Smoked Porter and Chipotle Braised Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Cabbage Slaw
Before moving to Brooklyn, I threw a dinner party for a few close friends at my house in San Diego. In an effort to clean out the cellar, multiple bottles were opened and beer freely flowed. Someone even made Nutella crepes which paired beautifully with the bourbon barrel stouts. The night was going well.
Then we opened Stone’s Punishment Ale, a bourbon barrel aged version of Double Bastard with peppers released in 2013.
If you’ve never tried Stone’s Crime or Punishment Ales, here’s the list of peppers included in the brew: Yellow & Red 7 Pot, Yellow & Red 7 Pot Douglah, 7 Pot Jonah, Red Scorpion, Black Naga, Green & Red Jalapeño, Red & Peach Moruga Scorpion, Chocolate Douglah, Ghost, Giant White Habanero, Habanero, Caribbean Red Hot, Fatali, Peach Ghost Scorpion, Yellow Moruga and various other hybrids. For fun, here’s a video of Stone employee reactions to the beer.
As the videos show, holy spiciness! We knew it would be extra hot, but this was something else!! So then came the second best idea of the night: beer shots. We slowly worked our way through 500ml of capsaicin potent ale, mouths numbing in the process. It certainly made for one memorable dinner party (and was slightly classier than that one time in college I convinced a drunk friend to do hot sauce shots at the taco shop).
While Stone’s Punishment Ale may no longer be available, they also make a Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers that’s phenomenal (and much more drinkable). It’s the perfect balance of campfire and heat carried by a smooth bodied, robust porter base. It’s also the beer that inspired the recipe below after I picked up a bottle last weekend. As it turns out, smoked porter and chipotle peppers go incredibly well together, whether in a beer, or a sauce used to braised pork shoulder. Kind of like good beer and close friends. Or Nutella crepes and a Stout.
Active Time: 20 to 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 to 5 hours (slow cookers work marvels)
Servings: 8 to 10 sandwiches
4 pound boneless pork shoulder (5 to 6 pound if bone-in)
4 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup diced white onion
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 chipotles from a jar of chipotles in adobo, seeds removed, chopped
adobo sauce from a jar of chipotles in adobo
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chile powder of your choice
1 pinch ground coriander
12 ounces smoked porter (or rauchbier)
15 ounces tomato sauce
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
salt and pepper
1 cup thinly sliced green cabbage
2 carrots finely julienned or shredded
freshly chopped cilantro to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Generously season pork with salt and pepper on all sides.
Add oil to a large dutch oven set over medium-high heat. When oil begins to shimmer slightly, add meat. Sear each side, turning only when one side is browned and its the next side’s turn. Once all sides are browned, remove pork and set aside.
Pour off any oil in excess of 2 tablespoons. Add onion and sauté until translucent; add garlic, chipotles, and spices; cook until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Deglaze with beer, using a wooden spoon to scrape any brown bits that are stuck to the bottom of the dutch oven; simmer 5 minutes.
Add tomato sauce, bay leaves, and as much adobo sauce as possible. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer; return pork to dutch oven. Pork should be at least half-submerged in liquid; add additional water (or beer), if needed. Cover with a lid and cook over low heat for about 3 hours (bone-in will take a bit longer). Leave undisturbed for the first 2 hours. After that time, check every half hour or so until done. Pork is ready when tender and falling apart. Alternatively, place covered dutch oven in a 350ºF for same amount of time, or transfer to a slow cooker set to low and cook for 6 to 8 hours.
Remove pork from cooking liquid and place in a large mixing bowl until cool enough to handle.
While pork rests, increase heat to medium. Add vinegar and brown sugar to cooking liquid; simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl and reserve.
When pork is cool enough to handle, use two forks or clean hands to shred into pieces.
Add sauce, 1/4 cup or less at a time, to pulled pork until desired sauce level is reached. Transfer remaining sauce to a small bowl to serve with sandwiches (or cover and store in the refrigerator for later use with any recipe calling for bbq sauce).
Whisk together sugar, salt, and cilantro in a medium bowl. Add cabbage, carrots, and cilantro. Toss to coat. Let stand 20 minutes before serving.
Toast buns under a broiler or on a grill pan, if desired. Coat the top of the bottom bun with a thin layer of mayonnaise. This will act as a barrier to the sauced pull pork to help prevent a soggy sandwich. Pile high with pulled pork. Top with slaw. Serve with a Vienna Lager, Smoked Helles, or an IPA.