EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

June 13, 2013

Treat dad to pulled pork sliders

Pat's Kitchen
Patricia Altomare

---- — Mike developed the recipes I’m sharing today. To tweak them to his liking, he prepared them for us, his family, on Memorial Day weekend. It was the first time I have had a pulled pork sandwich, and I could have eaten more than one. The meat was tender, and the coleslaw cool and crisp.

Now that he has perfected his recipe, Mike will make these pulled pork sliders for a very important graduation party at the end of the month for Brianna, whom he has known since she was a baby. To her, he is Papa Mike, as he also is to Adria, who is 10 and Elijah, who is 6.

Many of us grew up with fond memories of a man such as “Papa Mike,” a favorite uncle perhaps that always tossed you around, played with you, shared a tea party with you. Brianna, Adria, and Elijah wanted to see Papa Mike specially recognized on this Father’s Day. Brianna e-mailed me her sentiments:

“My Papa Mike is the best. He cooks, fools around, and is just a great guy. Papa Mike loves to cook and I absolutely love to eat his food (always his mashed potatoes). He is making pork sliders for my graduation from high school and I couldn’t be more excited! Not only is Papa Mike an amazing cook, but I love to hang out with him and watch great movies and drive his truck!”

Adria and Elijah verbally voiced their thoughts of Papa Mike:

“He tickles us and wrestles with us and doesn’t get tired and want to stop. He chases us all over the yard.”

Adria says now she runs faster. Elijah says papa Mike was the best “Incredible Hulk” at Halloween, and was even a little scary.

These are good memories for children. All men who are “Papa Mike’s” to any children are appreciated and honored on this Fathers’ Day. Plus, I know a lot of guys that would love these pulled pork sliders.

Mike T’s Pulled Pork Sliders

Serves 8

1 (41/2- to 5-pound) Boston pork butt

2 sweet onions, such as Vidalia

1 (12-ounce) can ginger ale

1 (18-ounce) bottle Sweet Baby Rays barbecue sauce (more optional)

Instructions

In a large slow cooker, place 2 halves of Vidalia onion on bottom. Place pork butt on top of onion. Place the remaining onion, also cut in half, on top of pork. Pour in ginger ale. Cook on low for 12 hours.

DO NOT OPEN the slow cooker.

Next, drain off the liquid. Shred pork meat and onions when cool enough to handle (shred with forks or your fingers). Return shredded pork to crock-pot, add the barbecue sauce (adjusting amount to your taste).

Cook on low for an additional 2 hours.

Serve on Pepperidge Farms Sliders, top with coleslaw.

** Boston butt is an inexpensive cut of meat that is frequently served as barbecue. Although the name may give the impression that the meat is from the hind-quarters of the pig, it actually refers to the upper part of the pig’s front legs and is commonly called pork shoulder. As Boston butt is a tougher cut of meat and has more connective tissue than a tender pork loin, it is best when slow cooked over low heat for several hours. Hence, using a slow cooker is a good way to get that meat fully flavored and fall-off-the-bone tender.

This coleslaw recipe is perfect for pulled pork sandwiches, as it is mildly flavored and does not overpower the pork; what it does do is give you a cool, crisp layer of texture, which complements the meat.

Mike’s Coleslaw

1 medium head green cabbage, finely shredded

1-1/4 cup mayonnaise

5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup sugar or equivalent sugar substitute

Instructions

Mix all ingredients together, refrigerate overnight; drain off any liquid as you build the slider.

Patricia Altomare invites your letters. Email patakitchen@yahoo.com.