Cuban-Style Pulled Pork

The last few years I have been purchasing pork picnic roasts. Walmart had missed-priced them for about a year on the grocery pickup app, so one could buy the whole roast (about 8#) for under $2. Yeah, that’s not a typo. The whole roast was $1.98. Me and my family members kept a supply in our freezers. Once covid hit and nearly everyone started using the grocery pickup app, the store corrected their error and the price returned to about $19. After a year or so, I ran out of picnic roasts. Shopping in a local store, New Sagaya, I saw the same type of pork picnic roast on sale for about $10. I bought it and threw it into the freezer. I knew what to do with that. So, here for my convenience are the recipes for two pulled pork recipes: Cuban style and barbecue. The Cuban-style recipe started at bellyfull.net. The barbecue recipe is a hodge-podge of several recipes. I like each type of pulled pork equally as well and they are quite different from each other. The very nice thing about the pork picnic roasts are that you can make one recipe of each of these pulled pork with just the one roast. If you do decide to go the route of the picnic roast, know that it’s the upper part of a leg, so there’s bone-in and there’s a fatty skin layer. I remove as much skin and fat as possible, but I don’t worry about the rest of it. It keeps the pulled pork moist and delicious. If you have to cut the roast down to fit it into a pan that’s totally fine. If you do that, it will probably be ready at the three hour mark, rather than later. Last note here, I use the oven, but most people use a slow-cooker. Whatever.

Cuban Style

  • Cuban-Style Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Several grinds pepper
  • 7 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 small sweet onion, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3-4 pounds pork roast
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a Dutch oven or roasting pan, stir together all the ingredients except the roast and the olive oil. Coat the pork roast with olive oil and place into the pan, turning to coat. Cover the pan and place into the oven. Bake at 300 degrees F for three hours. Remove from oven and use a couple forks to see if it pulls apart easily. If it does, use the forks to shred the meat and stir it into the sauce until it’s all well incorporated. If it’s not quite ready to shred, return to the oven and check it again in a half hour or so. If the bone is in, it may take closer to 4 hours.

I like the Cuban-style pulled pork served over baked sweet potatoes or rice or as a filling for plantain cups or poblanos. It’s a wonderfully flavorful dish. This makes about 8 servings. I typically freeze what I don’t use the first day.

Barbecue Style

  • Barbecue-Style Ingredients
  • 1 12-oz. can Coke (cannot be diet Coke)
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce (try the SBJ sauce here)
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • Many grinds of black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 3-4 lb. pork roast

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a Dutch oven or roasting pan, stir together all ingredients except the pork roast. Add the pork roast and turn it to coat all sides. Cover the pan and bake at 300 degrees F for 3-4 hours. Check it at 3 hours to see if you can shred the meat easily with a couple forks. If yes, then shred the meat into the sauce until all is well incorporated. If no, then return to the oven for another half hour to hour or so, whatever it takes. If it’s bone-in, then it will take longer.

The other day I made this and I didn’t have Coke, so I used wine instead. And my most current batch of SBJ barbecue sauce is mouth-on-fire flaming hot, so I used a half-cup of that and a half-cup of a sweeter store-bought barbecue sauce. Still a delicious pulled pork. All of this is just to tell you it’s hard to go wrong.

I like to serve this type of pulled pork over sandwich buns (recipe here) or over baked sweet potatoes. It makes about 8 servings. I usually freeze whatever I don’t use the first day.

I think this originated as an Ina Garten recipe and it morphed from there. I have made it many, many times tweaking a little each time. I hate to run out of bread crumbs before I’m finished breading the chicken, but usually end up throwing some away. I guess it just depends upon how large and what type of chicken pieces you use.

  • Marinade Ingredients
  • 4 Chicken thighs and 4 Chicken drumsticks
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt
  • Breading Ingredients
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Small handful fresh thyme or about 1-1/2 tsp. dried
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • Several grinds of freshly ground pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups fine bread crumbs
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil

Anytime up until roasting, mix the buttermilk, Dijon, and salt. Coat the chicken with the marinade and let it sit under refrigeration until it’s time to roast. I try to do this part before lunch.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small food processor (maybe a blender would work?), place the garlic cloves, lemon zest, thyme, salt and pepper. Process until the garlic is very fine. Add the bread crumbs and process to mix it all together. Drizzle the olive oil in, wetting the bread crumbs. [I do this by pouring the oil onto the top of my mini food processor which has little holes to drizzle liquids into the bowl — it works very well.]

