Is there anything better than pulled pork?? I love a good pulled pork plate or sandwich and will order it on almost any menu. One of the reasons I love pork shoulders is because they are so universal and can be used for a variety of things. You can cook one and use it for a variety of dishes throughout the week. And this recipe for Cherry Cola Braised Pork is the perfect example of that! Today I feature a pork producer from Minnesota, Amanda Carlson. She talks about farming with her family and how important pigs are in her life.
Who farms with you and what are their roles?
Most of my family! My dad and uncle own the dairy farm in partnership. My grandma is in charge of providing positive thoughts, my dad has the sense of humor and my uncle is the silent talker. My mom, aunt and two cousins all help out as able and we have one full time employee that helps us milk. I think my role is a volunteer supervisor. Aka, I crack the whip (or I like to pretend I do!)
What has been the hardest part of farming for you?
Learning there are just some things out of our control and staying positive through those times. Farming is an emotional business just as much as it is physical. There are animals you can’t save, rain you can’t start or stop and breakdowns you can’t prevent. As farmers, we’re expected to manage all of it while also keeping our family working together (we wish seamlessly!)
What has been the most satisfying part of farming for you?
Working with my family to provide food for our community. I love (most days!) being able to work with four generations of my family. We’ve shared so many memories both in the barn and at the kitchen table. We also sell directly to our community. It’s really an incredible feeling to grow the same food you sell to other families who, you hope, can also make everlasting memories around the kitchen table.
Any memories you want to share about this feature ingredient?
We’ve raised pigs in the house. Yes, that was plural. Petunia was my first bottle pig. She was a runt and none of her litter mates would let her drink, so I brought her in the house (while mom was at work…) and bottle fed her until she was big enough to match the others. That included sleeping on the couch with her in a clothes hamper, waking up hourly to feed her. Did I mention I was about 10?..
You can use any kind of cola for this, I liked the sweetness the Cherry Cola gave to this. I think it would be equally delicious with Dr. Pepper. I used by electric pressure cooker for this recipe, but you can use an oven or a slow cooker for this as well. This would be fantastic in tacos, quesadillas, skillet meals, or just for sandwiches!
- Dry Rub
- 1/4 cups brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground white pepper
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 3-4 pound pork shoulder butt, cut into large chunks
- 1 bottle (16 ounces) Cherry Cola
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch + 1/4 cup water
- Combine all dry rub ingredients and rub all over chunked up pork shoulder.
- In your electric pressure cooker, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on Saute function. Once hot, brown the pork chunks on all sides. Once browned, remove and set aside.
- Deglaze the pan with the cherry cola being sure to scrape the browned bits off the bottom. Add the pork back to the pot and cook on high pressure for 100 minutes.
- Once done, natural release. Remove pork from pot and strain off any fat that has accumulated on the top.
- To the remaining liquid, add the ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and cider vinegar. Thicken, if necessary, with cornstarch and water.
- Shred pork and serve with thickened sauce over the top. Enjoy!
- If cooking in the oven, start at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325 degrees and cook 3-4 hours until pork is easily shredded with a fork.
- If cooking in a slow cooker, cook on low 6-8 hours or until pork is easily shredded with a fork.
This post is part of my Thirty Days of Food series where I am writing about food and farming for the entire month of November, to find out more about it all or how to follow along, visit my Thirty Days of Food page to find more great recipes with farmer features!