Tag Archives: pork

Pulled Pork and Spicy Cole Slaw


Summer is making its entrance in LA which means it’s time for barbecues and pool parties! I had my friends up to the canyon for a Sunday Funday pool party this past weekend, and since Topanga is such a fire zone, we don’t have a barbecue out at our pool. So in wondering how I was going to easily feed about 10 people, I remembered my brother’s favorite Pulled Pork and Spicy Cole Slaw sandwiches by The Food Network’s Tyler Florence. It may not be as easy as throwing the pork roast in a crock pot with some barbecue sauce, but it is certainly worth the effort. The slow roast in the oven gives the pork a nice crispy, flavor-packed skin to complement the tart cider vinegar barbecue sauce and savory spicy cole slaw. I served it with a new Latin-inspired version of my favorite Watermelon Salad. When the 7 pounds of pork disappeared in just an hour or two I knew it was a success (so fast, I missed my photo opportunity). Better yet, my friends tossed their buns because the pork was so flavorful on it’s own–now that is the ultimate compliment to a Primal cook. Of course this recipe is technically not Primal since it has brown sugar in both the rub and the barbecue sauce, but to stay grain-free, the bun is easily unnecessary. In the future, I’d love to play around with the barbecue sauce, substituting pure maple syrup for the brown sugar.


pool partying into the Sunset

Barbecue Pulled Pork (Adapted from Tyler Florence) (Difficulty-Advanced; Serves 10-12)

Dry Rub:

  • 3 Tbsp. paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. dry mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. coarse sea salt
  • 2 3lb. (or 1 5-7lb.) organic or all natural pork roasts, preferably shoulder or Boston butt

Barbecue Sauce:

  • 1 1/4 c. organic cider vinegar
  • 1 c. yellow or brown mustard
  • 2/3 c. organic ketchup
  • 1/3 c. packed brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Pan drippings from the pork
  • 12 hamburger buns
  • 1 recipe Cole Slaw

Spicy Cole Slaw:

  • 2 heads organic green cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 head organic purple cabbage, shredded
  • 2 organic carrots, grated
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • 1/2 c. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp. raw honey
  • 1 tsp. celery seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. hot sauce (I used Franks)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Make the Pork: Mix the paprika, garlic power, brown sugar, dry mustard, and salt together in a small bowl. Rub the spice blend all over the pork. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight–the longer, the better!

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Preheat the oven to 300°F. Put the pork in a roasting pan and roast it for about 3 hours (~6hrs if using a 5-7lb. roast). An instant-read thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the pork should register 160 degrees F, but basically, what you want to do is to roast it until it’s falling apart.


While the pork is roasting, make the barbecue sauce. Combine the vinegar, mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic, salt, cayenne, and black pepper in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer gently, stirring, for 10 minutes until the sugar dissolves. Take it off the heat and let it sit until you’re ready for it.


When the pork is done, take it out of the oven and put it on a large platter. Allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes. While it’s resting, deglaze the pan over medium heat with 3/4 cup water, scraping with a wooden spoon to pick up all of the browned bits. Reduce by about half. Pour that into the saucepan with the sauce and cook 5 minutes.

 While the pork is still warm, you want to “pull” the meat: Grab 2 forks. Using 1 to steady the meat, use the other to “pull” shreds of meat off the roast. Put the shredded pork in a bowl and pour half of the sauce over. Stir it all up well so that the pork is coated with the sauce.

Make the slaw: Combine the cabbages, carrots, and red onion in a large bowl. In another bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, honey, and cayenne. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss gently to mix. Season the cole slaw with the celery seed, hot sauce, salt, and black pepper. Chill for 2 hours in the refrigerator before serving.


Serve pork over toasted hamburger buns piled with cole slaw, or simply eat them with a fork and forget the bun. Spoon the extra barbecue sauce over the top if desired.


Coffee Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Red Cabbage and Blueberry Salad


This is one of the most delicious and exciting new dishes I’ve made in a while. It reminds me of something you’d get in Hawaii with all the colorful fresh veggies, and of course the pork would be rubbed in Kona coffee. Maybe I’ll move there and open a beach-side food stand. Until then, I’ll just enjoy this bright meal and daydream of luaus, crystal blue water, and volcanoes.

