Barbecue is a summer favorite, and I am fortunate to be married to a fantastic barbecue chef. Bond's pulled pork and smoked chickens are truly delicious, but they're reserved for weekend dinners because monitoring the smoker and cooking the meats to tender perfection take hours.
This week, I'm sharing a weekday alternative - in both cooking method and flavor - to my husband's slow-smoked Southern barbecue with my Asian barbecue. It's a delicious entree that cooks up unattended in your slow cooker.
I came up with the idea when I purchased a whole pork loin on sale at a local supermarket. I cut the big, 5-pound loin in half and served it one evening roasted with a rub of crushed garlic, olive oil and rosemary. I froze the other half and toyed with the Asian barbecue the following week, using ingredients I had on hand.
Cubes of the lean pork loin were mixed with lemon-pepper seasoning for zesty flavor, and then combined with prepared hoisin sauce, ketchup, honey and garlic. The barbecue simmered all day until it was tender enough to shred with a fork.
Tortillas seemed the perfect alternative to buns for Asian barbecue sandwiches, making this a sort of moo shu Asian burrito. A quick Asian slaw flavored with soy sauce, ginger and pineapple is a crisp accompaniment.
Look for hoisin sauce in the Asian food aisle at your favorite supermarket. There are usually two or three brands available. The Iron Chef and Kikkoman brand hoisin sauces are new to the market, and both are more flavorful than the traditional Chinese sauces they sit beside.
Most of us use our slow cookers for hearty stews in the winter, but it's the perfect summer appliance because it doesn't heat up the kitchen. Toss in a few ingredients, cover and turn your cooker to low while you're at work, or by the pool with the children.
Crockpot chicken fajitas, beef carne and pork carnitas are some of the tortilla-wrapped slow cooker entree recipes you can find by visiting www.augustachronicle.com/karin. Other summer-style entrees on the site include crockpot barbecued chicken, party picnic chicken, crockpot jambalaya and sweet and sour meatballs.
1 16-ounce bag shredded cabbage and carrots for coleslaw*
1 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise**
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon ginger puree or grated fresh ginger
3 green onions, chopped
1 cup diced fresh pineapple or 1 5-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
Combine all slaw ingredients in a large bowl or large plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. Stir well, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes enough to top 10 Asian barbecue tortilla sandwiches.
*Fresh Express 3-Color Deli Coleslaw was used for testing purposes.
**Hellman's Just 2 Good reduced-fat mayonnaise was used for testing purposes.
***Iron Chef Mu-Shu Hoisin Sauce was used for testing purposes.
Nutrition information per /10 of slaw recipe: 64 calories, 3 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram protein, 9 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 375 milligrams sodium.
2 pounds pork loin, fat removed, cut into 1-inch cubes1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
1 cup hoisin sauce***
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
1 package fat-free flour tortillas (10 medium tortillas)
Asian slaw, for serving, optional
Spray ceramic vessel of a slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Add the pork cubes and sprinkle with the lemon-pepper seasoning. Stir in the hoisin sauce, ketchup, honey and garlic.
Cover and cook for 4 to 6 hours on high or for 6 to 8 hours on low. When the meat is tender, remove from cooker and cool slightly on a plate or cutting board. Shred meat by pulling pieces apart with two forks. Return to cooker to heat through. Serve on the flour tortillas, topped with some of the Asian slaw, if desired.
Makes 10 sandwiches.
Nutrition information: 362 calories, 9 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 67 milligrams cholesterol, 30 grams protein, 41 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 810 milligrams sodium.
Nutrition analysis provided by Michelle Baglio, a licensed and registered dietitian of the Augusta District Dietetic Association.
COMING JUNE 23: Joyce Van Ells' chocolate cake is extra moist because of an ingredient - canned cherry pie filling. It's the perfect portable dessert for summer get-togethers.
See Karin prepare the recipe at noon Tuesday on WJBF-TV (Channel 6).
Write to Karin Calloway in care of The Augusta Chronicle Newsroom, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903. Or send e-mail to email@example.com. You can find previous Quick Cooking recipes through the online archive at AugustaChronicle.com/karin.