My Briefing on Comic Conn 2017 and my recipe for Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches 

About a few weeks ago, I took a trip to Connecticut to crash Comic Conn and surpise my bestie, also known as the Baronness VQ. I had an absolute blast. I went into Comic Conn wiith such an open mind because I am a City Gal if you would. Anything that doesn’t take place in the confines of NYC has a strong possibility of sucking. Or so I thought. This convention was being held at the Foxwoods Resort Casino and man, I was truly blown away by everyone I got to see and talk to. It was nowhere near as crowded at the NYCC I attended last year. The pricing for the ticket and items on sale were absolutely reasonable. Most importantly, the photo ops and autographs were awesome too. I met the love of my life a second time(I am referring to Taimak from The Last Dragon). I also had a few opportunities to interview Taimak himself, who has a new short film coming out in the Soho Film Festival as well as a new film featuring his character from the Last Dragon, Leroy Greene. It is NOT a sequel to The Laston Dragon but a more serious film that follows the character as he gets older. I also got the opportunity to speak with the Sous Chef of a bakery called Cake by Franck. I spoke with a publisher named Hash and the founders of Wayward Raven and the creators of Smooth, an up and coming comic  looking to transition to Netflix. Hop on over to my YouTube Channel for all the coverage I have on Comic Conn 2017 including exclusive interviews with those I have mentioned above.

Now….What does my slow-cooker BBQ Pulled Pork Recipe have anything to do with my trip to Comic Conn? Well we went to the local Stop and Shop to pick up snacks and ingredients to pack lunch for the adventure. Upon doing so, we got this magazine called Savory. When I opened it, I saw so many recipes that I am not only going to test out, but I am going to create my own versions of them and share them with you guys. Now I have made Slow Cooker Pulled Pork in the past and it was incredibly lackluster. I will get to that in a moment. 

I was inspired to create my own version of this recipe. I love pulled pork done right. I remember botching the recipe when I did it the first time. An old co-worker of mine  from this job I detested had told me that it was super easy to make and also didn’t require much prep  work. She suggested that I use a McCormick Pulled Pork Packet and then add Barbecue Sauce once I was finished shredding the pork. I didn’t discard the fat or the sauce left behind so I wound up mixing that with my pork. I ended up with such a bad stomach ache since it was too greasy. This was also the person who was given praise on pernil during an office pot luck party that had no taste and way too much grease. I am not ragging on the woman, everyone has their own particular set of skills when it comes to the kitchen, those were hers I assume. 

So I needed to do something better. A little more from scratch rather than something premade. I got this magazine for free with our purchase and decided to cook my way through some of the recipes in it since they seemed pretty cool. Then it dawned on me….Just make my own version to make things interesting. I used a dry rub my mother has in the kitchen because I wanted the pork to have more than a bbq taste.  It needed some elevation. This I think would add a dimension to the pork rather than it having a strictly bbq taste to it. My mother had begun making her own rubs and spice blends since the year started. I guess you can say we are evolving and moving away from adobo and anything that may contain MSG or other harmful chemicals to your body. You can find the original recipe for the pulled pork here.

The gears in my brain were turning. What could I serve this sandwich with? I mean I already knew to use coleslaw because the recipe itself called for store bought, but I tried one of theirs with my own spin on it. This particular coleslaw recipe has just the right balance of sour and sweet thanks to equal parts apple cider vinegar and sugar and it’s ready in just 5 minutes. I added corn for a nice background taste. I was inspired by the idea of an outdoor BBQ. What do you usually get? Grilled meats, Potatoes, and Corn on the Cob. So I added some corn to this slaw. If you feel like using fresh corn, by all means. I just wanted to create recipes that are budget friendly while still being creative for the casual cooks out there.  The original recipe can be found here.

I added corn. So I incorporated it into my coleslaw. The coleslaw I added corn and would add lemon zest to give it a tang I think it was missing. I didn’t want to make regular potatoes because we had them a few nights ago so I went on to look for a sweet potato wedges recipe and it took me to one by Tia Mowry. I’ve made sweet potato wedges and it was not anything like this. This one actually had cinnamon in it! I thought it was going ot give it a weird taste but I was pleasantly surprised. It was a mega hit with the family. I didnt alter anything and left it as is. The only thing I didn’t do was bake it in the oven. I cooked it on a skillet pan instead of the oven. To make them cook up a little faster, i cooked the wedges on a low to medium flame and kept it covered. Once the potatoes were fully cooked, I increased the heat on the pan and cooked uncovered to give them a sear. The original recipe is from Tia Mowry at home and can be found here.

The method of doing it was fairly easy and straight to the point. I took it upon myself to put the rub on the pork tenderloin and put it in a ziploc overnight to absorb the flavors. Next time, I might try using a can of coca cola to render the fat on the pork tenderloin for an hour or two before adding my rub and putting it in my ziploc bag overnight. I figured if it does wonders for ribs(it makes them super tender) why not try it with this? If any of you try it out,let me know if it does or doesn’t work because I would love to know. 