I love this purple and blue themed cabbage salad–the flavors pair together perfectly and it is so refreshing to both the taste buds and the eye! It is a great complement to the rich flavors in the coffee rubbed pork. I served them with a bunch of beautifully in-season asparagus and some sauteed mushrooms and pearl onions I had left in the fridge. Delicious!IMAG0688-1 (1)

Coffee Rubbed Pork Tenderloin (adapted from Gobo Root) (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 3 to 4)

  •  1 1/2 lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly ground coffee
  • 2 tsp. coarse ground sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. macadamia nut oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Combine the ground coffee, sea salt, sugar (if using) and cayenne pepper in a small food processor. Pulse until mixture until finely ground and well combined. Rinse the pork and pat dry. Cover the pork with the rub, cover, and refrigerate to marinate for 2 hours.

Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium high. Add the pork tenderloin and sear, 1-2 minutes no each side. Transfer the pork to a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 14-16 minutes. Cover the pork with tin foil and let rest on the counter for 5 minutes. The meat should reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Slice and serve with red cabbage salad (recipe follows).


Red Cabbage Salad with Blueberries and Goat Cheese (slightly adapted from Sweet Paul Magazine) (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 4)

  • 1/2 head organic red cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 c. organic blueberries
  • 1/3 c. pistachios, toasted
  • 4 Tbsp. organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tsp. sherry vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place shredded cabbage in a bowl of ice water for 30 minutes. Drain water and pat cabbage dry. Place all ingredients in a bowl. Toss well and season with salt and pepper.

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Primal Meatballs and Homemade Ricotta Cheese


Spaghetti and meatballs has always been one of my all-time favorite dishes, especially my dad’s meatballs! I’ve always made his recipe which uses ground turkey, so I wanted to try a more traditional recipe with ground beef and ground pork, but still with some of Dad’s best tricks, like using a muffin pan to bake the meatballs instead of frying. The oven still gives them a nice browned exterior without all the grease. The result=deliciously flavorful, moist meatballs that I topped with sweet tomato sauce and fresh homemade ricotta cheese. This will definitely satisfy any craving for spaghetti and meatballs and you can serve it over roasted spaghetti squash if you like. Great for guests or when you are really in need for some Italian comfort food!


Meatballs (Difficulty-Easy; Makes 8-10 large meatballs)

  • 1 lb. organic free-range 85% lean ground beef
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork (organic if you can find it)
  • 1/4 lb. prosciutto, chopped
  • 1/2 large sweet onion (preferably Maui), grated
  • 3/4 c. almond meal
  • 1/2-3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh organic parsley
  • 1/2 c. organic buttermilk
  • 1 large organic free-range egg yolk
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. organic ketchup
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 recipe of Don’s famous Pomodoro sauce

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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a muffin pan with olive oil based cooking spray. Add all ingredients to a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper and stir with your hands to incorporate together. Gently form into large round meatballs (I made 8) and add each to its own well in the muffin pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Test the meatballs with your fingers–they should have a little give but be firm enough that your fingers spring back when applying a little pressure. You can also test with a meat thermometer. They should be around 145 degrees in the center. Let cool in pan for about 5-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make tomato sauce according to recipe. Transfer meatballs to sauce pan and turn to coat. Serve with fresh ricotta cheese (recipe follows), drizzle of high quality finishing olive oil, spaghetti squash, and parmesan cheese.



Fresh Ricotta Cheese (slightly adapted from Food Network Magazine) (Difficulty-Intermediate; Makes ~1 cup cheese)

  • 6 1/2 c. organic whole milk
  • 1 1/2 c. organic heavy cream
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. organic distilled white vinegar

Line a large sieve with 2 layers of cheesecloth or paper towels and set it over a large bowl.


Bring the milk, cream and 1 teaspoon salt to a simmer in a large nonreactive pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add the lemon juice and vinegar and cook, stirring, until the mixture curdles, about 1 minute. Pour the mixture into the prepared sieve and let drain, at least 5 minutes or up to 30 minutes for thicker cheese. There will be a lot of liquid (whey) left over as it only makes a small amount of cheese. You can actually redo the process with the leftover liquid to make even more ricotta. It also makes great cooking liquid! I used it in place of broth in my cauliflower rice and it gave it even more flavor. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. I drizzled finishing oil on mine and seasoned with a tiny bit of salt.


Pork Burger with Spicy Slaw


I had some ground pork (which I rarely buy) in the refrigerator that I needed to put to use so I thought what better than a spin on the old classic-pulled pork and cole slaw combo?! This is an extremely easy and quick primal meal that you can whip up in minutes and I like anything covered in a good cole slaw so I’m satisfied. I put this together at the last minute so I even bought the pre-made slaw mix at the grocery store, but feel free to make your own–it would be great with a mix of purple and green cabbage!


