Fabulous Pulled Pork Sandwiches and the French Language

When we travel we try to learn a few phrases and bring a phrase book.  Knowing please, thank you, where is the toilet, etc can go a long way.  It certainly is better received than yelling louder in English.  Honestly, why do people do that?  Right now my husband and I are learning French.  Well, he’s reviewing it and I’m trying to learn it.

Now I know English is very hard to learn, it is such a mish mash of languages from all the influences going back a few thousand years.  I’m starting to think French isn’t that far behind in the level of difficulty of learning it.  Questions have completely thrown me for a loop!  And the proclivity for words having many different meanings that don’t connect.  And plurals.  Sigh, I learn best by hearing and plurals sound the same as singular!  I am determined to get this because we’ll be in France this summer for a couple of weeks.  I am going to do my best but I think my phrasebook will be by my side!

I can not wait for the markets and the food.  I’ll be cooking up a storm!

I had mentioned a few months ago that my son had asked his friend’s mother to make pulled pork and he asked that I make it some time.  Now that I have more time I thought I’d give it a try.  To be honest I’ve never had a pulled pork sandwich.  But they look delicious.

This is an all day affair so in the morning prepare the dry rub.  This can be done the day before as well to let the pork sit overnight.  I found an hour to be enough.

In a small bowl mix 4 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of chili powder, 2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp of onion powder, 1 tsp of garlic powder, and some sea salt.

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Prep the pork.  I got a 2 pound pork shoulder.  The connective tissue on the outside needs to be removed prior to cooking. Mix the dry rub well and rub it all over the pork making sure everything is covered.

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Chill for an hour at least.  Preheat the oven to 300F/150C.  Prior to cooking spread some mustard on the pork.  I used my homemade mustard which is super easy to make.  Then add about 3/4 cup of ale.  We used our Irish copper ale we homebrewed.

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Cover and slow cook in the oven for about 6 hours.  After a couple of hours baste the pork every hour.  The goal is to have it falling apart but still moist.  Nothing worse than stringy dry meat!

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Pull the pork with forks to shred it completely and put it into a pot.

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For the BBQ sauce I used the last of the Peach BBQ Sauce I made last year.  Time to make another batch!  Add enough to coat the meat without it being soupy.  While this is warming through pickle red onion in apple cider vinegar.

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The onions lend a wonderful brightness to the pork.  For the bread I found some local brioche that we warmed up in the microwave.  Layer the pork with shredded cheese and the onion.

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If you would like add a dollop of sour cream.  Because I couldn’t have the bread I had my dish in a bowl with the sour cream.  Delicious!

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Even though this takes all day it is so worth it.  Unfortunately our son had a friend over and it turns out he is vegetarian!  So he had a grilled cheese.  I promised the next time I’ll do a vegetarian meal for him.  But given his age the grilled cheese hit the spot.  🙂

Something Close to Black Sheep Ale….

Not long ago I discovered Black Sheep Ale and I really enjoy it.  As we like to brew our own beer I asked for a kit that clones the Black Sheep Ale.  The result was good but it came out more bitter than the Black Sheep.  Hence something close to Black Sheep Ale.

Before starting everything is sterilised!!  Very important.

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The kit comes with the hops,grains, and dry malt, we do the rest. 🙂

To start we put 2 gallons of water into the brew pot and started the heating process.  We then put the grains in the steeping bag and place it in the water.

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This needs to steep for 1/2 hour as the water is brought up to a temp of 170F/77C.

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Once the steeping is complete the grains are removed and drained.  The grains go on the compost pile.

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Bring the beer to a boil and then turn off the heat.  Add the dry malt, stirring as it is poured in.

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It is normal for the malt to become taffy like.  It takes quite a bit of stirring to dissolve it all.

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Bring it back to a boil.

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Now it is time for the hops.  The kits will come with the times needed to boil.  For this recipe it was a total hour for boiling.  The first to go in was 1oz of Challenger hops.

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1/2 hour after the first hops are put in 1/2oz of Golding hops are added then 45 minutes after the first hops were put in 1/2oz of Golding is put in.  After the hour is up turn off the heat.  This will be a foamy process but once the heat is off it will settle down.  Then it needs to go into the carboy.

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Add three more gallons of water.  Once it has cooled the yeast needs to be added.  There was something wonky with the yeast given to us this time round.  It was very bubbly and not a whole lot of substance.  We called the brew place and they said to try it and if nothing happens to get some more.  So we tried it.  It took awhile to get going but eventually it did it’s thing.

After a couple of weeks it is ready to bottle.  The steps are the same as our Hefeweizen.  We waited four weeks after bottling to try it.

