The Bad Mommy Cooks—North Carolina

img_4872Moving right along on our Cuisine Tour de USA. We’ve been taking turns cooking and last week it was my turn to cook again. I’m not gonna lie to you…after hubby’s brilliant execution of the bison burgers, I was a little nervous. ESPECIALLY after he suggested that we actually keep score in this challenge. Which, if you think about it isn’t fair at all. Besides the fact that he cooks better than I do, remember my family’s aversion to the Alabama meal? what happens to the person who pulls Alabama??? They’re going to lose points just because my family is that petty. It could be the most amazing meal in the world, but the “ewwww gross” factor that going to result from catfish showing up on our kids’ plates is insurmountable. And with my luck, I’m going to be the one who ends up cooking it.

Well, I realized I needed to bring my A-game just to pull even in this contest. And I lucked out last week—I pulled North Carolina. I felt the heavens singing. Our North Carolina meal was to be pulled pork sliders. One of the four or five meals I make well happens to be…pulled pork. In fact, pulled pork sandwiches and I are practically synonymous…ask my friends. Pulled pork and I go together like peanut butter and jelly. Like shampoo and conditioner. Like Bert and Ernie. Like hotdogs and mustard (I will not even speak to you if you put ketchup on your hotdogs). Like cornflakes and peanut butter sandwiches…wait, you don’t do that? Okay, maybe that’s just me, but you don’t know what you’re missing.

I was not nervous any more…well, not completely. The only thing that I needed to do was shake up the recipe a little to make it different from my usual pulled pork sandwiches. The first change was to use slider buns instead of kaiser rolls. My husband had serious doubts about this change as he stared at the tiny slider rolls.

“You can have more than one,” I told him.

“I guess,” he grumbled. “I really like the rolls, though.”

“Pretend they’re White Castles,” I told him. He perked up immediately.

My second change was to spice up the pork a bit. I always use an All Recipes recipe that I printed out a bazillion years ago. It’s a safe bet, but the meat doesn’t usually have much flavor until I drench it in BBQ sauce. This time, I added some Cayenne pepper and smoked paprika to the usual salt, pepper, paprika and red pepper flakes. And by some, I mean a ton…I accidentally dumped half the smoked paprika in there. Ooops. It definitely made the pork spicier and hotter—there was almost no need for BBQ sauce at all. But of course, I added it—a honey BBQ flavor. And I topped the sliders with coleslaw. They didn’t like the vinegar based coleslaw that’s common in the Carolinas, so I appeased them with my usual mayo based coleslaw. The family wolfed them down enthusiastically.

The only thing they did not share my enthusiasm for was the sweet potato fries that accompanied the dish. I love sweet potato fries—the frozen ones didn’t end up as crispy as I like them, but even if they had been, that would not have changed my family’s indifference toward them. (They’re not very adventurous sometimes 😦  )

I know you all were hoping I’d undercook the pork, burn the fries or use expired mayo in the coleslaw. None of that happened. We had a very boring, but delicious North Carolina. Maybe next time I’ll be able to entertain you with my normal cooking mishaps.

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