Apple-Pumpkin Pulled Pork

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Now that Halloween and Thanksgiving have come and gone and the holidays are on the horizon, I know there’s one thing on everybody’s mind – how much you miss pumpkin.

From pies and soups to beers and spiced lattes, it seems like pumpkins get the short end of the stick when it comes to being in vogue. They are relegated to September, October and November when they have so much more offer us! Luckily, this dish is the perfect antidote to your pumpkin woes.

This dish is an autumnal twist on classic, backyard barbecue pulled pork. The apple cider, pumpkin and spices are more subtle and multidimensional than the traditional, wrecking ball-style barbecue soaking that pulled pork receives. Meanwhile, the Brussels Sprout slaw is crunchy and earthy, providing the perfect interlude between bites of meat. Together

Just because fall has passed and the doldrums of winter are here doesn’t mean you have to abandon your favorite flavors. This hearty sandwich will keep you warm and full all through the holidays!

Apple-Pumpkin Pulled Pork (serves 8)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 3 pounds of boneless pork shoulder, fat trimmed away
  • 1 onion
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 8 oz. pumpkin purée
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 1/4  cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 1/2 cups of Brussels sprouts, shredded
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine the garlic powder, salt, pepper and chili powder in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Rub the spice blend over the pork and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeño, pumpkin purée, dark rum, apple cider, apple cider vinegar, thyme, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice together in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  3. Heat a large, deep skillet to high. Add 3 tablespoons of butter to the pan and sear each side of the pork for 1-2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and pour the apple-pumpkin blend into the skillet. Cover the skillet and continue to cook on low for at least two hours, preferably three or four.
  4. Remove the pork shoulder from the skillet and shred using two forks. Add the meat back into the skillet and continue to cook on low for another 20-30 minutes.
  5. Heat another skillet to medium high and add 2 tablespoons of butter. Season the shredded Brussels sprouts with salt and pepper and saute until they begin to get browned and crispy, about 5-7 minutes.
  6. At this point you can serve up the pulled pork on a sandwich with the Brussels sprouts slaw, but I recommend going the extra mile and pan searing the pulled pork (as pictured). Heat a skillet to high and throw down a little butter or olive oil. Form a patty of pulled pork and cook in the skillet for about 2-3 minutes on each side, until the edges begin to get blacked and crispy.
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