Monday, March 25, 2013

Brunch: Pork-filled Muffins

This past Friday, a coworker asked the familiar Friday afternoon question: have any weekend plans? I replied that we were going for brunch in a small town in the area. This created interest. Where? What are their specialties? An implied "why have I never heard of this place before?" We were at the home of a former coworker of the Workaholic. We didn't really know what to bring. Bloody Marys? Rolls? Cheese? We knew that omelets would be provided, as well as Bellinis. Neither of us has a sweet tooth, but my Friday afternoon mind recalled a baked good she had read about a while back: bbq pulled pork stuffed cheddar-scallion cupcakes. This was the kind of baked good I could deal with.

There are no recipes for bbq pulled pork stuffed cheddar-scallion cupcakes on the web. In fact, the original appears to be a closely guarded secret.  All I knew was: bbq pulled pork in a Red Lobster-esque casing. Not knowing the least about baking, I started.

Saturday night, I made pulled pork with a store-bought rib rub, to which I added cumin (there was none included, and I like cumin). I made my own BBQ sauce with as much smoke as I could add without going outside: smoked garlic and smoked paprika. I drew the line at adding liquid smoke. I added warm beer, mainly because it was warm. Had the beer been cold, I may have consumed it on my own.

The "muffin mix" was easy:
1 3/4 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
ca 2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp cooled bacon fat (if you don't keep this in your fridge like I do, I guess you could leave it out)
1 c grated cheddar + 1/2 c
1 c thinly sliced green onions (scallions)
1 1/2 c buttermilk

Add baking powder and salt to flour. Crumble in butter and bacon fat until the mixture feels like sand. Add 1 cup cheddar and scallions. Add milk.

Place 1/2 Tbsp in the bottom of a muffin tin. Add pulled pork. Cover with 1 Tbsp of "muffin" mixture. Bake at 200 C for 15 minutes. Top with the remaining cheddar and continue to bake for a further 5 minutes.

These went over well at brunch, with the advice from a restauranteur that I leave off the paper liners & just grease the cupcake tins (and maybe add a hint of chopped jalapenos - but the restauranteur is from Arizona, so I'm not surprised with this advice). There's a lot more experimenting to be done.

The odd thing with experimenting is, sometimes it is well received, other times it is not. I'm taking my chances and publishing my incomplete results.

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