I may finally be able to say that summer is in full swing in Chicago. We’ve been grilling outside as much as possible, and I must say, it’s nice to not have to turn my stove on for the evenings. Plus, there is just something about grilling, and the smokey flavor of meat, or veggies if that’s your thing.
Last week, I made this Carolina Pulled Pork with Carolina Gold Barbecue Sauce and this Vinegar Based Slaw as well. I am NOT a fan of creamy cole slaw, so when I tasted the Yankee Cole Slaw at Wishbone years ago, I realized that I HAD to figure out just how they made their slaw. I haven’t gotten it yet, but I think that I’m close. The one thing that makes these sliders so great are the pretzel buns that they are on. While walking through Whole Foods before the July 4th holiday, I saw one of the associates putting these out on the sales floor. I didn’t grab any then, but I did go back a couple of days ago, and what do you know, the large buns were sold out, and all that was left for purchase were these mini buns. So sliders it was going to be. These buns are from a new brand called Pretzilla that is housed out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Perfectly chewy, and they come with salt packets that I didn’t choose to use.
Being able to pair the tangy pulled pork with the combination of pickled onion and the vinegar slaw is what barbecues are all about. I’m not a barbecue snob as far as region, but I do require that if you call something grilled, it should be grilled. Not baked, and passed off as grilled; I’m looking at all of you fall off the bone rib people who don’t grill. I’m not even upset with the barbecue/grilling discussions that take place either. Just as long as the meat is good and tender, I’m all for it. Plus, the ladybug is all about a tender tray of pulled pork slathered in barbecue sauce. She looked at me incredulously when I presented the pulled pork mixed up with a yellow barbecue sauce, but she ended up loving it just the same.
When making this pulled pork, I used the recipe from America’s Test Kitchen, because I’m all about the science of cooking. If it’s going to end in a tastier recipe, I’m all for it. I also searched long and high for a vinegar based slaw that I liked. This one from Billy Parisi is great, but it’s not exactly what I’m going for. Now, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t good, it’s just not the one that I was after. However, I will make it several more times before this summer is done.
The last portion of the meal has to go to the Pretzilla buns. Did I mention how chewy they were? They also come in hotdog buns and pretzel bites with cheese sauce that I think the kids will love. So far, there is limited release in Illinois – well the Chicagoland area anyway, with Whole Foods being the only place I can pick them up at the moment, trust me, I checked. However, if you live in or near Milwaukee, you’re in luck, because they are in abundance there. I attended Carroll College, so most of the grocery stores are familiar to me. I happened to pick up two packs of 6-pack mini buns for $5 total, and that didn’t seem too bad to me. Warning – you do need to refrigerate them if you won’t be using them for a couple of days, otherwise you won’t be able to use them. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about, since I’m on my 3rd and 4th packs of them.
Do you have a favorite meal that you grill up? What items really make it special?