Tag: recipe

My Pulled Pork Tacos

This is my pulled pork taco recipe, which has got me nearly universal praise (the only exception being some friends who eat kosher who couldn’t praise it for obvious reasons).

Pulled Pork Tacos

Finely chop up one cup of carrots, one cup of celery, and one cup of onion. (And don’t be a lazy ass about it; chop them down to the size of peas. Chop the carrots lengthwise so you don’t end up with medallions. Chop the celery lengthwise at least once to get rid of the U shape. If I see any U-shaped celery pieces, I will find you and hurt you.)

Get about 2 pounds of pork shoulder. (And do use shoulder. Save your loins for grilling or pan searing; today we braise.) Cut the shoulder into 2- to 3-inch cubes.

Lightly grease an cast iron dutch oven. (Note: If you are taking proper care of it it should already be lightly greased. Don’t worry, I don’t always do it either.) Get the dutch oven holy hot, then sear the hell out of the pork shoulder, all six sides of the cubes. At least three minutes per side at high heat. Remove the pork, and turn down the heat to medium, add the mirepoix and simmer for about 5-10 minutes (using the residual heat of the pan to get a nice sizzle—just for sound effects really, I don’t know it if makes it taste any better). Then add the pork back, cover the pork with chicken stock, some beer or white wine, and about cup of salsa. (Homemade would be great but there’s good jarred stuff. No beans in the salsa please.)

Cover the dutch over and simmer for awhile, then put the dutch oven in your real oven set to 250 degrees: just enough to boil the water. Check every so often to make sure there’s enough liquid left so it doesn’t burn.

When pork is tender enough to pull apart with a fork and much of the fluid had been reduced, remove from the big oven and pull the pork apart. (You could strain the mirepoix out if you wanted to, but I like to keep it in.)

Serve with Mexican toppings and tortillas.


Obviously using beef instead of pork is a simple variation. Ordinary stewing beef like you buy packaged at a supermarket (usually shoulder or chuck) would work fine, but you can up it a little by going for a flavorful cut such as sirlion tip or tri-tip. (Again, save the tenderest guts for dry heat.)

I find that braised beef can use a little ”something”. The braising process leaves it a little off: ”slightly” stringy and ”slightly” more bland than it should be. So I sear the beef in butter: it help bind it a little and enhances the flavor.

My Coca-Cola Cookie recipe

Here is my recipe for Coca-Cola Cookies. They are kind of like molasses cookies, but without the spices and replacing the molasses with syrupized Coca-Cola. It might be interesting to try this reciple with root beer, ginger ale, or even Pepsi, but I tried it with Coke because A. Coke is a classic American beverage, and B. Coke has an herbal pungency that other drinks don’t have.

If you’re kinky (and alcoholic) you might even try this with a malty beer and more sugar.


This will make about 30 2-inch cookies.


  • ¾ cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar, plus sugar to roll cookie dough in
  • 1 pretty-well beaten egg
  • ¾ liters Coca-Cola made with sugar [1]
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Making the Coca-Cola Syrup

This it the trickiest part. If you are experienced at making candy you should have no problem, but those who’ve never made it are going to find this to be a trial-and-error experience.

Short instructions:

Boil the cola until it reaches just below soft ball stage, a temperature of 232°F. The ¾ liters should by then be reduced to about ¼ cup.

Longer instructions:

Boil the ¾ liters of Coke in a saucepan, preferrably a non-stick one. You will need to reduce it to about ½ cup before it needs your attention again; this will take awhile. (This might be a good time to cream the sugar and butter together.)

You should have a temperature measuring device handy: a candy thermometer, or one of those infrared temperature scanners. If you have a candy thermometer, attach it to the saucepan and leave it there, making sure the ball isn’t touching the bottom or sides. The nice thing about boiling water is that it holds a constant temperature of 212°F. Therefore, while the Coke is boiling off you can make some last-minute calibrations to your measuring device. For example, if your device reads 208°F while the Coke is boiling, it’s probably reading about 4 degrees too low, so be sure to add 4 degrees to the reading to get the actual temperature [2]. The nature of the syrup can change dramatically even if you’re a few degrees off, so it’s important to be as close as possible.

Anyway, after 20 or so minutes of boiling, much of the water will have evaporated, leaving a high-enough concentration of sugar to affect the boiling point. At this stage the temperature of the liquid will start to rise again, rather quickly, so it needs your full attention. Turn down the heat a bit to give yourself more time to react.

