My name is Thomas Lott. I am a proud husband and father of two. Two of my favorite things are football and cooking. I'm no expert in either, but I certainly like to fool around with both. I’ve been a home cook for about 10 years, and been around football since I was 4 years old. This fall, perhaps I’ll find out which one I know better! So I'll be checking in periodically to make a pick - or picks (even I'm allowed a bye week here and there!). Again, I'm no expert, so please don’t go betting the mortgage on my humble picks! From that, I’ll make a dish that has something to do with the game - who I think will win, a star/key player, or other story line. Don’t worry - I’m a home cook so it won’t be anything you can’t do - I promise. I’m still learning so most of these will come from my stash of cookbooks or another recipe floating around the internet. I won’t pawn anything off as my own or pretend there’s some super-secret family recipe that I can't share. Most of these I will probably have made before, others might be an experiment. I hope all will go well, but some may go from stovetop right to the dumpster! I'll be sharing my successes, mishaps, and maybe even a few gratuitous shots of my crew of sous chefs and tasters :-)

I'm always a work in progress, so my food won't *always* be pretty (or healthy!), but it's going to taste good--and if it doesn't I'll tell you that, too. And just so you know, it's also a mathematical certainty that I'll whiff on some of my football picks, too. The whole point is to get better at both! So I hope you keep up with me this fall as I have some fun with the kitchen and the pigskin! I welcome all comments, suggestions, requests and discussions on all things pigskin and kitchen!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Week 2 - Pulled Pork

I hope everybody had a good opening week. More importantly I hope you aren’t college football’d out from all the Johnny Manziel talk. You can rest assured that this is a safe refuge where JF will never dominate the conversation! I have a 3 sentence maximum on that topic, which I have now reached. Moving on….

We’ve got two big games this week, #14 Notre Dame vs #17 Michigan, and #6 South Carolina vs #11 Georgia. I’ll start with Notre Dame/Michigan. College Gameday will be in Ann Arbor and it should be a great atmosphere. As far as the game itself, it will watch much like a Big Ten game…slow slow slow. I don’t expect the fireworks that we saw in Clemson last week. Brian Kelly is an outstanding coach, and while I don’t see them doing anything like 2012 this 2013 season, I like ND in this matchup. I have a feeling that Tommy Rees could build on his performance from last week. This is a tough pick because both played in a couple of cupcake wars last week that didn’t give us much information about either team. But I guess no game is really that revealing this early in the season because ranked teams in September can become middle of the road teams as the season wears on (see West Virginia 2012).

Speaking of not knowing much this early in the season, a second enticing game is Georgia/South Carolina – another SEC clash. Despite poor tackling and a suspect-looking defense, Georgia actually showed me some heart last week. I saw a graphic that I hadn’t been aware of – Aaron Murray is 1-8, well 1-9 now against ranked opponents. This week though, I think he comes out playing ball and UGA gets the win. Jadeveon Clowney had a real stinker last week and I don’t expect him to play like that again, but I’m taking Georgia. If you take him out of the picture, I just don’t find SC all that impressive and really quite average. Hopefully Georgia won’t do what they have always done and make me look foolish for picking them.

So we've got two slow teams from Big Ten Country, and we have another matchup in the South with Georgia and South Carolina. What can we make? I’m thinking let’s do some pulled pork with a bourbon barbecue sauce for the Georgia/South Carolina clash, and make it in the slow cooker, since Big Ten has some of the slowest football in the country! This recipe actually came from my favorite online recipe site: For the record, they have a great app as well. I’ve made this a couple times—once with chicken breasts actually—but today I’m using a boneless pork shoulder (BTW bone-in is the best option).

Bourbon Mango Pulled Pork
Start with two mangoes. Summer is ending so they seem to be getting harder and harder to find, but there are still some good ones out there. Pit the mangoes and drop the pits in the crock pot. Set the rest of the mango to the side.

