Like clock work, Ms. W opens her house and arms every year for an elaborate summer party. Always a fantastic time, I often find myself surrounded by one of the widest collections of people around. This in turn means the culinary contest, which coincides with the event, can be equally as diverse. Based around tapas, this food throw-down sees a judging panel selected at the start of the night, with the winner getting a meaningless, and often hilarious, trinket. If you can’t tell from the name of this post, I decided to enter with pork tacos.
I hit up Superstore mid-week and picked out two large sections of pork shoulder for a meager $15! I love how cheap pork butt is. This is a meal that you’ll want to plan for, as the dish will take a few days to make. Don’t worry though, most of the time is hands off. Forgetting about the meat until Thursday, I was only able to let the rub soak in for one day, but you could go longer. As I walked through the produce section during my pork pick-up, I glanced over to see pineapples on special and decided to include this in the dish.
With the pineapple cut into chunks, I put everything into a pot and let ride the heat train for 12 hours. Starting the pork at 6PM on Friday night, this dish proceeded to wreck and excite my entire sleep pattern. Choosing to cook the pork inside, rather than out, meant the pork really kicked into high gear around 1AM and I couldn’t sleep. Seriously the aroma of this dish, and my for-no-good-reason fear of having something cook while I slept, meant I was waking up to a glorious smell every 30-40 minutes. *Shakes fist* I even went and pulled the cover around 3:30 in the morning and started eating…with my eyes closed…and in my boxers, because I just couldn’t stand the aroma any longer.
By 6AM, I gave up attempting to sleep and tried to pull the meat from the pot. A relatively futile task, as the meat was so tender that any pressure caused the meat to collapse into strands of sweet sweet pork. The pineapple hadn’t broke down as much as I thought (normally I use apples), but the firmer texture allowed me to chop it up and include a bit in each taco.
I had a grand plan to make flour and corn tortillas at home for the event, but my laziness took over and I went back to the store for white and whole wheat versions. Not having a cookie cutter big enough, I used the lid of a zip-lock container to cut appetizer-sized pieces. At the party, I heated the meat up in a pan with a dab of pig fat, shot of water, and shot of special sauce. After warming the tortillas in the oven, I started to plate and found the taco’s disappearing before I could even get them to the judges. Eventually, I had Sarah run interference as I put three on a plate (see above) and took them to the judges table.
With a group of party goers that included everyone from dentist’s to designers, Sarah and I were also introduced to the woman behind Fat Franks and the man behind Polly Magoo’s; making this one entertaining evening. The spread included an assortment of goodies; from dips and cheese to pork and seafood. Truly a belly filling night.
With rain and lightening a concern, Sarah and I (along with everyone else probably) were glad that the night stayed beautiful and calm. Eventually, as the night grew dark, the official judging took place. Maybe it’s the competitor in me, but I was nervously waiting to hear where I finished……
Second place! I was elated that my dish went over so well, and with so many other great dishes served, it was an honor. Good food, old friends, and new friends, this was a great night. Thanks Ms. W! I’m already looking forward to next year.