Barbecue Pork Burgers (Adapted from Leite’s Culinaria) (Difficulty-Easy; Makes 4 1/4 lb. burgers)

  • 1/2 c organic, low-in-sugar, barbecue sauce, plus more for topping (If you have time to spare you can be an extra good cave dweller and make your own here –that way you’re certain it is Primally approved)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • coarse sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1/4 lb prosciutto, divided in half (optional)
  •  Olive oil, for the grill

Heat a grill pan over medium-high. In a medium bowl combine, the ground pork, half of the prosciutto, diced into small pieces, barbecue sauce, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper. Do not overmix. Form the mixture into 4 patties, each about 3 inches in diameter and 3/4 of an inch thick, being careful not to pack the pork too tightly.

Oil the grill pan and then grill the burgers, flipping them every few minutes, until just cooked through, 6 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small pan, saute the remaining prosciutto until crispy. Top each burger with barbecue sauce, crispy prosciutto, and a generous heaping of cole slaw, mine reminds me of a straw hat on a scarecrow 🙂 (cole slaw recipe follows).


Spicy Cole Slaw (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 4-6)

  • 1 lb cabbage slaw mix
  • 1/3-1/2 c organic mayonnaise
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving. Easy as that!


Pulled Pork Shepherd’s Pie


This is one of those traditional dishes that everyone seems to have eaten that I didn’t try until I was an adult. It just wasn’t something my parents made growing up, but it is a wonderfully hearty savory meal for cold weather. Oddly enough the first time I ever made and tried Shepherd’s pie it was a vegetarian version I happened to see from Rachael Ray on the Food Network. I absolutely love the flavors of this meatless dish, but since I’ve been trying to add more protein into my primal diet, I thought it was about time I made a real shepherd’s pie with meat. I decided to keep all of the flavors I love from Rachael Ray’s dish and swap the mushroom filling for pulled pork. I guess I still haven’t managed to eat a real traditional shepherd’s pie with ground beef–the British would probably be appalled. Nonetheless, I love the flavor combination!

And for those primal eaters out there, I made the topping completely out of parsnips to eliminate the starchy potatoes. And if you want to truly stick to the diet, you can replace the higher-glycemic carrots and peas in this dish with lower carb veggies like mushrooms, kale or spinach, or all of the above.

Pulled Pork Shepherd’s Pie (adapted from the Food Network)

(Difficulty: Intermediate, Serves: 8-10)

For the Filling:

3-4 lb. organic boneless pork shoulder

1 Tbsp. coarse sea salt

2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbsp. all purpose seasoning

1 Tbsp. paprika

1 large onion, diced

5 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

3-4 cups organic low-sodium chicken broth

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 organic carrots, peeled and chopped

1 lb. organic broccoli florets

1 1/2 cups organic green peas

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Rinse the pork, pat dry with paper towels and rub in the salt and pepper, all-purpose seasoning, and paprika. Set the pork in a roasting pan, scatter the onion over the pork, sprinkle in four cloves of the garlic and add the wine. Cook until the meat easily pulls apart with a fork, about 3-4 hours. Add 1 cup of chicken broth every hour to keep the pork moist. Transfer the pork to a platter or cutting board. Use two forks to shred the meat. Save the juice from the pan for later.

This would cook really well in a slow cooker, but I left mine in Boston when I moved so I did it the hard way. But either will work!

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Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the broccoli, carrots, and the rosemary leaves and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the peas and pulled pork and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for 5 minutes more, then stir in the remaining garlic and season with nutmeg. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and the juice from the roasting pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for a few more minutes while sauce thickens. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a large casserole dish.



For the Topping:

4-5 organic parsnips, peeled and chopped


3 Tbsp. horseradish

3/4 cup milk ( I used unsweetened coconut but any type of milk will work)

3 Tbsp. butter

3-4 Tbsp. chopped organic chives

Freshly ground pepper

1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 organic egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven broiler and put a rack in the middle of the oven.

Put the parsnips in a medium pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, over high heat, then salt the water and cook until the parsnips are tender, 15 minutes or so. Drain and return parsnips to the hot pot. Add the horseradish, milk, butter, chives, salt and pepper, to taste, and mash to desired consistency. Stir in 1 cup of the cheese and the egg. Top the prepared filling with the mashed parnsips, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and brown under the broiler for 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is slightly browned and bubbly. Remove from the oven and serve.