I bought a head of cabbage last week for no real reason–that is, I had no specific plans for it. While thumbing through one of my favorite cookbooks the other day I ran across a recipe for Gunsmoke Coleslaw (see recipe below) that I made a few years ago and loved. Gunsmoke because it has chipotle peppers in it for some heat. Bingo. The cabbage found its purpose! Now the only other dilemma was to figure out what to serve alongside the coleslaw. Traditionally in the South barbeque pork is the de facto star with a coleslaw sidekick, and still being (somewhat) Southern by birthright, I decided to use up some of the pork remaining in our freezer to make barbeque pork sandwiches. This would have been a beautiful test for my new solar oven, but alas, it looks like this outside today:
Yes, that is snow. It has been snowing all afternoon. Stinker even went for a run with me in the snow this afternoon. But these are dismal conditions for using a solar oven. So, plan B. If I can’t use my solar oven, I’ll at least use the enamel cookware that came with it. I haven’t spent much time cooking with enamelware, so this was a worthy experiment in my mind.
I started with a barbeque rub recipe I found last year and modified it slightly, then added a little bit of water and olive oil to make a slurry/sauce to pour over the pork to help keep it moist while it baked. I put some of it in the bottom of the pan first, then laid the pork shoulder steak on top, then covered it with the remaining barbeque slurry. I put the lid on the pot and put it in a preheated 325 degree F oven and set the timer for 30 minutes. When the timer went off I took the lid off the pot (and burned my wrist with steam in the process). Then I baked it for another 30 minutes. Then I removed the pot from the oven, flipped the steak over, put the lid back on, and baked it for another 20 minutes.
When I removed it from the oven for the final time, I could tell this was going to be some good barbeque. I used two forks to pull the meat off the bone and tear it into bite-sized pieces. Then I scraped the remaining barbeque sauce from the pan and mixed it into the pork. I tasted a piece. Yummmmmm. Hubby agreed. So did Stinker. She always gets a little piece of pork–it just wouldn’t be fair to hold out on her. Hubby commented while we ate: “Y’know, for not having been a meat-eater for very long, you sure know how to cook it.” I’ll take that as a compliment.
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 – 1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Start with 1/4 cup water and add more if you need to thin the mixture. It will be thick, but should pour out of a spoon. Put a large spoonful in the bottom of a oven-safe dish (with lid–or use aluminum foil if you don’t have a lid). Add a little water to thin the mixture and spread it evenly around the bottom of the dish. Place your pork steak or roast in the pan and pour the remaining barbeque slurry over the pork. Place the lid on the dish and place in a preheated 325 degree F oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and cook an additional 30 minutes. Then remove the dish from the oven, flip the steak or roast over and replace the lid. Bake an additional 20 minutes.
Gunsmoke Coleslaw (adapted from Vegetarian Planet, by Didi Emmons)
1 small green cabbage
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 large can Mandarin oranges
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 small bulb garlic
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce*
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk
Core the cabbage and slice it thinly. Or, if you are lazy like me, shred it using your food processor. Grate the carrots (I sliced mine using my food processor because I didn’t want to switch blades). Combine the cabbage, carrots, green onions, and Mandarin oranges in a large bowl.
Combine the mustard, garlic, sugar, salt, chipotle peppers, and vinegar in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the mayonnaise, oil, and buttermilk and pulse again. Pour over the cabbage mixture and mix well. For the best flavor, prepare this early in the day and let it sit in the refrigerator for several hours before serving.
*You can use dehydrated chipotles, just rehydrate them first. I did not remove the seeds from the chipotles before I added them to the coleslaw, and MAN, did it have some kick! That’s why I added the buttermilk–it helps to calm the heat. If you remove the seeds first, you may not want to add the buttermilk, just adapt it to your heat tolerance and desire.