Coffee-Chipotle Pulled Pork

I have a love hate relationship with my apartment. Love: This weekend we explored some tide pools, biked around the bay, and did a little shopping – all within 5 miles of our little apartment. It’s hard to beat the location. Hate: My kitchen has been a complete and total disaster since the weekend we got home from China. It’s so tiny it’s nearly impossible to keep up with mess. You would think a smaller space would mean a smaller mess. But no. It means there are lots of dishes, baking supplies, food items, and other kitchen goods that have to be kept in places other than the kitchen. Also, things kept in the kitchen can have only one very specific place where it can be stored. Pots and pans have to be stacked in a very specific order and turned in a very specific direction so as to leave room for the very specifically stacked colanders to be placed in front of them.

What’s that have to do with a messy kitchen? Welllll, I guess it comes down to laziness – no wait that sounds bad, busyness. I’ve been so busy and going right from one project to the next that things just don’t have time to be put back in their proper and specific place. There is no sense in walking the spare mixer bowl to the bedroom closet just to have to pull it back out later. Just in the time that I’ve been home I’ve made Lasagna, Lemon Greek Chicken, Black and Tan Brownies, Banana Oat Muffins , Whole Wheat Bread, my birthday cake (talk about a mess!), this Chipotle Pulled Pork, and of course a few other favorites. That makes for one messy kitchen.

It’s been worth it, though. Especially for this meal. This pulled pork was awesome, even better when paired with cheesy grits with roasted corn. Don’t be scared off by the coffee in the rub. It doesn’t taste like coffee. It just adds depth to the flavor.

Coffee-Chipotle Pulled Pork

(adapted from Homesick Texan)


1 3-lb pork shoulder
3/4 cup water
Coffee-Chipotle Rub (recipe below)
BBQ Sauce (recipe below)


Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Rub the Coffee-Chipotle rub all over the pork roast. Place the roast in 5-quart dutch oven (or other oven proof pot/pan with a lid) and pour the water around the roast. Cover with a lid and roast for 4 hours.

At 4 hours remove the pan from the oven and pour most of the liquid off into heat proof measuring cup and set aside. Stick a fork in the middle of the roast and give it a jiggle. If the meat is still tough (doesn’t start to fall apart when you stick the fork in the middle) return the pan to the oven and roast for another hour. Check again with a fork and continue roasting until it’s ready (mine took 5 and half hours). When the pork starts to fall apart increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Shred the pork with 2 knives and pour 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce over it. Return to the oven for 15 minutes until the BBQ sauce starts to glaze over the pork.

Serve on buns with cole slaw or over cheesy grits.

Coffee-Chipotle Rub

1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp black pepper
1/8 cup of finely ground dark coffee (or one VIA instant coffee packet)
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon chipotle powder (or 1 pulverized chipotle pepper)
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin

Combine all ingredients together until it is thoroughly combined with no lumps. If you’re using the chipotle pepper instead of the powder, rub it into the other ingredients with your fingers (and make sure to SCRUB your hands when you’re done!).

Chipotle-Honey BBQ sauce

1 tsp canola oil
1/2 half a medium onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups ketchup
1/8 cup yellow, ball-park style mustard
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup reserved cooking liquids from pork
2 canned chipotle pepper (not full cans, but 2 peppers from a can)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Salt and black pepper to taste

Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Pour into a saucepan and simmer over low-heat for 30 minutes before serving.

Chinese Dumplings


So far, I would have to say that the highlight of my trip to China has been cooking alongside Mandy and learning how to make Chinese dumplings. I did my best to take notes, ask questions and keep a careful eye on all of the steps. I even consulted with Mandy via gmail chat as I wrote out this recipe to be sure that I had it right. That being said, Mandy has told me several times that the problem with making real Chinese food is that recipes and exact amounts are rarely used. Most people that she knows that cook do it by taste, smell, and texture. Or, to them a cup is the green cup that their grandmother had on the counter. So I encourage you to use your best judgment as you go forward with this recipe. If you’re mixing and it feels like there should be more soy sauce, corn starch, or even green onions for that matter, go with your gut. For example, after finely chopping the garlic and throwing it in the bowl she said, “I don’t know, what do you think, more garlic?” Of course I responded with, “Heck yeah more garlic.” Also keep in mind that the filling should stick to itself pretty well, but not the sides of the bowl.

A huge thank you to Mandy for opening up her kitchen to me and doing her best to teach me!

We started with shopping for fresh ingredients

Pork, Cabbage, and Mushroom Filling for Chinese Dumplings
As taught to me by our friend, Mandy

1 1/2 lbs ground pork
3/4 cup Chinese cabbage, finely chopped
3/4 cup mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 green onions, including whites, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh minced ginger
1 egg
1 tsp chicken bouillon (or one cube, crushed)
2 tsp corn starch
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt

~50 dumpling wraps*
1/2 cup water (for sealing the dumplings)

Corn oil and water for cooking

*Available in most well stocked grocery stores in the refrigerated section (or near produce) or can be found at Asian specialty stores. It might not hurt to call ahead and ask! I will add an updated link to this recipe when I get home and test out making my own dough!

Some of the ingredients

Chop Chop!

