For those of you who don’t know, I’m from Canada. I think it sort of surprises people because I say “y’all” and I don’t say “aboot.” My family moved to Florida when I was 9, but the nail in the coffin (as it were) was going to Georgia Tech in Atlanta at 17. Since then, I’ve lived in Georgia, Texas, and now we’re back in Florida – and I have developed quite the taste for southern food! Even though I’m a transplant, I’ve got a couple of good and easy recipes to share with you today to make pulled pork sandwiches and collard greens.
Radar loves to cook, and he actually came up with the recipe for the pulled pork (no idea where he got his inspiration, so I can’t give credit on this one!). On deployment, he feeds his crew on the plane anytime they have a flight longer than 6 hours… which equates to feeding about 10 hungry dudes in an airplane equipped with a tiny oven and the crock pot he brings aboard himself, sometimes 4 times a week. So you know this recipe is going to be easy – he doesn’t have time for it to be complicated! It also freezes really well. I’ll make a batch for me and the kids, we eat a quarter of it right away and I’ll freeze 3 Ziploc bags full, ready for nights I just don’t feel like cooking. The best part is, the crock pot does all the work! Aren’t those recipes the best??
Pulled Pork Sandwiches
- Pork shoulder or blade (you pay more per pound on the blade, but there’s significantly less bone so it more or less works out the same)
- 2 20 oz or 1 2 liter of root beer (1 20 oz would probably do it, but I prefer to have more in case I need it)
- 1/4 cup liquid smoke – the secret ingredient
- 2 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp pepper
- Bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce – we like Sweet Baby Ray’s Original
Place the pork shoulder in the crock pot and season with salt and pepper. Pour in liquid smoke and root beer until it’s about 1/2-3/4 full (don’t go all the way, as you’ll find it expands a little and you’ll have a mess to clean up!). Put on high for 8 hours (you can’t over-cook it, but it won’t shred if it’s not on long enough). Remove meat from crock pot and shred. Reserve 2 cups cooking juices and dump the rest. Return shredded pork to the crock pot (on warm) and add BBQ sauce (the amount depends on your taste). If it seems dry, add some of the reserved cooking juices back in. Serve on buns, or just as-is! I also recommend having more BBQ sauce available if you want it.
After college, I went to work for Frito Lay in Perry, Georgia. Never heard of Perry? I hadn’t either, until I moved there! Anyway, while I was there, I worked with some of the best cooks in the south. Miss Gladys made her collard greens every time my team celebrated something, and I got hooked. I couldn’t get her to share her recipe, and I won’t even pretend that this recipe is as good as hers, but they’re good enough for me now that I’ve moved on from there. They have a little zing to them, thanks to red pepper flakes, and of course bacon is a requirement. It just takes a little prep-work, then they simmer and get tender while you enjoy a glass of wine or other beverage of choice. I’ll note that our collards only come in 2 lb bags, so I always double the recipe (they also reheat really well, but never last long when I’m around!).
Kickin’ Collard Greens (from allrecipes.com)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 slices bacon
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 3 cups chicken broth
- pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 lb fresh collard greens, cut into bite-sized pieces
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add bacon, and cook until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, crumble and return to pan. Add onion, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until just fragrant. Add collard greens and fry until they start to wilt (I usually add a bit at a time, as they start quite fluffy but shrink considerably as they wilt). Pour in chicken broth and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes, or until greens are tender.
This deployment, the OSC members are taking turns hosting laid-back Sunday night dinners. Usually it’s about 3 or 4 people (plus kids), and we just have a nice dinner and enjoy an evening of not eating alone. Last week I hosted, and made these two recipes along with some corn. I don’t know about the other girls, but I went to bed satisfied that night!