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Pork with Mustard & Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

BBQ 052 Edited Pork with Mustard & Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

In honor of National Barbecue Month, I was offered the opportunity to create a barbecue sauce using Four Roses Bourbon. Knowing little of either barbecue or bourbon, I immediately accepted the offer.

Despite the fear of messing something up or doing it all wrong, a quote attributed to Richard Branson went rattling through my mind: “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”

I live in North Carolina, a.k.a. the mecca of all things barbecue. Unless of course you talk to someone in Memphis or Kansas City or Texas. Then they will say their barbecue is the best. So, there is conflict right off the bat.

If one accepts that North Carolina barbecue is the best, one must then figure out just what North Carolina barbecue they have agreed to. There is the vinegar-based sauce in the East and the ketchup-based sauce as one moves west. Cross the border into South Carolina, and mustard-based sauces rein supreme.

Frankly, I like them all. It’s always been this way. Moving off track a bit, any time my younger self ate an Arby’s roast beef sandwich,  I would put Arby’s sauce on half and Horsey sauce on the other half. Variety is the spice of life, and I like variety.

BBQ 012 Edited Pork with Mustard & Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

Along these lines, I concocted three bourbon-based barbecue sauces. Today, I am sharing a mustard-sauce, and just as soon as I can, I will share a spiced orange sauce and traditional vinegar version. The slaw you see here as well as another slaw recipe will also be forthcoming.

Despite my inability to focus on a particular sauce, one thing I could easily decide on was the type of meat to use. Here in North Carolina, barbecue refers to pork. Period. End of Story. I repeat, barbecue = pork.

So pork butt (i.e. pork shoulder) is what I used. I kept it simple with a dry rub for the pork and a five-ingredient sauce featuring mustard and Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon. Four Roses describes this bourbon as “complex, full bodied and surprisingly smooth with hints of  plum and cherry.”

As for the sauce itself, I will pick mustard over ketchup any day of the week, so naturally, I liked it. Lacking complete faith in my ability to be objective, I delivered a barbecue sampler to some friends with the request for feedback. This is what I received (name has been removed to protect the guilty party):

“B. said he would eat cardboard with that mustard sauce.” I can only hope you will like it that much as well. Enjoy!

BBQ 058 Edited Pork with Mustard & Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

Samples of Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon and a Whole Foods gift card (that I used to purchase the pork butt) were generously provided to help me create this post. 

Pork Butt with Mustard & Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
  • For the Pork Butt
  • 1 pork butt
  • 1 tablespoon course sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
  • For the Sauce
  • ½ cup yellow mustard
  • ¼ cup Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  1. Stir together the sea salt, black pepper, and dried thyme leaves and rub the mixture into the pork butt.
  2. Place the prepared meat into a slow cooker and turn the heat to low. Depending on the weight of the meat, allow to cook from six to eight hours. When done, the meat will easily fall away from the bone.
  3. Turn the crock pot off and remove the pork butt (be sure to reserve the cooking liquid in the crock pot.)
  4. Use two forks to shred the meat, discarding the fat as you come across it.
  5. Return the shredded meat to the crock pot or another bowl along with enough of the cooking liquid to keep the pork moist.
  6. Next make the mustard and bourbon sauce by mixing all of the sauce ingredients - from mustard to garlic - in a bowl.
  7. Serve the sauce alongside the pork as a dip or add it directly to the meat and stir to coat thoroughly.
Please note that the amount of rub and sauce required may vary depending on how much pork butt you plan to prepare. I cooked a 4-pound bone-in pork butt for six hours.

Nutella Swirl Pound Cake {Secret Recipe Club}

SRC May 14 011 Edited Nutella Swirl Pound Cake {Secret Recipe Club}

It’s Cinco de Mayo and Secret Recipe Club reveal day. What could be better? Oh, I don’t know, perhaps actually posting a Mexican-style recipe like Chicken Enchilada Soup or Mexican Stuffed Shells?

As delicious as those dishes may be, I opted to make the Nutella Swirl Pound Cake from my assigned blog Things I Make (for Dinner). Sarah writes that she blogs “both to keep my weekly menu plans and to showcase the new recipes I’ve tried.” I am especially fond of her Magazine Challenge.

