Erick’s birthday & Court’s BBQ

Erick turned 28 yesterday. I love celebrating birthdays — especially celebrating my husband’s birthday. He picks his favorite foods for me to make and we invite a bunch of people over. Birthdays = parties. And you know us, we love parties. And one of the extra fun bonuses about this party is that one of our friends and co-workers, Lee, shares a birthday with Erick. Double the fun, people. Double the fun.

Erick & Lee with their birthday pies!

Erick & Lee with their birthday pies! — and Matt photo bombing — typical 😉

The men requested BBQ for their birthday weekend so naturally we did pulled pork, cole slaw, grilled corn and baked beans. I even made my own BBQ sauce to make it extra special. And for reals people — I impressed myself. Oh. My. Gosh. It was so good.

Besides the corn and the pies, all the food I had never made before. Some would say that’s risky, but honestly, if the recipes come from chefs you trust, you should be good to go. I made my own tweaks to the recipes along the way, but that’s the beauty of cooking. There are no rules — do what you want. Baking is another story but that’s a tale for another day.

Pulled pork & cole slaw

This is what the sandwiches looked like (if you put coleslaw on the top of yours like I do — which you should). I’m so sad there aren’t any left overs. My biggest regret from the evening is that I didn’t lick the inside of my crock pot when the last of the pork was dished out. I doubt my friends would have judged me.

A few of our friends have already asked for the recipe so here you go. 🙂 I actually combined three different pulled pork recipes to make my own — so a big shout out to my bro-in-law Gary, Deb from Smitten Kitchen, and Mr. Alton Brown. I wouldn’t still be drooling on Monday without you.

Enjoy my friends!

Court’s Pulled Pork

adapted from Alton Brown, Smitten Kitchen & Gary Cooper
serves 12

2 liter bottle of Dr. Pepper
6 to 8 pound Pork Butt

1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
1 teaspoon whole fennel seed
1 teaspoon whole coriander
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon paprika

  1. Place pork butt in a deep bowl/pot/tupperware container. Pour Dr. Pepper over top of the pork making sure it is completely submerged in the pop, cover, and let sit in refrigerator for a minimum of 8 hours. 12 hours is ideal.
  2. Place cumin seed, fennel seed, and coriander in coffee grinder and grind fine. Transfer to a small mixing bowl and stir in salt, pepper, chili powder, onion powder, and paprika.
  3. Remove pork from Dr. Pepper and pat dry. Sift the rub evenly over the shoulder and then pat onto the meat making sure as much of the rub as possible adheres.
  4. Place pork in crock pot turned on High and cook for 10 to 12 hours. Begin checking meat for doneness after 10 hours of cooking time. Use fork to check for doneness. Meat is done when it falls apart easily when pulling with a fork. Once done, remove the larger chunks of fat and any bones from the crock pot. Pull meat apart with 2 forks and turn your crock pot down to Warm.
  5. Serve as sandwich with coleslaw and BBQ sauce.

Traditional BBQ Sauce

adapted from

2 cups ketchup
3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons  Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons molasses
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves of garlic, minced

  1. Add all ingredients to a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, and continue simmering for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Place in an airtight container — I used a mason jar. Keeps refrigerated for up to one week.


adapted from

1/2 small head green cabbage
1/2 small head red cabbage
4 large carrots, scrubbed and shredded
1/2 cup chopped fresh green onions
2 cups mayonnaise, low-fat is fine, as is swapping half with yogurt
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or more to taste)

  1. Prepare the vegetables: Halve the cabbage halves and cut out the cores. Slice the cabbage as thinly as you can with a sharp knife.  Transfer chopped cabbage into a large bowl, discarding any very large pieces. Stir in the shredded carrot and green onion.
  2. Make the dressing: Mix the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, celery seed, sugar, salt and pepper in a smaller bowl.
  3. An hour before serving, toss the cabbage mixture with dressing to taste –- you will probably not need all of it, but it keeps in the fridge for weeks –- and adjust seasonings as needed.
  4. Note: Vegetables can be prepped and dressing can be the day before.

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