Place all of the first group of ingredients in a large bowl. At first, use two clean hands to lightly mix together and evenly distribute various ingredients. When the ingredients appear to be evenly distributed hold the bowl with one hand and use the other to fold the ingredients from the back side of the bowl to the front. Turn the bowl a quarter turn and fold again. Repeat until the filling is sticking together after each turn. This process keeps the filling from being overworked and getting tough. If for some reason it just doesn’t seem to be coming together you can try adding a little bit more cornstarch and a tablespoon of beaten egg.

Folding ingredients together

To fill the dumplings, hold the dumpling wrapper in one hand and place about 2 tbsp of filling in the middle. Wet one finger and run around the edge of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper (kind of like a taco) and pinch in the middle. The sides will still be open at this point. Now, each open end is going to get 3 pinches. Each pinch will work it’s way to the middle. You want the final dumpling to be able to stand on it’s own.


The theme of the evening was pinch, pinch, pinch

Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large skillet (with a lid) over medium heat. Add a group of dumplings to the pan and cook in oil for two minutes. After two minutes, add 1/2 cup of water (or enough to come 1/3 of the way up the dumplings), cover the skillet with a lid (careful there will be some splatter!) and cook for 6-8 minutes or until all of the water has been absorbed. Repeat with remaining dumplings.

For dipping, Mandy threw together some soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, garlic, and green onion. I didn’t get the exact measurements or a picture, though.

I made beef and mushrooms with gravy and mashed potatoes,
Jesse put it all in one bowl and enjoyed 🙂


** This post was imported as a part of my top 30 from my old blog – What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen**

What a great post title, huh? Ribs. OK, maybe it’s not the most appetizing title I’ve had on this blog but I am really excited that I finally have a rib to write about! You see, I’ve been trying to make ribs for the past 4 years. I’ve tried a variety of different recipes and I was never that happy with them. One recipe called for boiling, then grilling, then slow cooking. Um hello, who has time for all of that? Not to mention the fact that the end result was just tough. Not at all worth the effort. But I was bound and determined to finally find a recipe that was worth my time enough to write a blog post and I have finally found it!

Sweet and Savory Country Style Ribs
(Adapted from


1 large onion, sliced and separated into rings
2 1/2 pounds boneless country-style pork ribs
1 (18 ounce) bottle barbecue sauce
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup spicy brown mustard – I used a brown mustard with horseradish in it
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper


Layer onion rings in the bottom of a 5 qt crockpot and place the ribs on top of them.

In a large measuring cup (or small bowl), combine the rest of the ingredients.

Pour the sauce over the ribs and turn the crock pot on low.

Cook for 8-9 hours. (At about 6 hours I used a baster to remove some of the grease from the crockpot)

Remove the ribs from the crockpot and place on a foiled lined broiling pan. Spoon the remaining sauce and onions from the crockpot over the ribs. Broil on high for ~4 minutes. *I kept the oven door open and a close eye on them to make sure they didn’t burn. You just want the sauce to caramelize a little.

Ultra Crunchy Pork Chops


** This post was imported as a part of my top 30 from my old blog – What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen**

I can’t even remember how I got to this other blog, but boy am I glad I did! These pork chops were FANTASTIC. The inside was juicy and tender and the outside was crisp and flavorful. Really the perfect combination. I’m not sure I will ever be able to go back to a can of bread crumbs. That’s how good these were. The other great thing about this recipe is that it requires no frying and minimal oil. Just enough oil to crisp up the bread crumbs. I served this with roasted asparagus (tossed in EVOO, garlic, salt and pepper) and mashed potatoes. I know the mashed potatoes are a shocker, we never have mashed potatoes, LOL. What can I say, we like our starches!

Ultra Crunchy Pork Chops
(Source: Cooks Illustrated Feb 2008, as seen on SugarandSpice)

4 boneless center-cut pork chops, 6 to 8 ounces each, 3/4 to 1 inch thick, trimmed of excess fat
4 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into 1 inch pieces (I used whole wheat bread)
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tbsp)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tbsp)
2 tbsp. vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
Ground black pepper
2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme leaves (I used dry)
2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley leaves (I used dry)
1/4 cup plus 6 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
3 large egg whites
3 tbsp. Dijon mustard
Lemon wedges (I skipped the lemon wedges)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.

Pulse bread in food processor until coarsely ground, about eight 1-second pulses (you should have 3 1/2 cups crumbs). Transfer crumbs to rimmed baking sheet and add shallot, garlic, oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Toss until crumbs are evenly coated with oil. Bake until deep golden brown and dry, about 15 minutes, stirring twice during baking time. (Do not turn off oven.) Cool to room temperature. Toss crumbs with Parmesan, thyme, and parsley.

Place 1/4 cup flour in pie plate. In second pie plate, whisk egg whites and mustard until combined; add remaining 6 tbsp. flour and whisk until almost smooth, with pea-sized lumps remaining.

Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees. Spray wire rack with nonstick cooking spray and place in rimmed baking sheet. Season chops with pepper. Dredge 1 pork chop in flour, shake off excess. Using tongs, coat with egg mixture; let excess drip off. Coat all sides of chop with bread crumb mixture, pressing gently so that thick layer of crumbs adheres to chop. Transfer breaded chop to wire rack. Repeat with remaining 3 chops.

Bake until instant-read thermometer inserted in center of chops registered 150 degrees, 17 to 25 minutes. Let rest on rack 5 minutes before serving with lemon wedges.