Pour the bread crumb mixture into a pie tin or other flat container. Withdraw the chicken from the marinade, one piece at a time and dip in the bread crumbs. The bottoms need only be very thinly coated, if at all. The tops of the chicken should get the bulk of the bread crumb mixture. Place onto the prepared baking sheet.

Bake at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes. Test for doneness. It may take more time. Remove from oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes.

This is incredibly tasty! And it tastes great for lunch the next day. Yeah!

I don’t know when this became such a favorite of mine, but I sure do make it a lot. Yum! This is a gluten-free recipe. I’ll give you the ingredients, but not the amounts. I just throw the food into a bowl and stir it around. I like to serve this with finger food like pulled pork sandwiches or oven-fried chicken.

  • Ingredients
  • Sour cream
  • Mayonnaise
  • Vinegar
  • Pepper
  • Red onion, sliced thin
  • Frozen peas, mostly thawed
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Crispy bacon crumbles

Make a dressing with a dab of sour cream and about twice as much, or more, mayo. Stir in a Tablespoon or so of vinegar. I use white wine vinegar. Stir in a couple dashes of pepper. Stir in the remaining ingredients until well mixed. If you have to add more mayo to get everything covered, then do that. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

I have made this about once a year for many, many years. I had to go hunting for the recipe today, so decided to put it here for an easier find. When I first tasted this at a potluck, it blew me away. This will serve any number of people, just adjust the amounts.

  • Ingredients
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Bleu cheese salad dressing
  • Crumbled bleu cheese
  • Shredded cooked chicken
  • Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ingredients together and bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Use crackers, crusty bread, tortilla chips, and/or celery sticks as vehicles for the dip.

Notes: My friend Sandie gave me the recipe with some of the ingredients in very specific amounts. For example, it called for 2 cups shredded sharp cheese, 1/2 cup Frank’s, and one bottle of bleu cheese salad dressing, along with the other non-specific ingredients. Since I always make my own bleu cheese dressing, in this recipe I use mayonnaise and lots and lots of bleu cheese crumbles. Adding plain Greek yogurt, sour cream, or buttermilk in place of some of the mayonnaise would probably work well. This dip tends to separate into oils and solids because of the oil in the cheddar cheese and mayo. I don’t know how to make it not do that. I try to ladle some of the oil off before serving.

Instead of baking the dip, you could put it into a crock pot for 4-6 hours. I don’t have a crockpot.

  • Ingredients
  • Spinach
  • Bleu cheese crumbles
  • Avocado, diced
  • Berries, chopped or whole, depending upon size
  • Sweet Spiced Pecans (recipe found here)
  • Dried cherries
  • Balsamic glaze

Use the amount of ingredients for the number of people you’ll be feeding. Layer the ingredients in individual bowls and let people add their own balsamic glaze as the dressing.

I would say the only “must-have” parts of this salad are the spinach, the bleu cheese crumbles, and the balsamic glaze. I always buy the premade glaze, but I supposed you could find a recipe for it, it’s very sweet. I have used mandarin orange segments instead of berries. I’ve used strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. I’ve made this without the avocados. I’ve used plain pecans when I’ve been too lazy to make Sweet Spiced Pecans. I’ve used dried strawberries and dried cranberries in lieu of the dried cherries, and I’ve also skipped the dried berries (as is pictured since I was out). Anything goes!

I try to always have these on hand to make Spinach-Bleu-Berry Salad. It’s hard to keep them in stock because of the person who lives with me and likes to nibble on little snacks. So, there’s that. The recipe I use is double the one from dimpleprints. You can adjust the kick by raising or lowering the amount of cayenne pepper. This is a gluten-free recipe.

  • Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 2 egg whites
  • 4 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 4-6 cups pecan halves

Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

In a very large bowl, mix together brown sugar, cayenne, salt, coriander, cinnamon, and allspice. Set aside.

