January 4, 2011

Bowl Week: BBQ Bites

Going to an ACC school (go Hokies) nothing screams "tailgate" like putting a lil' South in yo' mouth! And in honor of Bowl Week, we want to assure you that party food doesn't always has to be fancy-shmancy. I mean, aren't tailgates meant to be messy and delicious?

We're firm believers in keeping with simple and affordable…well, most of the time! That's why we're bringing you a fun lil' hors devours recipe that mixes down home flavor with uptown flair – we call em’ BBQ Bites. Basically, it is a yummy and juicy recipe for traditional Southern pulled pork that we stole from our mama’s kitchen. It takes about 10 minutes to prepare and 4-6 hours to cook in the Crock-Pot (yes, the 1980's slow cooking style is back in trend!) before it’s ready for the grubbin’.

Though its meant to be overstuffed on a sesame seed bun (oh my!), the below recipe has been given a touch of city-flare that we assure will keep your guests wanting more. So, what are we waiting for, let's get to cookin'...


  • 1 2-1/2- to 3-pound pork sirloin roast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 2 medium onions, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 cup root beer
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups root beer (two 12-ounce cans or bottles)
  • 1 cup bottled chili sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon root beer concentrate (optional)
  • Several dashes bottled hot pepper sauce (optional)

1. Trim fat from meat. If necessary, cut roast to fit into a 3-1/2- to 5-quart crockery cooker. Sprinkle meat with the salt and pepper. In a large skillet brown meat on all sides in hot oil. Drain off fat. Transfer meat to cooker. Add onions, the 1 cup root beer, and garlic.

2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.

3. Meanwhile, for sauce, in a medium saucepan combine the 3 cups of root beer and the chili sauce. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Boil gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes or until mixture is reduced to 2 cups. Add root beer concentrate and bottled hot pepper sauce, if desired.

4. Transfer roast to a cutting board or serving platter. Using a slotted spoon, remove onions from cooking juices and place on serving platter. Discard juices. Using 2 forks, pull meat apart into shreds. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

About 20 minutes before your guests arrive, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then, take a standard sourdough baguette (or two) and cut it into half-inch thick slices. Lay the bread slices flat on a baking sheet, brush with a tiny bit of olive oil and bake for about 5-7 minutes until lightly toasted. Once your bread bites are ready, place them on a platter and put a biteful of pulled pork on top. Spoon on sauce. Finish it with a small dollop of fresh cole slaw and some fresh ground pepper to taste. If you desire, you can add a dot or two of BBQ sauce, but I prefer it without. Yummmmmm!!

Suggested Wine Pairing? Yes, please!

Because our bites have a bite of BBQ, it may be best to pair with a spicier red wine (just my two cents - afterall wine is subjective!) One of our all-time favs is the Darioush Signature Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley – but it will certainly make up where your cheapy appetizer left off. A bottle will set you back about $80, but is well worth it for a special occasion. If you are looking for something that won’t break the bank, go for a Chianti Classico like Ruffino Riserva Ducale ($24).