Last night I went to an appetizer party, and thought I’d create a new dish to take along. I wanted to feature my bbq sauce (recipe coming on Tuesday), but thought ribs would be a bit messy, so decided on pulled pork. I don’t cook with polenta much, and want to, so I decided to search up a good recipe. The one I settled on was from food blog Running to the Kitchen, and it’s a fantastic one. People raved about it. Sadly, I can’t claim credit, though I did add extra butter and cheese. Mmmm butter and cheese. I did a double batch of the polenta recipe I’m putting here, because the party was for 50, and the pulled pork makes so much. Feel free to save the pork for other uses (pulled pork panini with smoked cheddar, anyone?), or make a double batch of the polenta like I did. Anyway, let’s get started cooking!
Start by taking a pork butt (boston butt, pork shoulder), preferably large (6 lb) and bone in, and season it with your favorite bbq rub. Let sit an hour to form a crust, then cook for 10 hours in a crock pot on low.
Drain off all the fat, shred pork in a bowl (discarding any remaining fatty bits and the bone), and mix with 1 quart bbq sauce (or less, if you have a smaller piece of meat, or like less sauce).
Now, make the polenta. Bring chicken stock, milk, and bay leaves to a simmer, Turn off heat, cover, and let sit for 25 minutes.
Once the liquid has been infused with the flavor of the bay leaves, discard the leaves, return to a boil, and slowly whisk in the polenta until smooth, which should take about 2 minutes.
Turn off the heat, and stir in the butter and cheese.
Press into a greased 9×13 pan (or two, if doing a double batch), and chill.
Once chilled, slice into squares and fry in a 50/50 mix of butter and olive oil. I don’t think I chilled the polenta long enough (a half hour in the freezer, I was in a rush) so the fried crust kept coming off, but it still worked out wonderfully.
Once the polenta squares are done, drain off all but 1 tbsp of the oil, and add sliced onions, salt, pepper, and garlic to the fry pan. I don’t have a photo of this, I was in running late and forgot. Sorry! Anyway, now assemble. Take a polenta square, top with a healthy amount of pulled pork, then add a few onion strings.
Pulled Pork on Fried Polenta Squares
1 Boston Butt or Pork Shoulder, preferably 6lb
1/2 cup BBQ spice rub
1 quart (32 oz) bbq sauce
(recipe adapted from Running to the Kitchen)
2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 cup chicken broth
2 cup milk
2 bay leaf
1 1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese
4 tablespoons butter, divided
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 lb pulled pork
Fried polenta squares
1 onion, sliced thin
1 clove garlic
1. Rinse boston butt and dry. Slice off fat cap (if present). Rub with spice mixture.
2. Cook in a crockpot on low for 10 hours.
3. Discard liquid fat, shred pork, mix in bbq sauce.
1. Bring chicken broth, milk and bay leaf to a simmer in a medium sauce pan, turn off heat and cover for 25 minutes.
2. Once cooled, remove bay leaf.
3. Bring mixture to a boil and slowly whisk in cornmeal, until thick and smooth (about 1-2 minutes)
4. Add in 3 tablespoons butter and all of the cheese off the heat and whisk until combined and melted.
5. Pour polenta into a greased 8×8 pan and smooth out evenly. Refrigerate for at least an hour, until firm.
6. Cut the chilled polenta into squares.
7. In a medium skillet over medium high heat, melt remaining tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil.
8. Pan fry polenta squares for about 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown.
9. Drain on a paper towel.
1. Fry onions and garlic in 1 tablespoon of remaining oil, or 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Pile a healthy amount of pulled pork on each polenta square, and top with fried onions.