This is what you need for dinner tonight.
Ask no questions. Resist all hesitations. Just make this pork.
I have no idea where the notion to combine root beer and balsamic vinegar came from, but I am so very glad that it came.
This pork is so incredibly tender and packed with flavor. It does not taste like root beer or vinegar per se, but the rich, sweet and tangy notes of both remain to create a pulled pork that is balanced and unexpected.
The recipe comes together in a little under twenty minutes, and then all you have to do is wait eight incredibly fragrant hours. I threw it together just before eating breakfast and then it was pretty much hands-off until dinner time.
I served up this pork on homemade pretzel rolls. However, if you are looking for simplicity, I’ll look the other way while you buy yourself some store-made pretzel buns.
About a half hour before you serve up your pork, throw together a quick apple kale slaw.
Even Mr. Pedantic will eat kale when it is drenched in this maple-mustard vinaigrette.
Slice the pretzel rolls, pile on the pulled pork, and top with crunchy apple kale slaw. Is your mouth watering yet?
Yes, this sandwich is as messy as it looks and that is a good, good thing.
As the weather finally cools down, this is all I want to eat. A sweet and savory, cooked-all-day, cozy weeknight dinner.
Don’t ya just want to get right in there?!
ROOT BEER & BALSAMIC PULLED PORK WITH APPLE KALE SLAW
FOR THE PORK
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1, 2-lb boneless pork roast
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
freshly ground black pepper
2 12-ounce cans your favorite root beer (I love Hansen’s)
1/3 cup good quality balsamic vinegar (look for a middle of the road bottle)
4 whole cloves garlic, peeled
Drizzle olive oil into a 10-inch nonstick skillet and set over medium high heat. Season all sides of your pork roast with salt, onion powder, and freshly ground black pepper.
Once the oil is shimmering, lay the roast in the pan and sear until deep brown and crisp. Flip, and sear on the opposite sides.
Once the roast is seared on all sides, transfer to your slow-cooker and cover with root beer, balsamic vinegar, and garlic cloves. Place the lid on your slow-cooker and set to high heat. Cook for 6 hours.
After the pork has cooked for 6 hours, it should fall apart easily. Use a set of metal tongs to pull the pork - tossing it all in the cooking liquid. Cook for an additional 2 hours.
In the meantime, prepare the pretzel rolls and kale slaw.
FOR THE PRETZEL ROLLS
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, roughly 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
egg wash (1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon of water)
course-ground kosher salt
In the bowl of your stand mixer combine 1 1/2 cups warm water, sugar, and kosher salt. Sprinkle yeast on top and allow to sit for 5 minutes or until foamy.
Add the flour and melted butter to the yeast mixture and fit your mixer with the dough hook attachment. Mix on low speed until the flour and butter are well incorporated. Change the speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. This will take about 5 minutes.
Coat a large bowl with nonstick spray. Gently, remove the dough from the mixer and form a ball. Place in the prepared bowl and flip the dough so that all sides are coated in a bit of the nonstick spray. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise for 55-60 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and grease lightly with vegetable oil.
In a large, heavy saucepan, combine baking soda with 10 cups of water. Bring to a rolling boil.
Turn the dough out unto a floured surface and portion into eight equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a tight, round ball.
Place the pretzels in the boiling water, one at a time, for 30 seconds. Transfer the boiled pretzels to the prepared sheet pans. Brush each roll with egg wash and sprinkle with salt.
Bake the pretzels until they are deep golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool for several minutes before slicing and serving.
FOR THE APPLE KALE SLAW
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Grade A maple syrup
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces curly kale, finely chopped
2 gala apples, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Whisk together vinegar, maple syrup, and mustard in a small bowl. Set aside.
In a large bowl, toss together olive oil, kale, and diced apples. Drizzle with the vinegar mixture and sprinkle with salt.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Slice the pretzel rolls and fill with the warm pulled pork. Top with a heavy spoonful of prepared slaw and serve immediately. Enjoy!!