The day you are ready to make this all you do is combine all of your ingredients in the slow cooker bowl, then add your pork. The original recipe which can be found here, calls for the pork to be cooked on high for 5 hours. I put it on low for 6 hours. While that was cooking, I made my corn slaw. Next time, I would add some lemon zest because I felt like that was the only thing really missing, a tanginess. I think adding lemon juice would make it too acidic for this sandwich. The potatoes were done on a skillet rather than the oven because it was just too hot.  You can do it either way that works best for you. I didn’t change anything on that recipe and I wouldn’t. It was deliciousness. If you’d like to see how I did it, please click here.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Serves: 8
Ready in: 30 mins (after the meat has been cooked and shredded)
Prep Time: 25 mins
Cooking Time: 6h 00m(My video shows 5 hours but I added an extra hour)

Ingredients:
1 (3 lb) pork tenderloin
2 tbsp Homemade Sweet Carolina Dry Rub (moms secret….jk…see recipe below)
1 cup Kraft Sweet Honey BBQ sauce
½ cup Apple Cider vinegar
½ cup Great Value ketchup
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Chili Powder
8 buns(I used to the Sesame Seeded Hamburger buns, but you can use whatever you want)
1-2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 tbsp unsalted Butter, melted
1 cups coleslaw (see recipe below)

Instructions:
1. Put 2 tbsp of sweet carolina rub (recipe down below) on the pork and place in ziploc bag overnight. It will marinate with the pork juices in the bag.

2. Place pork in 6–7 quart slow cooker. Add the barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar, ketchup, garlic powder, and chili powder. The original recipe called to add 1/2 cup of water but I didn’t. The reason being, the pork
does have juices that come out while it is cooking.  The pork was Ah Mazing!

3. Cook for 6  hours on low, until pork is fork tender. Remove pork from slow cooker and transfer to a large bowl. Use a fork to shred pork.

4. Strain cooking liquid from the slow cooker into a saucepan or pot. Skim as much fat off the top as possible, add the 1 tsp of  powdered onion. Cook over a rapid simmer to reduce, about 5 min. Allow sauce to cool slightly before tossing with pulled pork.

5.  I warmed up a skillet pan on medium heat. While that warmed up, I melted 2 tablespoons of butter and added about 1 tsp minced garlic in a small bowl. I brushed this mixture on the inside of the buns. Then I moved the bun buttered side down on the pan. Eyeball the bread because you just want to toast them enough until the inside is a little golden. Remove from pan and put on plate.

6. Divide pork among 6 buns and top each with ¼ cup coleslaw. Reserve any leftover pulled pork for another use.

Mom’s Sweet Carolina BBQ Rub Recipe
1/4 cup paprika
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp black pepper 
2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp onion powder

​Lemon Corn Coleslaw 

Ingredients:
1 (14 oz) Dole bag coleslaw mix
½ cup Hellman’slight  mayonnaise
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp Domino sugar
3 tbsp  relish
1 can of Green Giant Corn, drained
1/2 tsp lemon zest

Instructions: 
1. Set coleslaw mix in a large bowl. Add can of corn. 

2. Whisk remaining ingredients together in a separate bowl until well combined. Toss with the coleslaw mix until fully coated. Cover and place in refrigerator until ready to use.

**If you want to make it without the mayo, just omit the mayo and add 2 tbsp of oil to your slaw.

Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges

Ingredients:
1.5 sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
3 tablespoons coconut oil 
1/2 teaspoon chili powder 
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
1/4 lime juice
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped 

Instructions:
1. Place 1 tbsp of coconut oil on a skillet. Warm up on low flame. Be sure to check the oil doesnt burn.

2. Add the potato wedges and oil to a large bowl and toss well to coat. Sprinkle with the chili powder, cinnamon, garlic powder, salt, pepper and lime juice and toss until the wedges are coated.

 3. Pour remainder of oil into the pan that has been warming up. Put the wedges about an inch apart and cook with the cover on until potatoes are fully cooked on low to medium flame.  

4. Once cooked, remove the cover and increase flame. Flip over once there is a sear, this should be able 5 mins on both sides. 

5. Then remove  then remove the baking sheets from the oven and flip the wedges over. Remove from heat once the potatoes are cooked and seared. Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

Recipe courtesy of Tia Mowry at Home
Show: Tia Mowry at Home
Episode: Pajama Party

*****The Update***** 
These Pulled Pork Sandwiches and potatoes were a huge hit in my house. I was surprised to see how fast everyone finished and asked for seconds. I do think this would make a great entertainment dinner for those of you hosting but not feeling up to doing anything fancy or stressful. It was a quick,easy, and affordable meal that didn’t break the bank or taste awful. You can make this recipe with chicken if you don’t eat pork, just swap out the pork for chicken and keep the time the same. Depending on which piece of the chicken you use, I would add the 1/2 cup of water and that is because you want it to be as tender and moist as the pork. It won’t have the same amount of juices unless its the dark meat. The light is leaner so that wont be any fat or too many juices during the cooking process.

I really hope you  enjoyed this dish as much as we did. You can see my entire video tutorial doe this meal on my YouTube Channel. Please like, subscribe, and share with your family and friends. Comment below if you tried it out and let me know how it worked for you. Share your pics as well because I would love to see how this recipe came out for you guys.

Credits: Tashalee C.,Yolanda PL., Tia Mowry at Home, Savory Magazine


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