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It wasn’t too bad but not the same as Black Sheep.  Black Sheep is a smoother ale.  But this was enjoyable and it won’t go to waste!

Home Brewed Hefeweizen

We enjoy a good beer.  Real beer.  I had a bit of a chuckle when I was reading an article about the legal battles between American Budweiser and the real Czech Budweiser.  The Czech beer has the characteristics of a good flavourful beer.  The American one does not.  What made me chuckle was a gentleman from the, I believe, Britain for Real Ale mentioned that the people in the UK can in fact tell the difference between the two beers because the “clean taste” of the American Budweiser is in fact no taste.  Fortunately in the past decade or so there has been a real rise in America of Micro Brews and home brewers.  In fact, there is a shop down the street from us that sells all sorts of micro brews and imports.  It’s both wonderful for the taste buds and bad for the wallet at the same time.  They also sell kits to make your own beer.  Which we take advantage of.

What we just made is a Hefeweizen.  I love this beer and while very easy to make it is also my favourite to date of all the beers we’ve brewed so far.  And it is perfect for dishes like homemade onion rings.

To start it is very important to sanitize anything that will touch the beer.

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Add about 1 1/2 gallons of water to your brew pot and bring to a boil.

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While that is coming to a boil add 3 1/2 plus gallons of water to the carboy.

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Get the ingredients from the kit together and ready.

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Once the water is boiling reduce the heat to low and add the dry malt extract to the water stirring as you do so.

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Sometimes, like it did this time the malt will form balls of taffy so before you bring it back up to a boil dissolve the malt into the water.  Then bring it back up to a boil.  It will foam.

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Reduce heat until the foam is nearly gone then boil again. Now is the time to add the hops to the liquid.  Most kits will label the hops with the boiling time.  This recipe called for boiling it for an hour.

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Once this is complete it needs to be poured into the carboy.  I don’t have photos of that as this was a two person job and there is a danger of burning someone.

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Once it has cooled a bit it is time to add the liquid yeast.

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Give it a good shake before pouring in.  To get the dregs put a bit of water in and shake some more.  Insert the airlock with the water to the top of the carboy.  The airlock allows the gases to come out but no air to get in.

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Store in a closet or a cool dark place for two weeks to allow the yeast to do its work. Then it is time to bottle.

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Again sanitize anything that will touch the beer.  Very important!

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The beer needs to be transferred from the carboy to the bucket you use for bottling.  This bucket has a tap at the bottom.

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Next you need to put some of the beer into a pan for the priming sugar.

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You don’t want to siphon the dregs from the carboy.

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Once the beer in the pan is hot, add the priming sugar and then bring to a boil to dissolve.  It will foam up quickly so watch that and remove from the heat if the foam gets near the top until the foam settles back down.

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Add it back into the beer batch.

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Now it is time to bottle.  We are lucky that our dishwasher has a sanitize feature on it so we run the bottles through just before we bottle.  Do check each bottle to make sure there isn’t anything stuck at the bottom of the bottle.  And then start filling the bottles.

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Place the cap onto the bottle.  We have a handy tool to tighten the caps.

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This batch will make a few cases of beer.

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Label and store for 4 weeks in a cool dark space before you drink it.

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All that is left to do is reward your patience with a tall glass!  🙂


Onion Rings in Beer Batter

I recently found out that one of my mum’s favourite foods are onion rings!  As we love them too we are more than happy to accommodate a request for this dish.  The recipe I use is from Fanny Farmers for the batter for fritters.

Use onions that you like, it doesn’t really matter what kind.  But you want to slice them ahead of time and make sure they are not damp.  I usually slice the day before and put them in a covered bowl with paper towels.

Beat one egg in the bowl you’ll use for the batter.  While you are doing that melt 1T of butter.  Add one cup flour to the egg and a bit of salt.  It calls for 1/2 a cup of beer.  We  use our homemade hefeweizen beer.  It has a just enough lightness in flavour for the onions.  I put in the beer and the butter at the same time.  I have found I need more than 1/2 a cup to get the right consistency.

Here I add a bit more beer to thin it out.

It’s a bit like Goldilocks.  You don’t want it too thick or too thin, you want it just right.  You may have to fry one to see how it comes out if you are sure.  You can always adjust with more flour or beer.

You want to average about 375 F for the frying of the onions.  We found we get the best results that way.  Turn the rings halfway to get an even golden colour.

We add a bit of seasoned salt to the rings while they are still hot.  Ketchup is a favourite but I did try blue cheese dressing on these and it was very tasty!