Have you ever driven the Nevada route from Las Vegas to Tahoe? Lets just say it isn’t a foodie haven. When we finally spotted a Safeway (3/4 of the way through the trip) we were overjoyed (yes, it is that pathetic).
Ravenous and cold, we headed for the very petite hot food case to discover a very limited selection … a modest-sized box with just pulled pork in it for six bucks, or two pulled pork sandwiches that appeared loaded with just as much meat as the non-sandwich box for just $.99 each. We really didn’t want those white, fluffy, flavorless buns, but with that price discrepancy, the choice was obvious.
I took off the top bun and had it open-faced (while my husband just ate the pork out of the middle), but it got me thinking, “how else can we enjoy pulled pork?” We both really enjoy this slow-cooked, barbecue-sauced meat, but since cutting bread from our daily diet, we have actually acquired a distaste for the buns it is always served on.
With several hours left in the car to ponder this thought, it occurred to me that potatoes could possibly be the perfect vessel. It had been years since I had enjoyed potato skins, but couldn’t the bold flavors of pulled pork hold their own (sans cheese) when served in a potato dish? The answer was a resounding yes!
My batch of pulled pork made so much that we ended up enjoying the potato-pork combo for two full dinners. The first was with with potato boats (pictured below), and for the second I made potato planks (pictured above), read on for my reasoning.
We both loved the potato boats, but I did learn a thing or two. First off, scoop out the potato (reserving it for some yummy soup!), leaving only about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of flesh inside the skins. I left a bit too much of the white stuff on the first go around. Second, if your potatoes are greening, there is no need to throw in the towel. I had two boat-worthy potatoes, but the other two had to be peeled in order to get rid of that toxic greenish layer. So instead of boats, I sliced the peeled potatoes lengthwise (to about 1/4-inch thickness) and made potato planks! My husband actually preferred the planks, but I was quite impartial. The planks were roasted and awesome, but those skins are my favorite part of the whole potato! Either way, delish!
Pulled Pork Potato Boats or Planks
This recipe is Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, and Egg-Free, and it can be Gluten-Free / Grain-Free, and Soy-Free. Though this recipe veres sharply into omnivorous territory, I invite all vegans and vegetarians to use the potato plank idea as a base for your favorite topper … they really are yummy!
- 2 Large Baking Potatoes (I used Russets)
- 1 Tablespoon Olive or Grapeseed Oil
- 1 Large Garlic Clove, crushed (about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of the jarred stuff)
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
- Pulled Pork (your favorite recipe or my easy recipe below)
- Sliced Black Olives, to garnish
For the Boats:
Bake the potatoes in the oven or microwave, if you are in a hurry. Scoop out the white flesh, leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch of the white stuff (reserve the flesh for another recipe, such as soup or mashed potatoes).
This step is optional for the boats: Combine the oil and garlic in a small dish. Brush the tops and insides of the boats with the oil-garlic mixture. Sprinkle the boats with salt. Place the potatoes in the oven, and broil for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until the boats just begin to brown.
Fill the boats with the pulled pork and top each boat with the sliced olives. If desired, return the boats to the oven and broil them for a minute or two.
On the first go around, we simply scooped out the potato flesh, piled the pork in, and ate. But after trying the roasted potato planks, I think giving the skins a quick roast is a good optional step to seal in some flavor.
For the Planks:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Peel your potatoes, if desired or required. Slice the potatoes lengthwise, so they are about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in width. You should end up with about 6 or so long, flat “planks.”
Place the potatoes on a baking sheet. Combine the oil and garlic, and brush them on the tops and bottoms of your planks. Sprinkle the tops of the the planks with salt.
Bake the potatoes for 15 minutes, flip, and return them to the oven for another 15 minutes. They should just lightly start to brown on both sides.
Top the planks with the pulled pork and garnish with sliced olives. Return them to the oven and continue to bake, or broil, for just a few minutes to make sure everything is heated through and crisped up to your liking.
Yields 2 meal-sized servings or 4 appetizer servings
Easy Crockpot Pulled Pork
- 1-3/4 to 2 lbs Boneless Pork Loin
- 1 Small to Medium Onion (sweet white or yellow), sliced into small wedges
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce (Lea & Perrins is GF in the U.S., and I believe Edward & Sons is GF)
- 1 Quart (4 cups) Chicken Broth
- 1 Bottle of Your Favorite Barbecue Sauce (I used an 18-ouncer; choose your BBQ sauce wisely if you have free-from needs)
Place the pork in your slow cooker. Sprinkle the onions over top, and drizzle on the Worcestershire. Pour in the chicken broth, and add enough water to cover the pork.
Set that baby on low for 8 hours. (I actually left mine for 10, and it was tender and delicious).
Remove the pork from the crockpot and shred it using two forks. Remove the liquid from the crockpot (I reserved mine for use as a broth in other recipes), and return the shredded pork to the crockpot. Pour in the barbecue sauce and stir until it is well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Note: I hate recipes that don’t tell you how much salt and pepper, but in this case, it really depends on the barbecue sauce you are using. I added 1/4 teaspoon of salt, but next time would increase it a touch and use a bit more fresh ground pepper.
Leave the slow cooker on low or warm, and allow the pork to cook with the sauce for another hour. Your pork is ready!
Yields way more pork than you need for a batch of these jumbo boats …
Want another creative way to enjoy pulled pork? I spotted these pulled pork tamales over at Healthy Delicious.
Do you have any other foodie ideas for serving pulled pork? Or what about another topping idea for those potatoes?