This recipe was the result of an opportunity to create some recipes using New Belgium’s fine beer products. I was feeling creative and the result was a winner. A black ale-braised pork sandwich, with a mustardy slaw, pickles and Swiss cheese.
I’m not going to lie. This recipe is pretty involved. There are a lot of components to it. But it’s worth the effort.
I decided to use the 1554–New Belgium’s “Enlightened black ale” because of it’s toasty rich flavor. It made a flavorful braising liquid along with a little bit of stock and water.
Coat the pork in dry rub. You can use my method or you can use your own, or you can use store bought. Whatever floats your boat. I like to let the pork shoulder sit around for awhile with the rub on it–maybe an hour. You want the roast to come to room temperature before you cook it anyway.
Crank the oven to 450* and when the oven is hot and the pork is room temperature, pop it in on the middle rack and let it sear all over. I turned it a few times so it would get browned on the sides. Pour the beer, stock and water into the bottom of the roasting pan and turn the heat down to 275*.
Cover the pan with foil and let it cook for approximately 3 hours. Check it once or twice to make sure the liquid hasn’t all evaporated. The roast is done when you can stick a fork or tongs in it and pull it apart easily.
DISCLOSURE: I am a normal human being. Most days I have to work all day. There is no freaking way I could make this after work and be eating sandwiches by 7 pm. I think this recipe could be made start to finish on a weekend easily, roasting the pork in the morning and putting it together later. I however, split this up over a couple of days. It worked out well and I still ended up with a sandwich at a decent dinner hour.
SO, how I overcame the time and refrigeration issue. After braising the pork, I let it cool, placed it in a Dutch oven and refrigerated until tonight. After work, we got it out and let it sit to come up to room temperature. I then shredded it in kind of big pieces, then steamed it in a vegetable steamer basket inside the same Dutch oven. It warmed it up and kept the meat very juicy. Look at the photo below, doesn’t it look just divine?
Ok, so the pork is done. Now you need to deal with the other components. I knew that like the famous Cubano, I wanted some cheese and some pickles. But I also wanted something tangy…something with some texture. So like my other favorite pork sandwich, I decided on a slaw—but not your typical barbeque sandwich slaw.
As a foil for my braised pork, I decided the slaw needed to be super mustardy and tangy. I used Gulden’s spicy brown mustard as the base, with a splash of apple cider vinegar, a touch of mayo, a sprinkle of sugar and a hefty shake of celery seed. I love celery seed. I just learned it cures gout. Wow.
Finally, it is time to put these puppies together. I’ve got bollilo rolls there. You heard of those? They are Mexican in origin, but they are simply a terrific sandwich roll. Crusty enough but soft too. My Raley’s store had them, believe it or not–I thought I was going to have to go looking at the bakeries. You could use any roll or bread, but I think these bollilo rolls are the shizznit. You’ll need pickles too–Nana’s, yo momma’s, or store bought are fine.
So, on the bread goes meat and cheese. I seasoned the pork with salt and pepper when I put it on the roll. That’s just how I roll. Haha.
Smear a bit of butter on the top and bottom of the roll. Slap it into a hot pan. Then put another hot pan on top. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT press on the top hot pan with your hand. Because it burns. I found that out.
Instead, use a #2 can to weigh it down. Or a brick. Whatever. Let it get crispy on the bottom, then flip it over and repeat.
See how flat it gets?
NO YOU’RE NOT FINISHED YET.
Open up the sandwich and pile on some of that slaw and some pickles. A few slices of red or sweet white onion are good too.
NOW. You can finally eat this sucker.
It’s got everything people. Sweet. Sour. Savory. Crunchy. Soft.
I paired the sandwich with a nice cold Fat Tire from, duh, New Belgium. I actually bought a mixture 12-pack that had 4 different beers in it. That is a pretty smart idea for beginners.
Thanks to New Belgium for the inspiration. And thanks to YOU, Readers, for making all this worthwhile. Love ya!
Now go make this sandwich!