St. Louis Pork Steak Sliders

In St. Louis, pork steaks are grilled first and then simmered in Maull's, a locally made barbecue sauce. This dish follows that tradition, substituting a terrific homemade sauce. You'll want to make this recipe ahead; it takes a while to cook and the meat tastes just as good, if not better, reheated the next day.

BARBECUE SAUCE

1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 (12-oz.) can beer or nonalcoholic beer
1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce
1 cup chili sauce
1/3 cup molasses
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika*
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

PORK

4 cups water
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf, broken
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
4 lb. bone-in thin-cut pork shoulder steaks or pork loin blade chops (scant 1/2 inch thick)
16 small hamburger-style slider buns, split

1. Cook onion in oil in large saucepan over medium heat 4 minutes or until onion is softened. Add garlic and mustard; cook and stir 30 seconds. Stir in all remaining barbecue sauce ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until slightly reduced and flavors are blended, stirring occasionally. (Sauce can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Reheat before using.)

2. Heat grill. Bring all pork ingredients except pork and buns to a simmer in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat; place near grill.

3. Grill pork, covered, over medium heat or coals 4 minutes, turning once. With tongs, dunk pork in vinegar mixture. Grill an additional 20 minutes, turning and dunking in vinegar mixture every 4 minutes. Brush pork with barbecue sauce; grill an additional 1 minute per side. Place in large pot, along with remaining sauce.

4. Simmer, covered, over low heat 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes or until pork is fork-tender and sauce is slightly reduced. Remove and discard bones; shred pork. (Pork can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Reheat before serving.) Serve pork and sauce in buns.

16 sliders

PER SLIDER: 315 calories, 13 g total fat (4 g saturated fat), 20.5 g protein, 27 g carbohydrate, 50 mg cholesterol, 535 mg sodium, 2 g fiber

TIP *Smoked paprika comes in mild and hot versions and adds a pleasant smoky taste to foods. It can be found in markets carrying foods from Spain or online at www.tienda.com. Chipotle powder can be substituted for smoked paprika but will add a spicy taste to foods.


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