Inventing menus and throwing together dishes that fit a theme is a passion of mine. Creating a fun meal and experience has a fulfilling quality for me, especially when entertaining. Not much brings me that full feeling more than happy, full friends and family…especially when the food turns out great.
Entertaining has been a little challenging lately with the world being shut down. Enter my book club this July to give me a reason to throw this meal together. Over the last 15+ years, we have gotten together once per month, and they are just as much family as they are friends at this point. This group of strong and amazing women have great conversations, strong opinions, share family celebrations and struggles, enjoy food, wine and company all over the premise of a book each month…and we are always so gracious with compliments on each others food. I have been very open that this is one of the reasons I love hosting – to create a menu that fits the book or the season.
Book club works that when it’s your turn to pick the book, it’s your turn to host…and more importantly, when I host, I get to meal plan and cook. I was dissapointed with the book I chose because of the turn the book took (too political). I thought it would be more of a summer mystery easy read. Oh well, if the book isn’t a winner, let’s turn our focus to the food.
The theme for the food came partly from the setting of the book in the Caribbean, partly because it’s summer in Minnesota (and it’s a hot one at 90°+) and partly because we will be spending time at the pool (social distancing, of course).
Combine all of that together and a tropical Hawaiian theme was created. Thinking fresh fruit, veggies, flavorful meat and bun/no bun options…and there must be some cheese and bread dish to start. Cheese and bread are a prerequisite for every book club get together. This time a SS Ricotta Spread spiced up with Jalepeno Pineapple Salsa on the side. Some of those recipes to follow.
I am always a fan a slow cooked pork shoulder roast. It is such a versatile meat that becomes so tender and takes on the fun flavor combos that you give it. This recipe intrigued me because it was so different than past recipes – so few ingredients and whole, unpeeled bananas. The original recipe didn’t call for salt because of the saltiness that comes from both the liquid smoke and soy sauce. I added a touch to help the pork start to pull juices and marinade overnight.
There is always a risk when making a new style of pulled pork for a group – What if they don’t like it? What if it’s not tender enough? What if it flops? There was the added concern here because I couldn’t check on the pork wrapped so tightly in the foil. So, I just had to trust and wait.
Guess what, pulled pork has never dissapointed me. No matter which recipe I use, as long as I have given it the low and slow time it needs, it is always juicy and tender. In this case, added with a smooth hint of salty sweet and smoky. The bookclub ladies asked, “This is so good. What is the recipe?” Well, ladies, it’s so simple…here it is…
Smokey Banana Pulled Pork
- 7 lbs pork shoulder butt roast
- 8 tsp soy sauce
- 8 tsp liquid smoke
- 3 ripe bananas, in their peel
- 1 Tbls Kosher salt
- 3 large sheets strong tin foil
Sides for Serving:
- Hawaiian rolls
- Bibb lettuce leaves, washed and dried
- Quick pickled red onions
- Hawaiian coleslaw
The day before cooking, double line strong tin foil to use as the base of pork marinade wrap. Place the pork in the foil and salt the meat.
Wash the exterior of the bananas and place them on either side and in between pork pieces. Pour the soy sauce and liquid smoke over the pork.
Fold up the tin foil around the mix. Use the third sheet for the final wrap. Marinade pork overnight, flipping a few times. Place the pork into a large baking dish or roasting pan.
Heat the oven to 400° and cook the pork for an hour and fifteen minutes. Reduce the heat to 325° and continue cooking for another 4-5 hours.
Remove from oven and let set for 5 minutes. Carefully open the foil and let the steam out. Let cool another 5 minutes. Using forks, shred the pork and place shreds in serving bowl. Discard bananas and any fat chunks before serving.
Serve with hawaiian coleslaw. Tastes great on Hawaiian rolls or as a lettuce wrap.
Happy Slow Cooking!!!
*Recipe was doubled from website, Taste of Home entitled Hawaiian Pork Roast.