In a separate, smaller, bowl whisk together egg whites and vegetable oil until egg whites are foamy. Stir the egg mixture into the brown sugar mixture until it’s all incorporated. Fold in 4 cups of pecan halves. Keep folding as you want the pecans to be fully coated with the mixture and it takes time for the mixture to drip into the grooves of the pecans. Since I use extra-large eggs, I fold in another cup, or more, of pecan halves. Keep folding until it’s all soaked in.

Pour the pecans onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Roast at 300 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. I stir mine two or three times during the roasting process. Keep a close eye on the pecans as they can scorch easily. Remove from oven and let them cool completely before lifting the parchment paper and breaking up any clumps. Store and/or share with friends.

A friend posted a picture of several loaves of Julekake that he had made and I remembered my mother making it at Christmas. I’ve been in Nevada over a month, visiting my parents for the holidays, and we have been unable to lay hands on candied red cherries, so Mom got maraschino cherries instead. I thought I would give Julekake a try with what we had on hand. It turned out delicious! I made it in a loaf pan so that it could be easily cut and toasted later.

  • Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 package (2-1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. orange zest
  • 3-4 cups flour, divided
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 cup mixed candied fruit and raisins

Heat butter, milk, and water together until it’s hot to the touch, but not scalding. Sprinkle yeast over and let it dissolve, stirring once in awhile. Stir orange zest into the sugar, mashing it around to get the sugar infused with the orange oil. Stir the sugar-zest mixture into the yeast mixture. Stir in about 2 cups flour, salt, and cardamom. Stir and stir and stir to build up the gluten. When it’s stretchy, start adding flour, one half-cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When it becomes too hard to stir, take it out of the bowl and start kneading on a lightly floured surface. At this point, use as little flour as possible. Knead for about five minutes. Once the dough ball is smooth and springs back when touched, press it flat. Sprinkle about a third of the mixed fruit over the surface. Roll up the dough and knead a little bit. Press flat again and sprinkle another third of the fruit over, then roll it up and knead it again. Do that one last time with the remaining fruit. The fruit should be well incorporated into the dough.

Place the dough into a greased bowl and turn the dough over so that the top of it is also greased. Let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled, 1 to 1-1/2 hours should do it. You can leave it longer if you don’t have time to deal with it.

Punch the dough down and shape into a loaf and place into a greased loaf pan 8-1/2 x 4-1/2. Let rise until just over the top edge of the pan. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Once the oven has heated, place the loaf into the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Notes: I used about a third cup of chopped green candied cherries, a third cup of raisins, and a third up of chopped maraschino cherries. Maraschinos have too much liquid, so I let them drain onto a paper towel and chopped them on the paper towel. It wouldn’t hurt anything to let them sit out for quite awhile to lose more moisture and get tacky.

You should be able to make this into different shapes: rings or rolls and also you can drizzle icing over, an almond icing would be great. I knew we could not eat this all while it was fresh, so my goal was to be able to toast it in the toaster later, thus no icing. It’s been really delicious toasted and slathered with butter. Yum!

I worked at the King Ko Inn in King Salmon, Alaska during my teenage years in the mid-1970s. Most of that time I was a maid, but for a few months in my senior year of high school I was a waitress. The clientele were German sport fishermen and road laborers working on the upgrade of the road to Naknek. The inn’s manager was this mountainous rough woman named Bea. She was all seeing, all knowing. She cruised through the inn like a giant tanker, trailing a wake of fear behind her. She was fiercely protective, however, of her young employees. One thing you could count on when Bea was cooking on Fridays was her Manhattan Clam Chowder. Most places, in the western United States at least, serve clam chowder on Fridays, but it is New England style. Bea’s Manhattan Clam Chowder is so memorable that I have been trying to duplicate it ever since. I finally found it here at Food 52 a few years ago.