Season your shoulder/roast with salt, pepper, and chipotle chili powder and drop it in the pot. Rub the seasonings in really well. You could even sear it before you put it in if you like. Place in the pot and add balsamic vinegar and water. Cover and cook for 5-8 hours. This will depend on the size of your pork and how your crockpot cooks. I used a 4 lb shoulder for this one.
**Random PSA: You might be wondering what's with the plastic bag in the crockpot. Reynolds makes crock pot liners that are absolute LIFE SAVERS. They're usually found by the plastic bags and wrap in the grocery store. Unfortunately, the most consistent place I've been able to find them is Walmart. But these things are worth even going to that wretched place! So pick them up - unless of course you like soaking and scrubbing your crockpot. And that's cool, too! **
Meanwhile, it's time to make the barbecue sauce. One of my favorite things about this recipe is you can really make it your own by how you construct your sauce.

Remember those mangoes we didn't throw away? Peel and chop them up into about 1" pieces. Throw away the peel and puree the mango in a blender or food processor until its pretty smooth. 

Any bourbon/whiskey will do. I use  this
Jim Beam Honey for cooking. Same with the BBQ:
Sweet Baby Ray's is my go to, but any sauce
would be just fine.

Pour the puree into a saucepan along with honey, chipotle powder, and bourbon. Simmer and reduce this mixture for about 10 minutes. As you stir frequently, it will get darker - reminiscant of a certain place in Austin.

Stir in the barbecue sauce. You can use any barbecue sauce you want, which will do different things to the overall flavor because of the mango and bourbon addition. I actually skipped the step of reducing the mango, and instead put everything in at once and let the sauce simmer for about 30 minutes. I found the mango flavor to be more noticeable in the sauce (as opposed to an, "I taste something sweet, but can't put my finger on it"). I'll do it this same way in the future. If you do it this way, just remember to stir because the sauce will thicken and stick.

After 5-8 hours take your pork out of the crock pot. If you're able to lift it out in one piece without it falling apart at all, you may want to leave it in a bit longer. Shred it with two forks on a cutting board. Again, if your roast is cooked right, this should take little to no effort.
Pour out the cooking liquid and the mango pits (they will be SCALDING hot). Put the shredded meat back into the pot with your new signature special recipe mango barbecue sauce. Stir together and cook for maybe an hour longer on HIGH, so the two can become better acquianted. You don't have to do this, but if you have the time - which if you're making something in a slow cooker I'm guessing you do - go for it!

Then when you're ready, do what you do with pulled pork! Use it for sandwiches, top on baked potatoes, serve over rice...I even had a pulled pork kolache this week at a local bakery. This is tasty stuff, and something you can experiment with to give it your own twist. Different bourbons - no bourbon at all, different bbq sauces, more honey/less honey, the possibilities are endless!

Enjoy the games and your pork this week!

Bourbon-Mango Pulled Pork
from Chef RuggerDucky

2 Mangoes
1 Pork Shoulder/Boston Butt Roast
2 Tbsp ground black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp chipotle chile powder
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
2 C water

1 tsp chipotle chile powder
2 tsp honey
1.5 oz bourbon whiskey
(2) 12 oz bottles bbq sauce of your choice

1) Peel the mangos and remove the pits. Place the pits into a slow cooker, then roughly chop the mango and set aside. Place the pork shoulder into the slow cooker, and season with the black pepper, kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon chipotle powder; pour in the balsamic vinegar and water 

2) Cover, and cook on Low 5 to 8 hours until the meat is very tender. Once done, drain the pork, discarding the cooking liquid and mango pits, and shred with two forks.

3) While the pork is cooking, puree the chopped mango in a blender until smooth, then pour into a saucepan along with the honey, 1 teaspoon chipotle powder, and whiskey. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring frequently until the mango has reduced and darkened slightly, about 10 minutes. Stir in the barbeque sauce, and remove from the heat.

4) Return the shredded pork to the slow cooker, and stir in the mango barbeque sauce. Cover, and cook on High 1 to 2 hours until the pork absorbs the barbeque sauce.




1 comment:

  1. Love your blog Thomas and I will share it with my hubby as he is the "pigskin chef" in our house too!! Can't wait to try some of these recipes! -Allison (Bohne) Todd ;)