a friend had a Mardi Gras-themed birthday party last night, so i brainstormed about some hip New Orleans-style appetizer and came up with Creole Pulled Pork Sliders with Remoulade Coleslaw
was a roughly 4lbs boneless shoulder, slightly trimmed and fat scored. i combined:
- red & green bell peppers, chopped
- a white onion, chopped
- a celery stalk, sliced
- four cloves garlic, smashed
- vegetable broth
- unsalted butter
- apple cider vinegar
- brown sugar
- Worcestershire sauce
- creole seasoning mix
- black pepper
in a Crock Pot and heated it up until the butter melted. add the pork shoulder and heap veggies and juice on top. leave on low for six hours. once finished, move the pork to a mixing bowl and pull with two forks. pureé the vegetables and broth together, then mix with the pulled pork to wet out to the desired consistency.
the remoulade coleslaw was an improvisation - coleslaw isn't characteristic of NOLA, but neither are sliders, really. remoulade is basically mayonnaise mixed with mustard and other tangy stuff, and i happen to be fond of making fresh mayo from scratch (you there, in the back, quit giggling), especially with my awesome new immersion blender - seriously the best way to make mayo.the remoulade
is made by combining:
- one egg
- two cloves garlic
- couple tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- couple teaspoons of lemon juice (i'd have used more, but this was sort of a bitter, end-of-season lemon)
- couple tablespoons of country-style mustard
- teaspoon of mustard powder
- couple teaspoons poultry seasoning (rosemary, sage, thyme, etc.)
- tablespoon or more of creole seasoning mix
- half tablespoon or so of chili powder
- cup of canola or other mildly-flavored oil
mayonnaise is kind of magical to make: you throw all this random stuff in a jar and it looks pretty disgusting. then you blend it together and, abracadabra
, fluffy, thick mayonnaise! i love using an inversion blender in a jar to make the mayo, but a regular pitcher blender works well. in that case, combine all the ingredients in the pitcher except
the canola oil. start the blender on medium-high, wait until the ingredients are mixed, then slowly start drizzling the oil so the mayo begins emulsifying. once the emulsification takes, you can start drizzling the oil in a bit faster. when all the oil is in, stop the blender, scrape down the sides, give it a stir, then run it again for a final mix.
from there, the coleslaw
is easy: shred a half-head of good, fresh cabbage (see notes at the end on why you should make the whole head) and thinly slice a couple stalks of celery. toss these with 3/4 cup of the remoulade and a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. salt & pepper to taste, then cover & put in the refrigerator for at least an hour to allow the cabbage to soften and flavors to blend.
now, slider time
. unfortunately, i got pictures of everything except
the finished pork or assembled sliders! yeah, it was hectic in the kitchen, and we were making sliders as fast as people could eat them! (so, at least you'll be spared final pictures from your +I haz a HANGRY
fit, +Bobbi Jo Woods
i used 36 King's Hawaiian "Savory Butter" rolls, heated in a 300F oven for 7-10 minutes, until the tops are slightly crispy. split the rolls, but do not separate. heap a tablespoon of pork and a half-tablespoon of coleslaw on each roll, then fold close. try not to eat your fingers, too.
so, how'd they turn out? very good, and people loved 'em. i'm very picky about coleslaw, and i have to say this is some damn good slaw - it really suits the pork, and is delicious on its own.
still, there's room for improvement:
- the pork could have been spicier
: a lot spicier, in that it wasn't really spicy at all. the pork was flavorful, but mildly so; i was gunning for a touch of heat to contrast the coleslaw. a quarter habanero or some ancho chiles would have helped, or just adding Tabasco when pulling (i added a bit, but ran out).
- the pork could have been a touch more savory
: i'd double the amount of apple cider vinegar and Worcestershire in the broth, to about 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons, respectively. it just needed a bit more body and presence to heighten the mild pork flavor. liquid smoke might be an interesting addition.
- blacken the pork?
: i didn't pre-brown the shoulder in the interests of a simpler flavor - and time. however, next time i want to heavily spice rub the shoulder and then sear the fuck outta it
before slow-cooking. those burned bits will provide smoky, spicy, bitter (and carcinogenic, mmm!) notes to get that depth i'm looking for.
- more coleslaw
: we ran out of slaw before pork & buns. the whole head of cabbage would have been better, since people could just eat the slaw alone if we run out of everything else. plus, coleslaw sliders are great for vegetarians.
- more bun flavor
: next time, i'm going to mix some unsalted butter & creole seasoning and brush it over the rolls before heating in the oven. it'll add a touch of richness and make the rolls smell even better.