This is a sample of what my sister and I ate for dinner last week:
- Teriyaki salmon with quinoa
- Store-bought red velvet cake (Don’t judge! I was already craving it before I made it)
- Steak with Boursin cheese and homemade guac!
- Taco Cabana
- Chicken Pesto Pasta with Corn
We tend to fluctuate between cooking every meal and not cooking at all, between healthy and indulgent, fast food and slow, home-cooked meals. Maybe you’d think that as a food blogger, I would constantly be cooking up a storm in the kitchen. And, I do! I bake A TON and experiment with food all the time. But frankly, sometimes after a full day in the kitchen, I just want to sit on the couch and eat my trusty tortillas and queso from TC (Taco Cabana, for all you non-abbreving folk).
This recipe is perfect for those days when you know you’ll be exhausted, want a fast, delicious (seriously delicious) dinner, and don’t want to feel guilty about not cooking. Enter – the crockpot! I’ve actually never used a crockpot before today (I know, so behind the times). But I loved it. Love! I mean, you pop the ingredients in, let it go until dinner time, then pull out perfect, steaming, fork-tender pork? Sign me up.
I mean, what else can I do in this thing? Dessert?? Cake?! Okay, sorry, I’ll stop. And I know, I know, people have been using this device for years, but whatever. Let me have my fun. Anyway, I had originally planned to just do a super simple pulled pork recipe I found, requiring just pork, root beer, bbq sauce, and hamburger buns.
But then. I spied my beautifully ripening pineapple on the kitchen island and got to thinking. Pineapple rings . . . grilled pineapple rings? Perchance a Caribbean theme? And thus, my idea was born. I researched a few Caribbean jerk seasonings and then came up with my own recipe (based mainly on the ingredients available in my kitchen). Then, it was go time!
Yesterday morning, I rubbed the seasoning on the tenderloin, placed it in the crockpot, poured root beer on top, and just let it go. Magic. About 6 hours later, I pulled the pork apart with forks, switched out the root beer with bbq sauce, and then let it go for another hour. Some grilled pineapple rings (you can totally buy them from the store and quickly marinate), toasted hamburger buns, and voila! Your fast, incredibly tasty weeknight dinner is ready to go.
Crockpot Caribbean Jerk Pulled Pork Sandwiches w/ Grilled Pineapple Rings
Yield: 8 sandwiches
- 2 pounds of pork tenderloin
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon packed brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 (12 oz) can root beer
- 18 oz barbecue sauce (your favorite)
- 8 hamburger buns, lightly toasted
- 8 pineapple rings
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Dash of chili powder
- In small bowl, stir together thyme, brown sugar, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, mustard, paprika, and salt. Set aside 1/3 of the seasoning for later use. Coat tenderloin with olive oil and then rub the remaining 2/3 seasoning onto the meat. Place tenderloin in slow cooker, then pour root beer over the pork.
- Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. During this time, prep the pineapple: Place the rings in a large plastic bag with the honey, lemon juice, cinnamon, and chili powder. Shake to coat, and let marinate until the pork is almost done.
- At the 6-hour mark, drain and pull pork apart with a fork. Then, return to slow cooker, stir in barbecue sauce and 1/3 seasoning from beginning, and let cook for another hour. About 15 minutes before serving, preheat your indoor/outdoor grill (or skillet, if you don’t have a grill), lightly coat with olive oil, and grill pineapple for about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
- Place pulled Caribbean jerk pork on grilled hamburger bun, then top with a pineapple ring and enjoy!