Pulled Pork Sliders with Fried Oysters

Pulled Pork Sliders with Fried Oysters

Chef Erin Zircher of Cru in Nantucket, MA, created a recipe for Pulled Pork Sliders with Fried Oysters for the recent Pork Crawl event on Nantucket Island, sponsored by The National Pork Board. Her recipe starts with boneless pork butt, and features condiments such as bread and butter pickles and smoked pepper aioli. Fried oysters top off each slider, adding a regional note. The bread? Soft sesame seed buns.

From: Erin Zircher, Cru, Nantucket, MA. This recipe was served at the 2013 Pork Crawl event sponsored by the National Pork Board. Yield: 8 servings.

Pulled Pork:
1 boneless pork butt (5-lb. average)
2 bay leaves
½ cinnamon stick
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig sage
1 red jalapeno, cut in half
4 whole garlic cloves
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 white onion, roughly chopped
½ cup cider vinegar
2 cups water or chicken stock

Smoked Paprika Aioli:
1 cup store-bought mayonnaise
1 tsp. smoked sweet paprika
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
to taste, pepper sauce

Crispy Fried Oysters:
8 medium to large-sized oysters, shucked
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
3 eggs, whisked

For serving:
8 very soft sesame seed buns
as needed for garnish, bread and butter pickles
as needed for serving, Bibb lettuce

For pulled pork: Season pork with salt and pepper. Arrange the rest of the ingredients in casserole dish. Place pork on top of vegetables, herbs and spices. Pour liquid into the dish as well. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 3 hours at 325°F until meat is very tender. This step can be done a few days in advance and the dish left covered in the refrigerator.

An hour before serving, place pork and its juices into a large sauce pot on stove. Slowly reduce the liquid with pork over medium-low heat. As pork is reducing and absorbing liquid, gently shred meat with two forks. Vegetables can also be shredded into the meat. Taste for seasoning and adjust with more salt or vinegar to taste.

For smoked paprika aioli: Mix to combine ingredients.

For crispy fried oysters: One at a time, lightly dip each oyster first into flour, then into beaten egg, and last, into the panko breadcrumbs. Place breaded oysters on sheet of waxed or parchment paper in refrigerator until ready to fry. Heat canola oil or vegetable oil to 350°F. Gently lower oysters into oil. Fry until light golden brown, turning once. Remove with slotted spoon to some paper towels or newspaper. Season with salt and place one oyster on each pork slider.

To serve sliders: Serve pulled pork on very soft sesame buns with bread and butter pickles, Bibb lettuce, smoked paprika aioli and one crispy fried oyster per slider.