You need to wait until the temperature reaches 232°F, then immediately remove it from the heat. (If you have an infrared scanner the reading is going to jump around a bit. Don’t just remove it from the heat the first time the number 232 appears on the display: wait until it’s jumping around in the vicinity of 232, say between 231 and 233.)

Keep in mind that the liquid will not be syrupy when it’s hot; you need to let it cool down before you can test its consistency. To expedite the cooling you can place the saucepan into a larger pan with a shallow layer of cool water. Once the liquid cools to below 110°F, try stirring it gently with a spoon. It should be a bit thicker than maple syrup but thinner than molasses. If it’s too thin, boil it again until it reaches 232°F. If the liquid is too thick, or if it has a crusty surface, or especially if it forms into solid thin strings when you pull the spoon away, you need to add some water or some more Coke, stir it up until it’s dissolved, and boil it again, stopping at a slightly lower temperature.

If everything has gone well, you will end up with about ¼ cup of Coca-Cola syrup.

Warning: Never stir the Coke while it’s boiling, and never, ever, ever scrape down the insides of the pan. Avoid jossling the pan too much when you remove it from the heat.

Note: If you use Coke sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) instead of sugar, these instructions will not work exactly. HFCS reaches its candy stages at higher temperatures than sucrose. When I made this recipe with HFCS Coke I found that waiting till the bubbles just begin to pile up is the time to remove it from the heat, but your mileage may vary.

Mixing the ingredients

These cookies use standard mixing, so if you are familiar with baking cookies you can skip this section. My instructions here are for hand mixing.

  1. Cream together the butter with the sugar until they are thoroughly and evenly mixed.
  2. Add the beaten egg and Coca-Cola syrup to the creamed sugar and mix thoroughly.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gently stir this mixture into the batter until all the flour is mixed in.

Advice: Beat the egg before adding; this will help to break up the egg whites. The egg is for texture, not structure.

Advice: Don’t overmix the dough after adding the flour. We’re not making pancakes here, so it’s not the end of the world if you overwork the flour a bit, but it’s still a good idea to keep it to a minimum.

Advice: Don’t substitute brown sugar. Don’t use whole wheat flour. Don’t add vanilla or any other spices. Any of these can overwhelm the Coke flavor, and make all the work you did reducing it into a syrup useless. I’d even suggest using a baking power without aluminum.

Baking the cookies

It helps to chill the dough a bit before dropping onto the cookie sheet since this dough is a bit on the sticky side.

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Lightly grease a cookie sheet or shallow baking pan. Add a layer of parchment to the pan (the grease will help keep it flat against the pan). Then lightly grease the parchment.
  3. Pluck out a tablespoon-sized clump of cookie dough, roll it into a ball between your palms, then roll the ball in some white sugar to give it a coating. Place the ball on the cookie sheet.
  4. Cover the cookie sheet with 10-20 little balls depending size. You might want to flatten the balls slightly with a wooden spoon; this will give the cookies a bit more of an even thickness.
  5. Place the cookie sheet in the oven and cook for 10 minutes. The cookies are done when the edges are firm. (The tops shouldn’t crack.)
  6. Remove from the oven, and immediately slide the parchment off the cookie sheet and onto a cool surface. Let cool, then eat, or store in a sealed container in layers separated by a paper towel.

Advice: Use the parchment. If you follow no other advice, follow this one. Baking on parchment is so much more convenient than baking right on the sheet it isn’t even funny.

Advice: Sometimes it’s really important to wait until the oven has reached full temperature before you start to bake. This is one of those times.

Advice: Use latex gloves when rolling the dough; it makes things much less messy.

Advice: Don’t place the cookies in a rectangular grid pattern; instead, stagger the rows. This will give the cookies a bit more room on the pan.

Advice: Don’t wait till the cookies look done. When the edges look barely done, they’re done. Take them out.


[1] Where I live, I can easily buy Mexican Coke, which is made with sugar, year round. I suspect there is enough demand for Coke with real sugar that most areas will have some shops that carry it. Look in specialty stores and beverage distributors for it. Otherwise you might have to wait till Passover to get Kosher Coke, which is a bit suboptimal since most people make cookies near Christmastime.

[2] This was the case for my infrared scanner. It turns out that these devices make some assumptions about the emission spectra of the thing it’s measuring, and sometimes it’s off by a few degrees. I’ve noticed that it tends to measure things that are dark-colored a few degrees below more brightly-colored items.

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