SRC May 14 017 Edited Nutella Swirl Pound Cake {Secret Recipe Club}

Not one person I know can keep their magazine collections under control, and Sarah admits she is no exception. Upon realizing she had a boat-load of magazines from which she wished to cook, she challenged herself to use six recipes from a magazine per month. Everything she plans to make and links to recipes she has made are up on her blog.

In addition to the Nutella, the cinnamon shone through as a pleasant but subtle flavor. This pound cake is delicious served plain, but I added strawberries and whipped cream to take it over the top. I imagine I will be enjoying this for breakfast and dessert throughout the week. Enjoy!

SRC May 14 009 Edited Nutella Swirl Pound Cake {Secret Recipe Club}

Nutella Swirl Pound Cake
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 1⅓ cup Nutella (equivalent to a small jar)
  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla together, beating until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing only until fully incorporated.
  5. Spread ⅓ of the cake batter into a greased and floured loaf pan. Smooth the batter by wetting the back of a wooden spoon and spreading it across the batter.
  6. Top with ½ of the Nutella (do not spread the Nutella to the edge of the pan, rather leave a border of batter, followed by another ⅓ of the cake batter. Finish by layering the remaining Nutella then the remaining cake batter.
  7. Bake at 325 F for 60-75 minutes, tenting with foil if the top becomes too brown. Allow to the pound cake to cool in the pan before turning out to unmold.
I covered my pound cake with foil after 30 minutes. My small oven typically scorches the bottom of items that need to bake for fairly long periods of time, so I also placed the loaf pan on a baking sheet after 30 minutes. My pound cake looks a little goofy because I opted to do just one Nutella swirl.

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Five Days of Cinco de Mayo: Mexican Bread Pudding

Cinco de Mayo 103 Edited Five Days of Cinco de Mayo: Mexican Bread Pudding

Last but not least, we have dessert. Despite a spiced Mexican chocolate cake calling my name, I wanted to do something other than a chocolate dessert this year.

A bread pudding recipe with no cream or milk interested me. Add to that one that called for cheese (cheese in a bread pudding?!), and naturally I was sold on the unusual. I really enjoy bread pudding desserts, and this Mexican Bread Pudding was no exception.

Cinco de Mayo 012 Edited Five Days of Cinco de Mayo: Mexican Bread Pudding

The brown sugar and cinnamon flavor was lovely together with the sweet raisins and salty almonds. I always hesitate to write such things because my expertise with food tasting basically boils down to “good”, “bad”, and “delicious”, but I can without a doubt say this dessert exceeded my expectations.

Thanks for sticking with me this week. I will give your inboxes a reprieve this weekend, but I’ll be back on Monday for Cinco de Mayo. Enjoy the weekend!

Cinco de Mayo 119 Edited Five Days of Cinco de Mayo: Mexican Bread Pudding

Mexican Bread Pudding
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1½ cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten.
  • 8 ounces of stale white bread
  • 8 ounces of queso Oaxaca or mozzarella cheese
  • ⅔ cups raisins
  • ½ cup roughly chopped almonds
  • up to 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • optional: vanilla ice cream, for serving
  1. Bring the water, brown sugar and cinnamon stick to a boil in a saucepan over high heat and allow to cook until reduced by a quarter, approximately 30 minutes.
  2. Set aside to cool and discard the cinnamon stick.
  3. When the sugar syrup mixture has cooled to room temperature, whisk in the eggs until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Cut the bread into 1" cubes and place it into a large bowl with ¾ of the cheese, the raisins, and the almonds.
  5. Pour the room temperature sugar syrup over the bread mixture and toss until coated evenly.
  6. Transfer the mixture to a greased 8" x 8" baking dish, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and dot with butter.
  7. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. The mixture should be bubbling and the cheese should be melted.
  8. Uncover and continue baking for 10-12 additional minutes. The bread pudding and the cheese should be lightly browned.
  9. Serve warm and topped with ice cream, if desired.
This is by no means a healthy-eating blog, but holy moly, 8 tablespoons of butter for an 8" x 8" baking dish seemed a bit excessive. I used 3 tablespoons, but feel free to use as much as you wish.