Introduction: Smoked Beer-cheese Pulled Pork Sandwich!
If you are like most Americans, you will be addicted to cheese! I know I am. Cheese makes anything you're eating way better and here's a recipe to show you how.
Yes, you are seeing the picture correctly! This is a Smoked beer-cheese pulled pork grilled cheese sandwich!! It is heavenly and delicious and pretty much everything your imagination wants it to be right now! With a carefree Saturday and a couple hours, you can have this amazing, unforgettable sandwich in your mouth in no time. This recipe is pretty easy as half of it is simply using a crock pot and a grill for smoking purposes. So with nothing fancy or extra stressful, you can find all items needed your local grocery store. I personally feel these sandwiches can easily be sold in a BBQ restaurant. Let me show you how to make a piece of heaven!
Step 1: What You Need
What you need for this is nothing out of the ordinary. Simple and quite frankly, fun! Most of this is simply to eye-ball what you need so don't be afraid of being precise with the amounts of the ingredients.
you will need...
A slow cooker
amaz-n smoker ( to smoke the cheese. although we just modified and made our own. We will show you how we did it)
smoked wood pellets (any flavor, but I recommend a hickory)
1 -2lb pork butt/shoulder
1/2 cup of chopped onion
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
4-5 chopped garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste
12 ounces of a dark beer (or your favorite) for me I choose Sam Adams Winter Lager
half a jar of your favorite BBQ sauce plus additional for drizzling
grilled cheese sandwiches
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/3 cup of your favorite beer
1/4 cup milk
3-4 ounces freshly grated smoked white cheddar cheese
4 slices slices white bread
softened butter for spreading
Step 2: Smoke Your Cheese First
Cheese is one of my most favorite things to eat! Even being lactose intolerant, I find myself gorging on delicious pizza or anything to satisfy my cheese cravings. It's even scientifically proven that cheese can be addicting!! Curse you cheese!
For this recipe, we are using Vermont White cheddar from Boars Head.
A great tasting cheese can always be elevated by something called cold smoking. It's called cold smoking because you do not use fire or heat to cook the cheese, you just use smoke to infuse it with flavor over a few hours.
To start, all you need is a grill, some smoking wood pellets and something called amaz-n- smoker. However for us, we simply bought some thin grill grates and bent them to match one to save some cash. You can see how we bent the grate in the pictures provided. The grill plates cost $4.95 and it came with a pack of 3. So no brainer there, we made our own amazin-ly cheap smoker. When ready to bend them, essentially you are making a square arch to put the pellets in. Worked great for us and we saved some $. Always a win.
Light the smoked wood pellets, place the cheese on the other side of the grill (away from the smoldering pellets) and simply close the grill and let it smoke for 2 hours. Keep an eye on it and make sure the smoke is still rising from the vents.. Like your grill is having a secret party without you... After 2 hours wrap it up with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. The longer the cheese rests, the better the smokey flavor. So you can smoke the cheese right before you decide to cook the pork or you can do it days ahead (recommended).
In case you were wondering, No, it's not hamster food. It's smoking pellets!!
~~a fun tip~~~ Did you know, cheddar is a cheese you can eat if you are lactose intolerant? Aged cheese in general most people with lactose intolerance can tolerate as most of the lactose is drained with the whey when making it. However, I wouldn't recommend gorging on them as the small traces of lactose can add up quick and cause havoc on your tummies. Trust me I know...
Step 3: Cook the Pork
After you have smoked your cheddar and it is safely wrapped in its cool home in the fridge, you can now cook the pork.
Sear the pork on the stove to get a nice flavor. Do this about 2-3 minutes per side.( this step is optional but adds more flavor!!)
chop up your garlic and onions and place them in the slow cooker.
Then place the pork on top of the chopped onions and garlic. Add the smoked paprika, dark beer, salt/pepper and BBQ sauce and then set the timer. The cook time will vary depending on your size of pork roast. It will be around 5-6 hours per pound on the low setting. I've seen recipes take 8 hours though. Low is slow is the way to go!! I'd save some BBQ sauce to use as extra toppings for the grilled cheese sandwich.
Flip the pork every couple hours or so while cooking.
Half way through the cook time make sure to shred the pork.
Step 4: To Make Smoked Beer-cheese for Grilled Cheese
What you are making here is a sort of cheese gravy for your grilled cheese. It'll be the cheese that holds your grilled cheese sandwich together and It's gonna be super delicious!! Your cheese cravings WILL be answered! What makes this grilled cheese sandwich extra good is that the cheese has been infused with a delicious smokey flavor and then sauteed with beer.. What more could you ask! (more cheese maybe??) yeah ok I'll give ya that one.
To make the smoked beer cheese sauce
Heat a small saute' pan on medium heat and add 1 tbs of unsalted butter. When the butter starts bubbling, add about a tablespoon of flour and whisk it in for a minute or 2.
Time to pop another bottle o' beer. I ain't complaining... This time I am using a lighter beer as to not cover the flavor of the cheddar (although I'm sure any type beer will suffice) Add about 1/3 cup of the beer to the flour mixture continuing to whisk. Then, whisk a quarter cup of milk in.
Add the grated smoked cheese in and continue whisking until cheese comes to a smooth consistency. Stir every few minutes while continuing to cook.
tip: Remember that these measurements depend on how much you are using. If your cheese mixture is too clumpy, add a bit more milk, if too runny, turn up the heat and add a bit more flour.
Now time to assemble your sandwiches. You're getting close to magic!
Step 5: Assembling the Sandwiches
This is your basic, MAKE A GRILLED CHEESE sandwich part... but with more savory ingredients! The makings should be pretty straight forward, but in case you don't know...
Heat another saute' pan on medium heat. Butter the outside of 4 pieces of the white bread (or more, depending on how much you cooked). I bought my own loaf of white bread to make extra big slices.
Place each slice butter-side down on the skillet, then top with a few handfuls of pulled pork. Cover in the warm smoked beer-cheese sauce, then top with the other slices or bread, butter-side up. Turn the sandwich over in about 2 minutes per side. Add any more BBQ sauce you may want at any time assembling.
Remember that the cheese is already melted and pork is already done, so it won't take as long to cook. Cook until each side is deeply golden and crispy and your desired effect of cheese heaven.
Step 6: Ta Dahh! Enjoy!!
We found we poured more beer than was required into the cheese and it tasted amazing! This cheese recipe can also go very well with a nachos or a dip in a football party perhaps.
I truly hope you enjoy your sandwiches. Let me know if you make it!! May the god of cheese be with you!