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Korean Pulled Pork Sandwiches = Love

I made these Bibimbap Sopes a couple of weeks ago and it opened up a whole new world of pulled pork for me. Out of that single batch of pork we ate tacos, sopes and sandwiches. I ate the last dregs of it over some rice for lunch and the only reason I haven't made it again already is because Shack has been working on a frozen lake far too north for me to even acknowledge his exact location. We weren't expecting him until the weekend at the earliest but he called to say he was on his way home AND it just happened to be Valentine's day so guess what I made? He had spent ten days eating wings, poutine, wings, fries and more wings at one of the two or three truckstops that were available to them so, to be honest, I could have just made him a  sandwich with nice italian cold cuts on really nice bread and he would have been thrilled.

I could have done that but everyone knows that the way to a man's heart is through his pork gland.

As much as we all loved it the last time, I found myself wishing that it was, perhaps, just a little less sweet and a tiny bit spicy so I tweaked it a little bit. This time, I cut way back on the honey and added just a bit of corn syrup instead (you could still use honey) and threw in a bit of gochujang. The amount of gochujang is up to you. I might add more the next time but I just wanted it to be a little bit spicy so this worked for me today. Maybe next week, I will be in a 1/2 cup of gochujang kind of mood.

For the actual sandwiches, I just made the same asian slaw that I made to go with my spicy chicken but I upped the vinegar to make it a bit more tangy so it could stand up to the pork and swapped the nuts for some sesame seeds.

I love lots of pulled pork variations (and I still adore Shack's pulled pork with  mustard mop with all of my heart) but there is something about this stuff that just makes you want to keep eating these sandwiches - they are sweet, spicy, salty and a bit acidic - just like me.

Korean Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Buns (we like old school, soft white hamburger buns but use whatever works for you)

1/2 cup light soy sauce
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
3tbls ketchup
3tbl rice vinegar
1 heaping tbls honey, korean rice syrup or corn 
cloves garlic, smashed1 1/2 tables grated fresh ginger2tbls seame oil
3 heaping tbls of gochujang (or more to taste if you want it spicier)
3 star anise
2lb pork butt

Put the pork in the crock pot. Whisk all of the other ingredients together and pour over the pork. Put the lid on and cook at low heat for about 8 hrs. When it's cooked, remove the pork, remove any big chunks of fat and shred like for pulled pork ( use your hands or two forks). Pour the cooking liquid into a fat separator if you have one (like the one you might use to make gravy with). You can also put it in the fridge to cool so the fat congeals and you can just get rid of it that way if you are making the pork ahead of time. If neither of those methods works for you, do the best you can skimming the fat off the top of the liquid - there will be quite a bit and you really want to get rid of as much of it as possible. After you get rid of the unwanted greasy fat, pour the liquid into a pot and bring to a boil over med high heat and boil that down until it's reduced by half. Pour the reduced cooking liquid over the pork and toss well to make sure all the meat is coated in the sauce. Now your meat is ready to eat.

Korean BBQ Sauce

2tbl gochujang
3tbls sugar
2tbls light soy sauce
1tsp rice vinegar2
tsp sesame oil

Whisk everything together really well and set aside

Asian Ponzu Slaw
4 tlbs rice wine vinegar
1 tbls mirin
1 tbls sesame oil
2 tbls ponzu sauce
pinch salt
2 cups shredded red cabbage
2 cups shredded nappa cabbage
2/3 cup to 1 cup grated daikon
1 to 2 tbls toasted sesame seeds
Put the cabbages, daikon and sesame in a big bowl. Mix the dressing in another small bowl, whisk well and pour over the cabbage mixture. Toss well and let it sit at least ten minutes before serving.
Pile each bun with a mound of pulled pork, a drizzle of bbq sauce, some kimchi and a mound of slaw. Pop on the top of the bun. Squish down delicately, bring to your mouth, chomp.

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