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Pulled Pork: First Attempt & Porky Black Beans

I know, I know, I’m a horrible person. The last few weeks have been crap and I haven’t made anything particularly new or tasty, but have no fear – I’m back! I’m back and I’ve been working my butt off trying to eat healthier and exercise harder than I ever have before (despite my hatred for beans and the demon-beast that is fibromyalgia).
Alas, I am the proud new owner of the Omron HBF-306C Fat Loss Monitor… or as I like to call him, the Day-Ruiner Plus! You can get the little guy here. I will share my numbers when they well.. stop ruining my day. One step at a time!
I’ve also downloaded a fantastic app called Move that helps keep me active at my desk job and has also inspired me to walk home from work as often as possible (the sunshine definitely helps). Note: The link for Move is for the iOS App Store, if you find it for Android please let me know!

Daytime Exercise Hint: Sit at a desk all day? I’ve been playing a new game at work, and it is way harder than it sounds! The rules? Try to keep your feet at least 3″ off the ground for as long as possible. Bend your knees, point your toes, do whatever you want, just keep those feet off the ground! Yep, that’s it. Time yourself and see how much you can improve in a week.

I digress, let’s focus on some meat. Last weekend I placed my first online grocery purchase at FreshDirect (sorry Whole Foods, I love you, but I just can’t afford you). So I ordered pork shoulder butt from FreshDirect for $2.49/pound… and now I have almost 9lbs of pork in the fridge, so today will be my first attempt at crock pot pulled/shredded pork (whichever comes first) and also my first attempt at doing anything with black beans in my own kitchen, as I only started eating them about 36 hours ago – thanks Qdoba*.

Okay… PULLED PORK: FIRST ATTEMPT RECIPE & Porky Black Beans

Ingredients:
– 1 large onion, thinly sliced (I am using a giant red onion, but yellow would be good too)
– 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, quartered and sliced thin
– 1 tbsp. minced garlic
– 1 cup Rachael Ray’s or other sugar-free chicken stock
– 5 lbs. pork shoulder butt, twine/netting removed
– 1 packet Stevia (optional)
– 1 can black beans, strained and rinsed

Seasoning:
– 1 tbsp. Salt (or more)
– 2 tsp. White Pepper
– 1 tbsp. Chili Powder
– 1 tsp. Hungarian Paprika (optional)

Combine onions and garlic in the bottom of the crock pot. I cut my onion really small and the pieces kind of got lost in the pot, so I would recommend just cutting the onion in half then thinly slicing the half-moon shapes and not cutting any smaller.

Rinse meat with cold water and pat dry. You want to leave most of the fat on, but I tend to cut off some of the scarier looking really thick pieces (I don’t know why, you don’t need to do this if you don’t want to). You are going to need a really big/sharp knife. Cut the meat into large chunks, they do not need to be uniform in shape OR size – if you have a really large slow cooker, you can leave the piece whole, I just find cutting it up means I can fit more and it also makes later steps a bit easier. Add porky chunks of deliciousness to the crock pot.

Season meat with salt, pepper, chili powder, and paprika. Add 1 cup of chicken stock to the pot. Mix as much as you can without making a mess, just try to get the meat evenly coated with seasoning and stock. Cover with lid and cook on high for 6-8 hours (low for 10-12 hours), stirring occasionally. If you are planning on cooking on “low” or leaving this on overnight, you may want to add another 1/4 cup or so of stock just to make sure there is enough liquid to keep the meat tender. Nobody likes dry pork.

When the meat is tender and forkable (kind of like my Short Ribs recipe): Using tongs or a slotted spoon, remove as much of the meat/onions/peppers from the crock pot as you can (leave liquid in the pot) and place in a large scratch-resistant bowl or other deep container. Using two forks, shred or pull apart the meat until it all looks the same. Add the crock pot liquid to the shredded meat, one spoonful at a time – just enough to moisten the pork, do not add it all back. Season with salt to taste/as needed.

up close & personal
up close & personal

Assuming you have not discovered a tasty, sugar/gluten/dairy-free barbecue sauce, add some Hellman’s Real Mayo and Cholula. Life is good.

For the beans: Strain and rinse a can of black beans and transfer to a medium-sized pot. Add about 3/4 cup of the liquid from the slow cooker to the pot of beans and heat on medium-high for 7-10 minutes or cook to your personal preferences. Add salt and white pepper to taste.

pork and beans

Enjoy!

*Qdoba is seriously great for the slow carb diet. Today for lunch at work I had a no-rice naked burrito (no tortilla) with black beans, slow-roasted pork, lettuce, fajita peppers + onions, habanero salsa, and guacamole. I may have added the sprinkle of cheese, but come on, who can really resist cheese on a burrito? So, 43g of protein and I ate the whole damn thing.

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