I have three go to recipes for picnic potlucks. Deviled Eggs. Funfetti Cookies. And these sandwiches.
When you bring these sandwiches anywhere, you’re a hero. The men come flocking and the women rave. Everyone wants the recipe. It’s the first thing you run out of. And the best part? You don’t even break a sweat making them. Or the bank. Seriously. You can’t loose.
I like to serve these with the smaller , 4″ hamburger buns, rather than the larger 6″ buns as you get more servings and it keeps the sandwich from falling apart from too much goodness. Also you can greatly personalize this dish by adding your favorite seasonings to the slow cooker. Onions, garlic, paprika, chili powder, cumin, tomato paste, vinegar all make excellent options. I would recommend trying a simple version of the recipe first, then adding to it in subsequent trials.
Picnic Potluck BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Serves 15 – 20
- 3 – 4 lb Boneless Pork Shoulder, fat trimmed
- 8 – 16 oz carbonated beverage of your choice:
- Dr Pepper
- Root Beer
- If sweetened like the above, Salt
- If unsweetened like the above, Brown Sugar
- 1 bottle BBQ Sauce of your choice
- Hamburger Buns
- Shredded Purple Cabbage
- Toss the pork in your slow cooker with your beverage of choice. If the beverage is highly sweetened (like soda), sprinkle with generously with salt. If the beverage is not heavily sweetened (like beer), sprinkle with browne sugar. Set your slow cooker for 8 hours on low, or until tender, rotating after 4 hours.
- Check the pork with a fork after 8 hours to see if it easily separates. If it does, move on to the next step. If not, continue cooking in the slow cooker in ½ hour increments until the pork falls apart easily with a fork.
- As best as you can, remove the pork shoulder (and pieces) to a cutting board, leaving the juices behind. With two forks or large BBQ tongs, shred the pork into smaller pieces. Transfer shredded pork to a large mixing bowl.
- Add a good ½ cup or so of BBQ sauce to the pork, and stir. You want the pork to be just moistened by the sauce. For this I recommend a mild or original flavored sauce. You can top your sandwich with a spicier or more interesting sauce, but a simple sauce works best for just keeping the pork moistened.
- Pack the warm pork, buns, cabbage and sauce for your event. To assemble, from top to bottom: bun, pork, sauce, cabbage, bun, happiness.
I originally saw this recipe in a magazine at a hair salon. It looked fantastic, but I failed at remembering either the recipe or magazine name so I spent hours scouring the interwebs for it. I never found it.
The recipe below is based on a combination of many that I encountered. You can pretty much put anything in the packets, throw them on the grill or in the oven and they will come out perfectly. I have made this while camping with chicken and root veggies while camping for a heartier combo, with steak, mushrooms and onions for a manly meal, and here with salmon. You can cook on a grill, in a fire pit, in the oven or even on a grill pan on the stove top. Basically pick:
- 1 Protein
- 2 – 5 chopped Veggies
- 1 Seasoning Salt (those premixed seasonings at the grocery store like “Garlic & Herb” or “Southwest Blend”)
I have toyed with several combinations, but this might be my favorite. It is the perfect early summer meal, combining bright veggies and fresh flavors. The photos are from a baked version, though I do prefer to put these directly on coals.
The best part? Once everything is chopped the recipe take minutes to assemble, and can be on the table in under 30. Also, cleaning is a cinch! Just toss the foil and you’re done, no messy pots.
Lemon Pepper Salmon Packets
- 4 Salmon Fillets, 4 – 6 oz each
- 1 Yellow Pepper, sliced into rings
- 1 Red Pepper, sliced into rings
- 1 Yellow Onion, sliced into rings
- 1 Lemon, sliced into rings
- Lemon Pepper Seasoning
- Sea Salt
- Spray Oil (I used olive oil in a mister)
- Optional: Prepared Pasta, Rice, Potatoes or other starch
- If cooking on a charcoal grill, get the coals ready a bit in advance. If baking, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut 4 long pieces of foil, about one and a half times the width of the box.
- To assemble the packets layer the ingredients approximately as follows:
- Spray the foil with oil
- Sprinkle a little sea salt on the foil
- Place the salmon, skin side down on the foil
- Sprinkle the salmon generously with the lemon pepper seasoning and a little more sea salt
- Top with lemons, onions and peppers in order.
- Bring the edges to the center, and roll down to enclose.
- If grilling: Throw the packets directly onto the coals or on the grill. Cook for 5-20 minutes depending on the temperature of the coals until the salmon is just cooked through. Check the packets once or twice, and rotate if necessary.
- If baking: Place the foil packets on a large, heavy baking sheet. Bake in the center rack for 20 – 25 minutes until the salmon is just cooked through.
- To assemble plates, place selected carbohydrate on plates and arrange veggies and fish with tongs. Drizzle juices from the packets over the dish, especially if your starch is unseasoned.
Tomato Soup for the Soul
There are few things better in this world than a late tomato harvest. Of course, by this time you’ve had all the salads, salsas and sauces you can stand, and the weather has started to turn chilly.
Enter Tomato Soup.
The last fruits of the season
First you start with some standard soup veggies; Celery, Carrots and onions. I was lacking onions so I used some shallots I had lying around. I like to sauté these in a little bacon fat with salt until they are tender, but you could use butter, olive oil or lard if you like.
While they are in the pan, peel your tomatoes, which is easier if you pop them in a pot of boiling water for 3 – 5 seconds.
Once the veggies are tender, I added the chopped tomatoes, your favorite spices (I used Italian Seasoning) and enough chicken stock to cover all the ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for as long as you like, at least 20 minutes. The longer you simmer, the more the broth will reduce and thicker your soup will be. I simmered mine about 35 minutes.
Working in batches, blend the goods until smooth. Here you can add as much salt and pepper as your heart desires. White pepper will keep your soup from having spots, but I don’t mind the fresh-cracked-pepper/are-those-ants-in-your-soup look.
I like to garnish with parsley, Monkey prefers goldfish crackers. Sometimes I’ll add some shredded cheese, plain yogurt or heavy cream, which will turn the soup into a bisque. The sky is really the limit here.
Harvest Tomato Soup
Isn’t she a beauty!?!?
- 1 – 4 tbsp Bacon Grease/Olive Oil/Butter/Lard
- 1 – 3 stalks Celery, chopped
- 1 – 3 Carrots, sliced
- 1 Onion or 1 – 4 Shallots/Scallions, chopped
- 3 – 12 of your favorite Tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- Chicken Stock
- Combine onions of your choice, celery and carrots in a saucepan with oil of your choice over medium heat. Sauté until tender.
Sauté them, there veggies
- Add tomatoes, spices and enough chicken stock so all veggies are taking a bath. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes to an hour.
Boil ’em good and done!
- Working in batches, blend until smooth.
- Return soup to pot and season as desired.
- Serve and garnish with your choice of toppings.
Tomato Soup for the Soul