I’ve been seeing a lot of references and recipes lately for pulled pork. I love pulled pork sandwiches and after seeing all of those recipes with pictures of juicy, tender, sweet, and spicy pulled pork, I wanted some! But you know what Japan doesn’t have? It doesn’t have a good place to go for BBQ—shocking I know ;). So I had to come up with a way to make it on my own.
Believe it or not I used to hate pulled pork (remember I used to only eat mac and cheese?). Now that I’m older I realized that most things I used to “hate” when I was younger are things I had I either a) never tried and just decided I didn’t like them or b)I had one bad experience with that food at some point in my life, thought it was gross, and swore it off forever. Luckily I’m not too stuck in my ways and have rediscovered that many of those “disgusting” foods are actually quite delicious :). (Not salmon though. I still don’t like salmon.)
I first fell in love with BBQ when I was a freshman in college. My college roommate, Laura, is from Houston and introduced me to Texas BBQ when I went to visit her one summer. Honestly, I have never been a huge fan of meat. I’ll pick a vegetarian option over meat any day. I don’t know why, I just never really loved it. So when Laura said we had to go to Rudy’s BBQ, I wasn’t that excited about it. But oh man was I wrong about that one—that stuff was amazing!! I got the turkey and honestly I could not believe how good it was. I don’t even really like turkey, and only eat it at Thanksgiving because it’s tradition, but man was that stuff gooooood!
My husband and I lived in San Antonio for a little less than a year after we graduated from college and we frequented Rudy’s quite often. Who doesn’t love white Wonder bread with lots of meat and BBQ sauce? It’s pretty much the opposite of anything I normally eat—the only “veggies” in site are pickles—but that’s probably why I loved it. And sometimes, just sometimes, I still crave it and really wish I could have some BBQ.
The other day was one of those days when I was really craving BBQ. I wanted it, but didn’t have a pork shoulder on hand (weird, right?), so I decided to try making some pulled chicken sandwiches instead. I have to admit, they were pretty darn awesome. We loved them and I wanted to share the recipe with y’all ;).
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp brown sugar (I used evaporated cane sugar)
1 tbsp grill seasoning (I use McCormick’s)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
chicken tenders (about 2 per person)
1/2 cup apple juice (divided)
1/2 medium to large onion
2 garlic cloves
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 tbsp hot sauce
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
squeeze of honey or maple syrup
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Combine brown sugar through onion powder in a shallow dish (reserve 1 tbsp). Dredge chicken tenders in spice mixture and place in skillet. Pour 1/4 cup of the apple juice in the skillet while it’s cooking. Sauté until cooked through. Set aside to cool.
While the chicken is cooling, heat a little more oil in a small sauce pan and cook the onions and garlic until soft. Add the tomato sauce, the other 1/4 cup apple juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, honey or maple syrup, and the reserved tablespoon of the spice mixture. Cook over low heat until heated through.
Once the chicken has cooled, shred it and place in a small bowl. Add a couple of tablespoons of the sauce to coat the chicken.
Serve the chicken on dinner rolls or hamburger buns with sauce on the side.
We ate these sandwiches with a side of the roasted potatoes with bacon and blue cheese that I linked to in Sunday’s post.
**We both loved this meal, but think it would have been even better if we let the chicken sit (with the rub on it) for a couple of hours, and also if we had grilled the chicken to get a nice charred taste on it.**
Question: What is one food that you used to “hate” but now love?