Making barbecue is one of the easiest ways to stretch leftover roast pork into a second meal. Three simple steps -- cut up the pork, add some sauce and heat gently -- and you have a casual lunch or dinner dish. Creating your own signature sauce brings your personal touch to the table.
Thinly slice, coarsely chop or pull the pork for the barbecue. To pull the pork, set the leftover roast on a cutting board, grab a fork in each hand and use the forks to pull the meat apart. To prevent the meat from overcooking and drying out, put it in a pan with the sauce and gently heat them together before serving. If you’re cooking for a crowd, you can also put the pulled, sliced or chopped pork in a slow cooker with the sauce of your choice, set it on low, and set out buns, condiments and extra sauce so people can assemble their own sandwiches or plates.
One argument that will never be settled is which sauce is the right sauce, or the best sauce, for barbecued pork. Even within the state of North Carolina, the eastern part of the state disagrees with the western part of the state over whether your pork should come with a vinegar sauce or a tomato-based sauce. Kansas City residents prefer a tomato-based sauce that’s sweet and spicy, and South Carolinians like mustard in their sauce. Some folks only take their sauce on the side while others wouldn’t consider it true barbecue if there wasn't a little bourbon or whiskey added.
While there’s a wealth of bottled barbecue sauces, making your own allows you to control the sweetness and the heat. Choose a base, like tomato paste or vinegar, and add honey, brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup or preserves to add sweetness. Chopped chili peppers, garlic, onions and ginger add heat. Fresh herbs add complexity. A dash of liquid smoke makes your barbecue taste like it’s been in the smoker all day, but too much will overpower the other flavors. Experiment with flavors you know you enjoy, taste the sauce frequently and let it simmer for a while to allow the flavors to bend before you add it to the pork.
Pork barbecue stands alone as a main dish, or as part of a more casual sandwich. Serve it with coleslaw, barbecued beans and potato salad for the kind of traditional barbecue plate you might get at a roadside diner. Slice or chop cabbage and carrots for a simple coleslaw, and dress it with mayonnaise thinned with vinegar and sweetened with a couple of tablespoons of sugar. If you don’t have time to make beans from scratch, combine canned beans with brown sugar and a couple of splashes of hot sauce and heat them in the oven. Boil potatoes and hard boil eggs for potato salad. Dress it with mayonnaise and add chopped pickle, celery or onion.
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