Chopped pork makes memorable sloppy joes

 As an alternative to beef for your next sloppy sandwich, try these Barbecue Porky Joes made with chopped pork loin.  (Associated Press)
As an alternative to beef for your next sloppy sandwich, try these Barbecue Porky Joes made with chopped pork loin. (Associated Press)

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.

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