I’m way too barbecue savvy to bring down the wrath of my true-believer bbq loved ones to proclaim this as anything other than good old-fashioned faux barbecue. I’ve spent entirely too many 4th of Julys watching Bryan, in amazement, as he brings his Memphis birthright to bear in producing the real thing in all of its smoky splendor.
No, this is just an easy, family pleasing way of dealing with roast pork leftovers that remains a tried and true hit. Just please don’t be misled into thinking that this in any way, except maybe for taste, resembles the real deal.
As you know, if you’ve stuck with me through these many months, we are one pork loving household. In fact, I’m proud to say that roast pork is an important part of my heritage which I’ve written about extensively in the Richmond Times Dispatch. What I haven’t written about before, however, is what happens around here the day after the golden pork shoulder picnic roast has had its glorious premiere. After we’ve lavishly partaken of the flesh, hacked our way through the crunchy crackling, all accompanied by my father’s knoedal–the famous Czech crouton dumpling–and savory caraway seed-rich, braised red cabbage, there is, inevitably, the next day.
The next day happened here this week after the family pork spectacular was rolled out upon the occasion of Felix’s visit home for spring break. (As an aside, the incredibly warm spring weather that has gripped much of the country this week was caused by my cooking roast pork. I’m not exactly sure how it works, but whenever I commit to spending a day in the kitchen producing this cold-weather feast, there is inevitably an unseasonable heat wave which means we’re happily crunching away on crackling in a boilingly hot kitchen that, annoyingly, creates an ambiance more akin to that of a Swedish sauna than that of my intended Alpine ski lodge, but I digress.)
What I’m left with, the day after the feast, is several, even many, pounds of cold roast pork which I’ve hurled, still on the bone, into the fridge. If this should ever happen to you, I strongly suggest that the next afternoon you make this quasi-barbeque. It’s easy, it’s delicious and all it takes to make it really superb is several hours bubbling away on top of the stove. After all, if it’s the day after you have eaten a roast pork shoulder, it’s going to be 86 degrees, even if it’s March, and it’s going to be barbecue weather….or maybe faux barbecue weather since, surely, this is just faux summer?
serves 6, unless they’re teenage boys, in which case it serves 4
(note: all of the measurements are approximate since the amount of meat will vary. The main thing is to keep the proportions approximately correct, but just taste as you go along until it’s the way you like it.)
The leftovers from a 10-lb pork shoulder picnic roast which has been fully cooked and removed from the bone, but left in big chunks
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Any leftover gravy
Throw all of the above into a large dutch oven and simmer over low heat, covered for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Uncover and taste to correct sauce. Allow to cook for an additional 45 minutes to reduce the liquid, stirring frequently and not allowing it to burn on the bottom which it will have a tendency to do if you’re not careful. The meat will have morphed into silky shreds bathed in thick barbecue sauce.
I served it with the leftover red cabbage because I had it, however, it’s divine served on hamburger buns with cole slaw, just like, well, REAL barbecue which, emphatically, this is not!