together the wet ingredients in a larger bowl. Mix dry ingredients into wet until dough is smooth and no lumps remain. Let dough stand a minute or two to thicken. Dough should be soft but still hold its shape when scooped. If it’s too thin, add coconut flour no more than a teaspoon at a time. If it’s too thick, add a bit more butter or coconut oil or pumpkin.
Drop cookie dough by spoonfuls onto silpatlined baking sheet. They won’t spread much while baking so it’s okay to cram them on the sheet. Bake at 350° for 20 – 25 minutes. Cookies will be set and the edges will be slightly browned. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. If you let these cool completely before storing, they’ll get a bit crispier. If you want them to stay soft, don’t let them cool all the way.
For my next iteration of this recipe, I’d like to find something to sub for the pumpkin. It’s really tasty and does well for adding body an moisture to dough, but it’s still very much a cold-weather food, at least to my mind. Maybe tweaking the spices or something.