The idea behind this pork version of the sloppy joe sandwich wasn’t just to come up with an alternative to ground beef.
I wanted something with a totally different – dare I say, meaty – texture. Because face it, sloppy joes may be tasty, but the flavor and texture of whatever meat goes into them usually gets lost beneath a heavy sauce.
So rather than use ground meat, I opted for chopped. About 10 seconds in the food processor was all it took to get meaty chunks perfect for piling onto a bun.
I opted for pork because, well, that’s what I had handy. But I did test the approach later with beef. It was good, but it was a little too steak-like, as though it should have cheese on it instead of sauce. Pork loin cutlets and boneless country-style pork ribs produced the best results.
To keep things easy, I used bottled barbecue sauce, which produced incredibly savory, sweet, tangy joes. You also could substitute your own by blending tomato paste, garlic powder, salt, pepper, brown sugar, cumin and a bit of cider vinegar.
Barbecue Porky Joes
1 pound pork loin cutlets (or other lean cut of pork)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, cored and diced
1 cup prepared barbecue sauce
4 hamburger buns
Place the pork in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the pork in short bursts until well chopped, but not finely ground.
In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the onion and pepper and sauté for 6 minutes. Add the pork and sauté until lightly browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in the barbecue sauce, then serve on the buns.
Yield: 4 servings
Nutrition information per serving: 440 calories, 14 grams fat (4 grams saturated), 26 grams protein, 52 grams carbohydrate, 56 milligrams cholesterol, 2 grams dietary fiber, 1,398 milligrams sodium.