Wednesday, November 27, 2013

1 (pack of meat) +1 (afternoon cooking) +1 (weeks time) = 3 (totally different meals)

So I know I have mentioned that I am a fan of leftovers.
Buuuut, that doesn't mean it has to be the same exact meal.
I am also a fan of transforming the same meat into different meals.
So last Sunday, I put one large package of boneless pork ribs into my slow cooker, and ate off of them for the whole week.

The awesome part about it is that I had 3 different dinners, that definitely didn't lack variety....and I didn't have to spend an hour cooking each night.

Night one we had BBQ Ribs! I served them with a veggie rice and roasted spicy ranch potatoes.

Night 2-4 we had BBQ Pork Pretzel Bun Sandwiches! I topped them with my favorite Homemade French Fried Onions and served with oven tater tots.

Night 5-7 we had Carnitas-style Pork Tacos. Didn't have a side, but would be great with Mexican rice and black beans.

So here is the trick to start with:
Both the BBQ ribs and BBQ shredded pork have a lot of the same seasonings as the Carnitas-style pork. That is how you want to season the ribs for the slow cooker.

Start by making a quick dry rub. (I use this same rub for roast turkey or chicken, steaks, pork chops
 and so much more)

You will want equal parts (depending on the amount of meat, try about 1 tbsp.)
garlic powder
onion powder
kosher salt
brown sugar
And then, you will want half as much of each of these seasonings (so about 1/2 tbsp.)
cayenne pepper
red pepper flakes
black pepper

Mix all spices and rub into or sprinkle over all sides of ribs.)

Add to your slow cooker, and then cover with the following liquid:
add about 2 tablespoons of powdered BBQ seasoning (I used a packet of McCormick Texas BBQ Rub) to about 2 cups broth, either beef or chicken.

 Now, cover your slow cooker and cook on high for about 4 hours, or on low for about 6-8 hours.

*Make sure and check the meat at about 3 or so hours (on high). The trick is to take out the ribs that you are going to use for BBQ ribs before the rest of the meat. You want them to be tender, but not falling apart. Once the ribs reach that point you want to pull them. Leave the rest of the meat for another hour or so until they are falling apart. At that point remove the rest of the meat and shred as soon as it is cool enough.

For the BBQ Rib meal:
Take the ribs you took out first and lay on a foil lined baking sheet.  Baste with BBQ sauce and sprinkle with powered BBQ seasoning. Put under the broiler for 5-10 minutes on each side, until heated through and starts to caramelize on the edges. Serve with your choice of sides and dig in.

For the BBQ Pork Pretzel Bun Sandwich meal:
Take half of the remaining shredded meat and mix with a couple tablespoons of the powdered BBQ seasoning and a couple tablespoons of BBQ sauce. Heat through and serve on toasted pretzel bun. Top with homemade french fried onions and serve with some oven fries. Simple but so delish.

For the Carnitas-style Pork Taco meal:

Take the rest of the shredded pork and season with a couple tablespoons of cumin, a tablespoon of onion powder and about a half tablespoon of paprika and a teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Feel free to add some packaged taco seasoning if you like but definitely add extra cumin.  Heat in a saute pan and serve on your favorite tortilla (I love the Mission brand artisan blend that is half flour/half corn tortilla). Top with fresh chopped onion,  lettuce, tomato,  cilantro, hot sauce or salsa and a squeeze of lime if you like. Serve on their own or with some Mexican rice and black beans. Yum.

So there it is. 1 package of ribs in your slow cooker, plus 1 afternoon cooking, plus 1 weeks time...and you have 3 different meals. Now that is what I call yummy leftovers. 


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