Time to get the Chocolate back out…for your meat!!! If you are looking for a different twist on the BBQ this Labor Weekend, I have a winner of a recipe for you.
In 1828, Conrad J. van Houten, a Dutch chocolate maker, came up with the process that led to the production of cocoa powder and other forms of chocolate people know and love today.
Cocoa powder is made from dried, fermented cocoa beans. The hulled beans are ground and the fat, or cocoa butter, is removed, leaving a brown, pasty substance called chocolate liquor. The solids from this paste are dried and ground into cocoa powder.
The following is a Cocoa-Rubbed Pork Dinner. You may fear that it might be very sweet from the cocoa powder, but on the contrary, it is just the opposite! The other spices, like the cumin and allspice, really shines through, and the cocoa gives the flavor balance.
Cocoa-Rubbed Pulled Pork
6 lb. boneless pork shoulder
1/3 cup Cocoa Rub (recipe follows)
1 cup beef broth
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- Cut pork into 6 chunks. Place pieces into a large, wide saucepan. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup cocoa spice mixture and, using your hands, rub into meat well, making sure every piece is evenly coated.
- Add beef broth, crushed tomatoes, apple cider vinegar, and maple syrup and Worcestershire sauce to the pan. Stir until well combined. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, and then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pork is fork-tender, about 2 hours.
- Remove pork from sauce and place in a large bowl. Reserve sauce for later use. Using two forks, shred pork.
Slow Cooker Method
- Cut pork into 6 chunks. Place pieces into a large slow cooker. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup cocoa spice mixture and, using your hands, rub into meat well, making sure every piece is evenly coated.
- Add beef broth, crushed tomatoes, apple cider vinegar, and maple syrup and Worcestershire sauce to the pan. Stir until well combined. Cover and cook on low until pork is fork-tender, about 8 hours.
- Before serving, bring reserved sauce to a boil in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat; reduce heat to a simmer; simmer until sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally.
- Serve pulled pork on freshly baked biscuits or small buns, topped with some of the sauce. Great with a side of coleslaw and some pickles.
- Freeze leftover pork in 1-cup portions for later use.
- Substitute pulled pork for braised beef.
- Yields dinner for 4 with a week's worth of leftovers or enough for sliders for 16-20 people at a party
Makes 1 cup
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup cocoa powder (I used Hershey's)
2 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp black pepper
2 tbsp dried minced onion
2 tbsp dried oregano leaves
2 tbsp dried thyme leaves
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Combine ingredients. Store in a jar. This rub is great on any slowly braised or grilled meats. Try it on ribs, salmon or trout as well as pork.
I've used Hershey's Cocoa alone when short on time. It tasted fabulous alone, and without the rest of the 'rub' ingredients.
Hope you'll try it and enjoy the recipe. Happy Labor Weekend to one and all!