Hi! How was your New Years? Did you do anything fun and exciting or keep it low key? New Years has never been a big celebratory holiday for me, but this year was perfect: a few close friends and I gathered at an apartment, feasted on cheese, bread, wine, champagne punch and cheesecake as we watched old episodes of Sex and the City until it was time to tune into the network’s festivities. We had tentative plans to go and and whoop it up college day-style, but ultimately laziness and comfort won us over. It was a wonderful, chill evening that was completely my style. Great friends are one of life’s most beautiful blessings!
I decided to kick off the new year with a new twist on an old, tried and true favorite: pulled pork. It is so incredibly versatile and can be prepared in endless ways. I usually go for a true barbecue style rub and slather it up in homemade BBQ sauce, or throw it on pizza with caramelized onions, jack cheese and more sauce. Mm. But that’s for another time. Today, I switched up the flavors to include a spice blend kicked up with cayenne pepper and flavored with raw wildflower honey and cider vinegar. The end result is slightly sweet with a little bit of a kick, but not overtly aggressive in flavor, so it can be eaten plain, or jazzed up in a variety of ways. I usually just stuff it in organic corn tortillas, top with some avocado, lettuce and a squeeze of lime and I’m a happy girl.
I hope you give this a try and enjoy it as much as I do!
spicy and sweet honey shredded pork.
1 3 pound pork shoulder (bone in or boneless)
1 onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 bay leaf
2.5 tablespoons paprika
1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons cracked black pepper, plus a pinch.
2.5 teaspoons sea or kosher salt, plus a pinch.
3/4-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (less depending on your heat tolerance).
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup raw wildflower honey
Preheat a large, heavy bottomed skillet (cast iron is ideal) over medium high heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When hot and shimmering, season pork liberally with a pinch of salt and pepper and add to skillet, cooking for 2-3 minutes per side, until nice and brown. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, slice the onion and layer in the bottom of the crockpot with the garlic and the bay leaf. In a small bowl, mix together the paprika, smoked paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, salt and cayenne. Mix together with a fork, and add in the cider vinegar and honey. Place pork shoulder on top of the onions and garlic, and spoon the spice mix over the pork; smoothing it on with a pastry brush or spatula.
Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours, or on high for 4-5. Once tender when pierced with a fork, remove to a cutting board. If your pork had a bone (like mine), simply remove with tongs, as the pork will be falling off the bone. Shred with two forks, and serve. I like mine simply with a squeeze of lime.
Delicious in tacos, over rice, piled on a bun, or eaten plain standing over the cutting board. 🙂
**Please use organic ingredients wherever possible**