It is no secret that I’m a bad reality TV aficionado. When talking about it, I really don’t know where to start. First, there’s 19 Kids and Counting. I love those crazy, crazy Duggars. Things that make them awesome: A commercial kitchen (which seems insane but realistic once you think about feeding 21 people at least three times a day,) no dancing and this recipe for tater tot casserole.
Other shows I dig: Hoarders (although less lately, since it’s just really sad), Dirty Jobs, Sister Wives, Project Runway and any and all weird medical/science documentaries.
It got so bad that I intentionally didn’t have cable for two years, to cut myself off cold turkey. Well, things have changed. My roommate Dan loves ESPN and we a cable box/DVR in the house I’m back to my old ways. My main drug of choice? Food network.
Don’t get me wrong, I live for Wednesday nights, when Top Chef: Texas airs on Bravo. But in terms of total pleasure per week, Food Network is at the top.
Where to start? I’ll watch anything. Literally, even the show with the annoying guy with the honkin’ nose and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with mega-douche Guy Fieri. But my real favorites? Chopped, Iron Chef America and Next Iron Chef.
The latter three have basically the same premise: Get secret ingredients/basket and make some tasty, creative food.
I usually sit there and drool and think about what I would make with stuff like quince paste, marshmallows and wild boar. None of this is realistic, and despite the food looking great, I have no interest in making most of it. Either the techniques are too complicated or the ingredients too far flung. Perfect for really awesome TV.
However, the other day I put my culinary competition watching to good use: Pulled pork, two ways.
This is, of course, the quickest way to screw yourself on a cooking competition. More opportunities to mess up, they always say. However, this does not stop nearly every other chef from doing it.
Lucky for me, a no husky bald guy was judging my food. (Just kidding, Tom Colicchio! Love you!)
Using the Dutch oven Matt got me as an anniversary present, I slow cooked the hell out of a pork shoulder using a variation of a Paula Deen recipe. Fitting, right y’all?
Instead of just doing sandwiches, like the recipe suggests, I decided to do pulled pork tacos as well. Not to brag, but if pork shoulder had been in my Chopped basket, I would have owned it. I mixed up a rub, slathered it all over that bad boy and stuck it in the Dutch oven with a slew of liquids and popped it in the oven where I didn’t touch it for a few hours (time I wouldn’t be afforded in Chopped, FYI.) In the meantime I prepped some potato buns, cut some cheese and veggies, warmed up tortillas and got out the salsa and barbecue sauce.
Matt was my sous chef, shredding that pork like it was nobody’s business. Seriously, he’s pro.
Pulled pork master.
The combination may not have been traditional, but it was delicious and hearty and between the whole house we managed to eat most everything.
It also made me feel like an Iron Chef, minus Kitchen Stadium. Probably a good thing because honestly, who likes Alton Brown? He weirds me out.
PS: In case anyone wants to know, I’m totally rooting for Chef Falkner on Next Iron Chef. She made bagel ice cream! Come on, that’s creativity. Not sure who gets my vote on Top Chef: Texas. There’s still like 10 left. All I know is I feel this way about Heather.