Guest Bloggers: The Hot Plate Girls Make Pulled Pork - Sweet Potato Chronicles - Sweet Potato Chronicles

Guest Bloggers: The Hot Plate Girls Make Pulled Pork

>How many con­tain­ers of Ramen noo­dles did you con­sume at uni­ver­sity? Or was bright orange mac and cheese more your poi­son? I ate more of both than I'd care to remem­ber dur­ing my time time at York U. None of that for April Engle­berg and Amanda Gar­butt (below, left and right), cre­ators of The Hot Plate, a bril­liant online cook­ing project that helps stu­dents gain con­fi­dence and skills in the kitchen ( This clever duo became a hit at McGill Uni­ver­sity and are now poised to take over the world with their fab­u­lous online tv show and a book com­ing out this fall.

Amanda is the niece of my friend Jane Gill, a PR whiz and mother of two teenage boys. When Jane men­tioned that Amanda was going to be mak­ing her son Henry's birth­day din­ner I asked if SPC could get in on the action. I don't think Jane and her hus­band Ben are ready for Henry to leave the nest quite yet but I'm sure they love that his cousin Amanda is pass­ing along some culi­nary skills. And now I'm pass­ing this over to Amanda and April.…

After a ter­rific move to Toronto from Mon­treal, The Hot Plate is ready to cook up a storm. And what bet­ter way to kick things off than with a birth­day bash for Amanda's newly fifteen-year-old cousin Henry. Henry’s adven­tur­ous eat­ing habits make him indis­pens­able to The Hot Plate’s test­ing process. We were thrilled to have him help Amanda cre­ate one of the recipes from the upcom­ing cook­book The Hot Plate: Get­ting Steamy in the Kitchen on a Bud­get.

As most par­ents have real­ized, kids are the tough­est crit­ics in the kitchen. While our expe­ri­ence is lim­ited to younger cousins and babysit­ting, we believe that half the bat­tle is get­ting the younger gen­er­a­tions involved in the cook­ing process. This way, they’ll be excited to gob­ble up the fruits of their labor.

We love our braised ver­sion of Pulled Pork for its sim­ple prep work. The ingre­di­ents only need to be coarsely chopped since they are strained out after the brais­ing time, and not using a BBQ makes it a safe activ­ity to get the kids involved in. Pulled pork is a deli­cious and messy meal that’ll have kids, par­ents and friends laugh­ing (undoubt­edly with their mouths full of smoky pulled pork).

Pulled Pork
Serves 4 (very generously)

There are a few secrets to our pulled pork recipe. First, use a “pic­nic cut,” “shoul­der” or “loin cen­ter roast.” They tend to be less expen­sive than pork shoul­der and need a bit less cook­ing time. You can braise the pork in the morn­ing; set it aside and 30 min­utes before serv­ing reheat with the reduced liquid.

6 lb pork (pic­nic roast or loin cen­ter roast), cut into 2-inch cubes
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large Span­ish onion, roughly chopped
1 large car­rot, roughly chopped
4 gar­lic cloves, bashed but left whole
1 tbsp chili pow­der
1 tbsp smoked paprika
½ tbsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne
½ can tomato paste
4 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup apple cider vine­gar
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
4 large Kaiser rolls
salt and pepper

Gar­nishes: chopped avo­cado, limes, jalapeno, halved cherry toma­toes and 1 cup crum­bled Greek feta


Sea­son pork with salt and pep­per. In a large pot heat 3 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smok­ing.  Sear the pork pieces in batches until golden brown on all sides, about 10 min­utes. Set the pork aside.
Add the onion, car­rot, gar­lic and stir until soft­ened and golden, about 6–8 min­utes. Add the spices and tomato paste, stir for 1 minute. Pour in the chicken stock. Add the pork. Bring to a boil then reduce to a sim­mer and cover for 3 – 3 ½ hours until pork is very ten­der.
Care­fully remove the pork pieces and allow them to cool slightly until they can be eas­ily shred­ded with two forks. Cover the meat with tin foil and set aside.
For the brais­ing liq­uid, strain the liq­uid into a new pot to remove all rem­nants of onion, car­rot and gar­lic.
Pre­heat oven to 350F. Mean­while, bring liq­uid to a boil and whisk in brown sugar, apple cider vine­gar and jalapeno. Con­tinue to whisk at a gen­tle boil until reduced by half.

Place pork in a cast iron pan or other oven­proof dish. Pour the reduced sauce over top and place into the oven until heated through, 20–30 min­utes. This can also be done stove­top over medium heat.
Divide the pork between buns and serve with extra sauce and gar­nishes on the side.


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