  • Ingredients
  • 16 oz. (2-8 oz. bottles) clam juice
  • 12 oz. (2- 6 oz. cans) chopped clams, drained, reserve juice
  • 4 oz. diced bacon
  • 1-1/2 cups small dice onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped leeks (white part only)
  • 1 cup small dice celery
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/8 heaping tsp. celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups 1/2″ dice peeled potatoes
  • 28 oz. chopped canned tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp. horseradish sauce

In a large pan, fry bacon until nearly crisp. Stir in vegetables and saute until soft. Stir in spices. Stir in clam juice and reserved clam juice, salt, pepper, and potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and let simmer until potatoes are cooked through. Stir in tomatoes and clams. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in horseradish sauce. Serve. Oh, yum!!!

Notes: This will serve 4 easily. I like to serve with a crusty bread or oyster crackers. If you’ve never used leeks before, make sure you clean them appropriately. I slice mine in half lengthwise and then run under cold water while I flip the layers of leek, like pages of a book. Leeks hide sand and bugs and have to be cleaned well. Then I chop them up. This is a gluten-free dish.

This is my new favorite pizza dough recipe. I’m not a pizza crust connoisseur by any means, but this crust made me pause and ask, “Where have you been all my life?” The recipe originates at babysavers.com.

  • Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup warm beer
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 package (2-1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzle
  • 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 cups flour (I have used both bread flour and all-purpose to great effect)
  • Favorite toppings

This recipe makes one 16″ pie or a couple smaller ones.

Mix beer, water, yeast and sugar together and let sit until foamy. Stir in salt and olive oil and 1 cup flour. Stir and stir and stir to build the gluten. Stir in more flour in half-cup increments until it’s a bit shaggy. If you’re using a stand mixer, keep mixing and adding smidges of flour until the the dough is smooth. If you’re doing this by hand, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for 6-8 minutes until the dough is smooth. Place the dough ball into a lightly oiled bowl and drizzle more olive oil over the top. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes or so.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare your pan(s) by covering with parchment paper or lightly greasing or oiling or spraying with non-stick spray. Prepare your toppings.

Roll the dough out to about 1/4″ and set on your prepared pan(s). BAKE FOR 4-5 MINUTES (PARBAKE)!

Remove the parbaked crusts from the oven and sprinkle with your favorite toppings. Return to the oven and bake 8-12 minutes or until crust is golden and toppings melted.

Notes: What I liked about this was the flavor coming off of the beer. I heat my beer in the microwave until it’s warm to the touch, but not scalding hot. Don’t want to kill the yeast. The beer makes for a deeply flavored crust. My 89-year-old dad said it was the best pizza he ever had, so that’s saying something. The last time I made this I increased the ingredients a little bit because I didn’t think there would be enough pizza. I was wrong because we ended up with leftovers, but it turned out well, so now I know it works. I just eyeballed and added about a third more of everything and then made one pizza on a very large baking sheet and the other one on a smaller baking sheet. I think the key is the parbaking. It means the sauce doesn’t cause the crust to get soggy or worse, remain raw.

The topping ideas are endless: Italian sausage, pepperoni, chicken, mushroom, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, tomato sauce, pesto sauce, Canadian bacon, pineapple (euw), bacon, peppers, tomatoes, onion. I remember eating a kabab pizza in Sweden, but I can’t remember what constituted the kabab. It was yummy, though. Some kind of meat with some kind of white sauce drizzled over. I really love a spicy Thai pizza with chicken and sweet chile sauce and peanuts and bean sprouts. This is making me hungry.

This dish is also known as a puff pancake. The recipe is based upon one by recipegirl. I was recently gifted a non-stick cast iron Dutch oven. The lid is multi-use and may be used as a skillet. If you do not have a cast-iron skillet, or one that is bake-proof, then a 9×13″ baking dish should work fine.

  • Ingredients
  • 4 eggs (I use extra large)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups fresh berries
  • Syrup or powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put your skillet into oven as it’s heating.

In a blender or food processor, mix together eggs, milk, flour, sugar, lemon zest, and salt.

Remove the skillet from oven and place butter into it. Return to oven until butter has melted.

Pour batter over melted butter. Sprinkle berries over the top of the batter. Place the skillet back into the oven for 18-22 minutes. Remove from oven and serve sprinkled with powdered sugar or with syrup, however you like it.

Serves 4