Braised Pork Buns with Quick Pickled Cucumbers & Bean Sprouts
Yields 11 servings
2 teaspoons expeller-pressed grapeseed or canola oil
3.15 pounds Boston butt, cut into 3 pieces along natural muscle separation, trimmed of surface fat
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1⁄4 cup vermouth, rice wine or dry sherry
21⁄2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
1 small onion, sliced (about 1 cup)
3 tablespoons molasses (or honey)
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon honey
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 large cucumbers, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, seeded with a spoon, thinly sliced
1⁄8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
11 soft whole-wheat hamburger buns
23⁄4 cups mungbean sprouts
To make the pork: Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Season the pork on all sides with salt and pepper. When oil begins to shimmer, add pork and brown on all sides, about 4 minutes per side. Add browned pork to a slow cooker. Off of the heat, add the vermouth and then place on low heat, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon. Add contents of the skillet to the slow cooker, along with cabbage, onion, molasses, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and sesame seeds. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour; then reduce heat to low and cook for 4 hours (alternatively, cook the pork on low for the entire duration, 6 to 7 hours).
To make the cucumbers: One hour before serving, in a medium bowl, stir and dissolve the honey and salt into the rice vinegar and then add the cucumbers and pepper. Chill.
To assemble: Toast the buns cut side up under a broiler or in a toaster oven. Fill the buns with pork, drained cucumbers and bean sprouts.