Summer is my favorite season, for a lot of reasons. I love the hot weather, I love going to the pool and the beach, and I DEFINITELY love the food. One tradition that always seems to taste better during the summer months is barbecue–which, here in Georgia at least, means pulled pork sandwiches.
Unfortunately, the fatty “Boston Butt” that usually appears in BBQ pork sandwiches isn’t the most diet-friendly thing around. So, when I saw this recipe (on the Biggest Loser website), I knew I had to attempt it. I mean, come on–if you could potentially recreate even a little bit of that yummy BBQ flavor and still stay healthy, wouldn’t you give it a go? That’s what I thought.
The main difference between this recipe and a “normal” barbecue pork is a) the time, and b) the cut of meat. In terms of the former, the liquid smoke allows you to obtain that nice hickory flavor without smoking the meat for hours on end. This dish still involves about an hour of actual cook time, though, so plan accordingly. As far as meat goes, this recipe calls for trimmed pork tenderloin, which is much leaner (and has the benefit of being available in smaller quantities).
The results? It ain’t gonna win any awards at Memphis in May, but it sure is a tasty weeknight treat. My fiance even commented, “This doesn’t taste like something I should be eating on my diet!” My apartment smelled like a smokehouse in the end, too, which was much appreciated by all (except perhaps the dog, who was mad that he didn’t get to partake in the goodness). Leftovers were even tastier than the first round, as they had time to soak up a bit more flavor. It just goes to show you that eating healthy doesn’t have to mean sacrificing taste. Enjoy!
Note: I served my sandwiches with greens sauteed in olive oil. Very basic! But if you want a more creative take on greens, head on over to see Lemmonex. Tell her I sent you!
In a medium resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Add the pork. Seal the bag and shake to evenly coat the cubes. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
Preheat a medium nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the oil. Scatter the pork cubes into the pan. Cook, turning as needed, for about 5 minutes, or until pork is browned on all sides. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the orange juice, vinegar, and smoke flavoring. When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low so the mixture simmers. Cover the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour, or until the pork is very tender. Shred the pork pieces and mix in the barbecue sauce. Note: Don’t fret if there is cooking liquid left, and definitely don’t discard it! It’s yummy.
Five to ten minutes before serving, heat a little olive oil in a small skillet. Set over medium heat. Add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender.
Toast the buns (I use the broiler in my oven). Spoon half of the pork mixture onto each bun bottom. Top with onion and additional barbecue sauce if desired. Cover with the bun tops. Serve immediately.
Nutrition (per serving):316 calories, 28 g protein, 27 g carbs, 9 g fat (2 g saturated), 74 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 510 mg sodium