I’ve decided that there must be a special place in the universe those of us with boys who play baseball. Especially those of us who have children who play on separate teams. And children who play on two teams. And husbands who coach not one but two of said teams.
Two hour (or more!) games. Each. Two on Saturday. Two on Sunday. Often 6-7 hours away just at baseball games – each day. Oh. My. Gracious.
But they love it. So we do it.
Usually I’m on my game with the food part of the day. Well-prepared and well-thought out. As the season progresses, however, I start to lose my inspiration. The weather gets less tolerable. The days can seem exceptionally long. It starts to feel all-consuming. I still put on the happy, proud-mom demeanor, but my desire to take the food-bull by the horns starts to wane. Plan, prep and pack for the day. Snacks, lunches, beverages. Make sure that dinner is thought-out and ready to get started when we get home. Ugh! Small world problems, yes. But such is my life.
I hit that point this weekend. The children starved a bit. They ate crappy concession stand food. We ate out more than we should. But everyone was happy. Mostly just because I let them have a ring pop.
We ended the very long weekend with a hybrid dinner: coleslaw, french fries, and macaroni and cheese from our local barbecue joint along with the pulled pork that was waiting for us in the slow cooker (that I had in before we left).
Now, everyone who owns a slow cooker has their own unique pulled pork recipe. Some even have more than one. Mine has changed many, many, many, many, … times over the years, but the current version is the best because it makes it’s own barbecue sauce. Less work.
You gotta love a pulled pork recipe that can help you to work less.
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1½ teaspoons dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- dash cayenne pepper
- 4-5 pound pork butt roast
- Oil, for searing
- ½ c. apple cider vinegar
- 1½ tablespoon honey
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- In a small bowl, combine paprika, salt, dry mustard, garlic powder, cumin and cayenne pepper.
- Rub all over the outside of the pork.
- Dump a glug of oil into a large skillet and warm over medium-high heat.
- Place pork in skillet, searing on all sides, approximately 5-7 minutes per side.
- Move pork roast to slow cooker.
- Pour vinegar in the pan to warm and to loosen any of the bit of spice that stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- Add tomato paste and honey and stir to combine.
- Pour vinegar/tomato mixture over pork roast.
- Cook on low for 8 hours, or until roast shreds easily with a fork.
- Remove pork and transfer to a plate or a cutting board.
- Strain the liquid into a saucepan and cook until reduced by half, 10-15 minutes. The vinegar loses some of its punch when it cooks, so you may need to add some more if you like a more vinegar-y sauce.
- Shred or chop the pork and mix with the reduced sauce.
- Serve with additional barbecue sauce and coleslaw.
If you're short on time, you can even chop the roast into smaller chunks, put the chunks in a bag with the rub, shake it to coat all the pieces, sear the pieces and then cook. It cuts the cooking time in half (or even less if you cut the chunks fairly small). Bet you didn't think anyone could use the word "chunks" so many times in so few sentences and it be meaningful.
Adapted from Food Network.
Now, if you don’t own a slow cooker, you’d be wise to fork out the 25 or so beans to get one. Especially if you’ve got kids that are interested in baseball.
It’s the best thing to happen to the uninspired baseball mom cook.
What’s a go-to recipe when you’ve been out at your kids activities all day?