Life in a Northern Town

Boston Butt, Dr Pepper And Chipotle Peppers- Who Knew??

There are cookbooks on nearly every shelf and table in my house. In fact, the first thing I purchased when we started renovating the kitchen was a bookshelf. While I use the internet to research recipes, there is something about standing in front of a bookshelf, looking for inspiration, that gives me joy. Ree Drummond's cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks, caught my eye and I took it off the shelf and headed to bed, certain I would find the perfect meal for Thursday night. I made curried quinoa and farro salad on Monday and to say it was a not a hit with the family would be an understatement. Ree has kids, lives on a ranch and has a couple basset hounds, I knew she would have something that would please my crew. And there it was, Spicy Dr Pepper Pulled Pork— how can I go wrong with meat and soda in one beguiling dish? It was a hit and definitely is going to be a repeat performer at our dinner table. I served it on tortillas with avocado, fresh salsa, shredded cheese and cilantro.

A glass of wine sounded like a brilliant idea tonight (shocking, I know). The beauty of my dinner choice was that it had been in the oven since noon and I was spared the 5 o'clock 'I guess I should think about dinner' mental gymnastics. Not only was there time for wine and chatting with Ted, dinner would still be on the table before 8 pm— braises are a good thing for a girl like me. Wine is also a good thing for a girl like me and I love Pinot Noir. However, Pinot Noir is a fickle, little beast— it needs to be full-bodied and rich but delicate and nuanced. I like that it is a wine that doesn't give it up easily, it makes the truly great Pinots all the more extraordinary. There are a few wines that stick with me long after the last drops are poured into the glass and the 2010 Shapes and Shadows Potters Vineyard Pinot Noir in one of them. It is a showstopper—beautiful ruby color, an earthy nose and cherries and cranberries in your mouth. The winemaker, Kenny Likitprakong, is a 30 something former snowboarder/wanderer from Healdsburg and he is making some really special wines under the Hobo Wines label. A gifted winemaker is an artist and in my opinion, Likitpraking, is right up there with the best.

 Spicy Dr Pepper Pulled Pork

2 Large Onions, quartered

1 Whole Pork Shoulder ("pork Butt") - 5 To 7 Pounds

 Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1 Can (11 Ounce) Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce

2 Cans Dr. Pepper

2 Tbsp Brown Sugar

2 Tsp Orange Zest

 Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Peel the onions and cut it into wedges. Lay them in the bottom of a large dutch oven.

 Generously salt and pepper the pork roast, then set it on top of the onions in the pan.

 Pour the can of chipotle peppers over the pork (include the sauce.) Pour in both cans of Dr Pepper. Add brown sugar and orange zest to the juice and stir in.

 Place lid tightly on pot, then set pot in the oven. Cook for at least six hours, turning roast two or three times during the cooking process. Check meat after six hours; it should be absolutely falling apart (use two forks to test.) If it's not falling apart, return to the oven for another hour.

 Remove meat from pot and place on a cutting board or other work surface. Use two forks to shred meat, discarding large pieces of fat. Strain as much of the fat off the top of the cooking liquid as you can and discard it. Return the shredded meat to the cooking liquid, and keep warm until ready to serve. (You can also refrigerate the meat and liquid separately, then remove hardened fat once it's cold. Then heat up the liquid on the stovetop and return the meat to the liquid to warm up.