“In My Mother’s Kitchen” and Southern Pulled Pork Sandwiches

by Michael on February 27, 2012 · 20 comments


Comfort food. We all have a high emotional connection to foods that comfort us,  nourish us. For as long back as I can remember I turned to certain foods to lift me out of a mood, bring me some place else. We all have our favourites. Throughout the years I have lived through phases and changes in my preference, but they all accomplished the same thing. Back when I was young it was mac and cheese but that changed as my age changed. At one point or another I have experienced them all.

I remember when I first started dating W. Every chance I had I cooked for her. There were foods she loved and others she had never previously had. Some were misses, but some were hits. Sometimes, when the stars aligned, she was over the moon. The first time she had french onion soup was one of those times. And the first time I bought a pork shoulder at the local market and made pulled pork sandwiches was another. Since those days I add those dishes into rotation. But especially when W needs a lift. For as long as I have known her, pulled pork has that ability.

Throughout the years I have experimented with different recipes and ingredients when making it. Changing it up. I have always been happy with the results yet it doesnt’ stop me from trying something new. It’s the perfectionist in me when it comes to food. And the belief that one day I’d make and taste the best pulled pork sandwich possible. Well..

It happened years ago now. I almost remember the day when the food network started broadcasting here in Canada. Over the ten plus years I’ve seen shows come and go, with only two original cooks/chefs remaining. Trends and specialty programming were introduced. Others cancelled. Over the years only the best shows caught my attention and had me glued to my tv. One of those shows was Trish Magwood’s Party Dish, where Trish helped clients plan and execute parties. Unfortunately, the show only aired for two seasons, and I was sad to see it go. 

Trish came out with her first cookbook, DISH ENTERTAINS, back in 2008 and it went on to critical success. It won a James Beard award that year in the entertaining category.  I picked up that book and cooked from it over and over again, leaving stains and pen marks everywhere I turned. An obvious sign of my real appreciation for it. I leave notes in the columns and bend back my favourite pages.  I wondered for the last couple of years whether she would come out with a second book, if at all. I waited and waited.

A few weeks ago I was excited to find her latest cookbook on my doorstep, In My Mother’s Kitchen. I noticed it in the store a short while before and meant to pick up a copy, so I was thrilled to see it when I returned from work. I spent a good part of the evening flipping through the pages and making bookmarks of the recipes I wanted to try. One that stood out was a recipe for pulled pork so it was only a matter of time before I was going to be making it. So I did.

I used the recipe, ingredient for ingredient. I only made a small change, adding a sweet & spicy sauce to the shredded pork because I like a saucy sandwich and so does my wife. Plus, it works really well with pork. But I nibbled on the shredded pork before adding the sauce and it was fantastic. A slight hint of sweetness and incredibly moist and flavourful. Combined with the sauce and crunch of the slaw I use and it was arguably the best combination yet. And an incredibly delicious sandwich. W loved it just as much as I did, maybe more. The real sign that a recipe will work on repeat in our house.

What I particularly loved about this cookbook was the connection made between Trish, her mother and her mother’s mother.  This book is personal. Yet, accessible. It bridges generations and brings family together. It’s littered with her family’s favourite recipes. It actually reminded me of the connection I had in the kitchen growing up with my own mother and grandmother. And eating recipes that were tested and tried years and years before. Times may change, but great food doesn’t.

Comfort food. Family recipes. We all have connections to food because of moments and people. Mainly because of family and the food we serve each other. Spending hours in the kitchen making food for our loved ones in an attempt to show them just how much we care. I picked up on that through the pictures in this book and the recipes she shares us. And I can’t wait to open it up again and again and make recipes for my wife and family.

