Tuesday, March 11, 2014
By ELLISE PIERCE McClatchy Newspapers
Are you ready for some football?
Pulled-pork sliders with sweet jalapeno-spiked pickles should keep football watchers pleasantly filled for even extra-long games.
Ice cream sandwiches will score with fans of any team.
The college and pro seasons are now fully engaged, with multiple entry points for TV viewers on any given weekend day or night.
Which means putting out a game-day spread that's easy to make ahead of time so you get to the more serious business of the day -- face painting, coordinating matching outfits in team colors with your mate and, if you live in Texas as I do, placing bets on how many times Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will say "Super Bowl" in his pre- and post-game interviews.
Admittedly, I never watched much football in America or paid much attention to the football games when I lived in France, either -- and by football, of course, I mean soccer, a game that has always seemed more interesting to me simply because of the outfits -- so I'm a little in the dark on the game specifics no matter where I am.
I don't claim to know much about football, but I love the idea of a party, no matter what the occasion.
Melty cheese dip and tortilla chips are fine -- and I've certainly eaten plenty -- but to celebrate this year's football season, I wanted to come up with a menu that was a bit more meaty, yet as simple to prepare as a microwavable dip. Or just about.
So I thought: pulled-pork sliders, little barbecue-ish sandwiches with sweet jalapeno-spiked pickles, and a bacon-potato salad that's a lot like one my mom used to make. Food that's as filling as you want it to be, because those games can go on (and on).
Plus a dessert that's fun and not fussy: ice cream sandwiches -- easy to make and even easier to eat.
With a spread like this, I could surely become a football fan. Anywhere in the world.
Is it time for kickoff yet?
Makes: 15 to 20 sliders
A super-easy and inexpensive recipe that you put together the day before the big game.
For the sliders:
1 heaping teaspoon ground mustard
1 heaping teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3½ pounds pork shoulder
15 to 20 small buns or rolls
Sweet jalapeno-spiked pickles (recipe follows)
For the sauce:
1 cup ketchup
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 large clove garlic, minced
A few dashes Worcestershire sauce
A big pinch cayenne
1. Mix ground mustard, smoked paprika, salt, pepper and brown sugar in a bowl, then press all over the pork shoulder and place in a glass baking dish. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or two, or overnight.
2. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Cook pork for 4 to 5 hours, or until the pork is tender and pulls apart easily. While the pork is still warm, shred it with a fork.
3. Make the barbecue sauce: Put all ingredients in a saucepan and let cook for 10 minutes, stirring until all of the sugar has dissolved. Pour some of the sauce over the shredded pork and toss until well covered.
To serve, fill the slider buns with pork and top with sweet jalapeno-spiked pickles.
Serve the rest of the sauce on the side.
Note: If you've made this in advance, to reheat the meat, simply place in a glass dish, cover with foil and warm through in a 200-degree oven for 30 minutes or so.
SWEET JALAPENO-SPIKED PICKLES
Makes: About 18 ounces
1 (16-ounce) jar dill pickle slices, drained
2 heaping tablespoons pickled and chopped jalapenos, with about 1 cup of the juice from the jar
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click image to enlarge
A bacon-potato salad goes great with football, too.