Friday, August 30, 2013

Chipotle Cherry BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Cherry-Corn Relish

I can't believe that Labor Day weekend is upon us already! That means it's almost my favorite time of year -- fall. Even though autumn won't officially be arriving for three weeks, to me, Labor Day always heralds the beginning of my favorite season.

The produce this summer has been absolutely fantastic, and I'm really going to miss summer's bounty as cooler temperatures arrive. So, today, on what is to me one of the last days of summer, I thought I'd share a recipe that celebrates the best of the season -- cherries and sweet corn. And it's a crave-worthy one.

Since I made the peach BBQ sauce last month, I've been dying to make another fruit-infused BBQ sauce. I decided to use cherries this time around, since they're so readily available. I paired the sauce with tender shredded pork and a quick sweet-tangy-spicy relish composed of cherries, sweet corn, jalapenos, and a bit of lime juice. 

These sandwiches are phenomenal. The chipotle cherry BBQ sauce is sweet, spicy, and smoky, and the juicy pork pairs perfectly with the crisp relish. The flavors are just awesome. Joe raved about these sandwiches, and the boys both gave them two thumbs up -- and even requested the leftovers for lunch the next day. These sandwiches definitely celebrate the best of summer, and they'd be perfect for your Labor Day celebrations this weekend.

I'm including my recipe for the pulled pork, because I loved the flavor and texture of it prepared this way. But feel free to use any shredded pork recipe you like.

Chipotle Cherry BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Cherry-Corn Relish
sauce adapted from Tasty Kitchen

For the pork:

2 pounds pork tenderloin
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3 sprigs thyme leaves
2 whole cloves garlic
1 cup chicken stock

For the BBQ sauce:

4 strips bacon, diced
Half of a white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup ketchup
1 1/2 cups fresh cherries, pitted, roughly chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons chipotle in adobo puree
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and black pepper to taste

For the cherry-corn relish:

3 ears sweet corn, kernels removed from the cob
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cherries
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste

For the sandwiches:

Hamburger buns

1. Place the pork in a Crock pot. Add salt, pepper, olive oil, and cider vinegar and rub the seasonings into the meat using your hands. Add thyme, garlic, and chicken stock. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or until the meat shreds easily with a fork. Remove the thyme leaves and drain the stock (I save it in the freezer for later use). 

2. To make the BBQ sauce, cook the bacon in a large, high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. When the bacon is nearly crisp, add the onion and cook until softened. Add the garlic cloves; cook and stir 30 seconds. Add the ketchup, cherries, brown sugar, maple syrup, chipotle in adobo puree, and Worcestershire sauce. Reduce the heat and simmer over medium-low until thickened, about 20 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt and black pepper to taste.

3. While the sauce is thickening, make the relish. Stir together the corn, cherries, and jalapeno in a small bowl. Add lime juice and salt and stir to combine.

4. Add the pork to the thickened BBQ sauce and mix gently to combine. Pile the pork on the bottom of a bun. Top with relish. Smear bun tops with mayonnaise, if desired.

1 comment:

Melanie @ Just Some Salt and Pepper said...

Pairing the corn with cherries sounds delicious. I need to try it!