OK so it’s not ribs….
One of my step mom’s favorite dishes is pork baby back ribs with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes…who’s isn’t? I wanted to revisit this meal with a little twist. My take on this classic dish was a slow cooked pork butt served up on a cauliflower mash and a cabbage and apple slaw. All perfect flavor contenders for this dish. The smokey pork with tangy and sweet slaw pair so well together. I like the addition of the creamy cauliflower mash to make it one cohesive dish.
The ingredients used for this meal are inexpensive and I was also able to use them for multiple meals afterwards. I love dishes that are budget friendly, purposeful, and most of all, TASTY.
What I did…
- About 2 lbs Pork Butt
- Dry rub (adobo powder, garlic powder, dried chopped onion, sea salt, chili powder, smoked paprika)
- Olive Oil
Making the pork is super simple. I bought about a 2 lb piece of meat. It was perfect for my husband and I with enough leftovers for two more nights.
I preheated a cast iron skillet on medium heat. While I heated the pan, I pat dry my pork butt with paper towel and then lightly coated the pork with olive oil and sea salt. I like to use sea salt with meat because I just personally think it’s more flavorful and a little goes a long way. For this dish, I omitted using pepper for the meat because my husband doesn’t eat a lot of pepper. Use it if you want! Meat loves salt and pepper.
I combined my spices in a small bowl and generously rubbed them all over the pork. You can let this marinade if you wish or just start working with what ya got! I added the coated pork to the hot cast iron and simply browned all over until it was nice and golden. After it was brown and delicious on all sides, I put the meat directly into the slow cooker, added a bay leaf and just about 1/4c-1/2c of chicken stock.
While the meat rest for a few mins in the slow cooker, I took my cast iron skillet off the heat and added a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to really scrape up the yummy bits from the pan.
As I scraped, I added a few splashes of chicken stock as well to loosen the deliciousness up from the bottom of the pan, constantly whisking or scraping with a wooden spoon. Pour the cider/stock liquid over your pork butt. This added such a depth of flavor to the dish. I love the apple cider vinegar for this because it’s slightly sweet and pork loves it’s apples!
Set your crockpot to low for 8 hours and let that baby simmer. Every two hours I ever so slightly lifted the lid (a big no no for slow cooking…but I don’t like to follow rules…) and quickly spooned the juices over the pork. Close the lid and pretend like you never did this!
Every time you open the slow cooker lid, heat is released and really plays into the cooking time of your dish. Opening the lid is frowned upon in cooking land.
After the 8 hours, I took out the pork ( you can leave and shred in the crock pot if you wish) and shredded the meat on a cutting board.
I didn’t want to release too much heat which is why I took out the pork to shred. The meat was so tender and juicy I barely had to touch it.
I placed it back into the pot, turned the dial to warm and let the pork sit in all its wonderful smokey juice goodness while I prepared my cauli mash and slaw. You will love this dish, if not for the FLAVOR but for the incredible smells it leaves in your house all day. Your neighbors will be knocking on your door, sorry.
Do the Monster Mash
Instead of the typical potato, I wanted to make a cauliflower cake for the pork to sit on and soak up allllllllll the good things it drips. But, I got lazy and proceeded with mashed cauliflower. Also amazing and did just great for pork. I don’t mind when all my food touches so I loved the creaminess of the mashed cauliflower with the smokey pork and tangy slaw. All great flavor profiles in ONE bite, yes please.
For the cauliflower
I just cut it into florets
Steamed it in salted boiling water until tender
Drained the water and returned it to the pot
Added butter, some heated chicken stock (or just water)
Mashed it all up with a little more salt and some fresh minced garlic.
I like fresh garlic because it adds a bit more bite and a little spice rather then the sweetness when you roast or sautee it.
You can also just blend all this in a blender for your arms sake.
The Final Component
Pork loves cabbage and it loves apples, therefore…cabbage and apple slaw.
A great play on for the classic pork, sauerkraut and applesauce. This is a light addition that is not light in flavor AND taste good on anything.
For the slaw dressing, honestly, I just winged it.
For the slaw, I took a 1/4 of red cabbage and a 1/4 of green cabbage and thinly sliced.
You can buy prepackaged slaw but the heads of cabbage are so inexpensive and stay fresh for a long time in the fridge when properly stored or are great for future dishes
…so just get the whole heads!
I also thinly sliced a whole green apple and a little less then 1/4 of a red onion
In a mason jar with a lid, I combined
a table spoon of Mayo
Teaspoon of Sugar
Apple Cider Vinegar
I shook all these babies together and tossed the dressing with the slaw I prepared.
I let the dressing and slaw marinade in the fridge for about 20 mins to soften the cabbage a bit and blend the flavors together.
Set the table, sip some wine, and get those salivary glands going.