I’m writing this the morning after the fourth annual Swig ‘n Swine (also known as Pig ‘n Punch I believe), a really fantastic event that Imbibe and the SF Bon Vivants put together every year for PDX Cocktail Week. It’s one of the few events actually open to the public, it benefits local schools, and it’s a really, really lively time. I’d never been before, but I’ll be sure to come back next year for with ingredients like Ancho Reyes, honeybush tea, and yuzu served in eight trash cans (because sometimes, even fancy booze just doesn’t need to be precious) and dishes like from chef Katy Millard of Portland’s own .
…And now, I’m talking about these sandwiches. Pork overload, you say? Maybe a little, but to be fair, I did make these for some new-parent friends of mine, last week. The components keep fairly well separately, and are easy to throw together and consume one-handed, as long as your baby is chill about the occasional chunk of meat falling on his or her head.
A bonus for the cook is that it’s also exceptionally easy to make. The magic happens in a very hands-off way, whether it’s slaw ingredients chilling in the fridge and melding their flavors in the process, or pork braising slowly to fall-apart tenderness.
Speaking of fall-apart tenderness, here are some gratuitous photos. Feel free to steal them for your sexting needs.
The pork recipe is adapted from the (see link below) and really couldn’t be simpler. My favorite part is the cloves of garlic that get shoved deep into the meat, then cooked down to tenderness right along with the pork. Once in a while, you get to bite into a piece of soft, nearly creamy garlic. It feels a lot like winning the lottery, I assume.
Also, even though this isn’t sausage, or currywurst, or schnitzel, I think it has a very Oktoberfest vibe. Oktoberfest proper may already be over, but still: The beer, the flavorful grainy mustard, unapologetic amounts of meat, plus a pretzel bun? It may not be authentic, but I really doubt anyone would complain being served this sandwich in celebration of German culture, unless they’re a total dummkopf. The components come together beautifully, between the savory, rich, hot pork and the crunchy, acidic, and slightly spicy slaw. The pretzel roll stays intact, even when the soft insides get soaked with beer-laced pork juices. Sometimes a good sandwich is all you need to feel that all is right in your world, and I would dare say that these did their job.
… That looks about right.
Happy October, everyone.
- 3 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder
- 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 24 ounces brown ale
- Salt, to taste
- 8 cups shredded raw Brussels sprouts
- 2 medium carrots, shredded
- 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup whole grain mustard
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Sriracha (optional)
- Poke 6 holes in the pork, evenly spaced, and shove the garlic cloves in there until no longer visible. Combine the sugar and spices (onion powder, chili powder, cumin, pepper, paprika, mustard powder) and rub this mixture into the pork, covering the surface completely.
- In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat up the olive oil until shimmering. Sear meat on all sides to brown. Pour beer over the meat, cover, lower heat to low and simmer for about 2 1/2 hours, turning occasionally, until pork is fall-apart tender.
- Remove pork from the pot and use two forks to shred. Meanwhile, turn the heat back up to medium-high and get the cooking liquid back to boiling. Let it reduce for a while while you shred the pork, keeping an eye on it so it doesn't get reduced by more than half (it shouldn't take you that long to shred the pork anyway).
- Return the pork to the pot, turn down the heat, and simmer for a few minutes more. Use tongs to remove the pork; you'll be left with some liquid, so discard that.
- Combine all ingredients until thoroughly incorporated. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary (I barely added salt to the pork, and none to the slaw).
- Serves at least 8. Serve on pretzel buns for maximum awesome.