From my kitchen to yours,


P.S. I’ve recently been nominted for Best Food Photography on a Blog and would love your vote!!  Click here to vote: http://www.thekitchn.com/best-food-photography-on-a-blog-nominations-the-homies-2012-166623


Pulled Pork


  • 1 pork shoulder or butt, trimmed (2.5-3 pounds)
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup sweet apple cider
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. hot pepper flakes


  1. Put pork in a slow cooker. In a large bowl, combine all marinade ingredients. Pour over the pork, rubbing in. Cover and cook on medium for 8 hours.
  2. When done, shred the meat with a fork. Add sauce and mix until well combined.
  3. Serve with warm buns and your favourite fixings.


Sweet & Spicy Sauce

  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup soft brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1 tsp. cayenne powder
  • pinch of sea salt & cracked fresh pepper


  1. Whisk together all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Once smooth, remove from heat and cool until ready.







Leave a Comment

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Marnely Rodriguez February 27, 2012 at 8:30 am

Nothing makes me happier than pulled pork (well, pork in general) and topped with a crunchy slaw, even better! Gorgeous photos as always!


Lizzy (Good Things) February 27, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Mike, this looks so delicious, I could bite into the screen right now! Love your work!


Mom R February 27, 2012 at 6:48 pm

Love the pulled pork sandwich… definetely in my top five.. anxious to have another one :O)
pictures just want you to lean in and pick it up and take a bite!!


sippitysup February 27, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Southern Canada? ;-) GREG


Brian February 27, 2012 at 9:48 pm

I’m with you… we all have our comfort food. I can totally see why pulled pork would be yours. And how wonderful your house must have smelled!


Paula- bell'alimento February 27, 2012 at 10:07 pm

I’d love one or two of those right now… Smashingly delicious looking Mike!


Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul February 27, 2012 at 11:52 pm

Mmmmm…I was drooling from the first picture and paragraph Mike! What a fantastic recipe and sandwich!


marla February 28, 2012 at 12:15 am

Mike, these sandwiches do look like some pretty amazing comfort food. Thanks for sharing this book and recipe with us. The photos make me want to dive right in!


Maria February 28, 2012 at 10:43 am

Love the sweet and spicy sauce! Great looking sandwiches!


Isabelle @ Crumb February 28, 2012 at 1:18 pm

These sandwiches make me wish that summer would hurry up and come already… as much as I love pulled pork sandwiches, they just don’t taste the same when not I’m sitting under the open sky with my toes in the grass and a cold beer by my side. :)


Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic February 29, 2012 at 10:31 am

So true that we make such an emotional connection with food. This pulled pork sandwich sounds like wonderful comfort food, and something I would definitely want when I need some nourishment too :)


Sarah B. February 29, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Mike! Thank you for stopping by! So happy you did because these sandwiches, they’re insane! oh my, love your site! And I’m loving your styling too, especially that first photo MMM!


Meeta March 1, 2012 at 3:15 am

Oh Mike I am drooling so much I can’t string two words together! I have not made pulled pork in awhile and now I just need to get myself in the kitchen to make this. The sandwich is something I am sure Soeren will love too!


Javelin Warrior March 2, 2012 at 10:49 am

This looks so easy I feel I can overcome my fear of making pulled pork and attempt – thank you so much for sharing! This looks amazing – so juicy and tender…

I am featuring this post in today’s Friday Food Fetish roundup (with a link-back and attribution), so please let me know if you have any objections. It’s always a pleasure following your food…


Julia {The Roasted Root} March 13, 2012 at 10:11 am

Hey Mike! Pulled pork is something I could eat every day…especcially drenched in BBQ sauce. I like your elegant and flavor-packed approach to this sandwich! And I would have to cut that monster in half too in order to maintain some semblance of graceful eating. Great photos as always!


Jenny K. June 10, 2012 at 4:31 pm

I made this recipe today and I had to thank you! Your spicy-sweet sauce is amazing. Thanks for sharing you stories, recipes and beautiful pictures!


Tricia September 24, 2012 at 6:44 pm

Just wanted to drop in and say “thanks!” for the recipe! The pork was amazing and the sauce is so zippy! Loved it all!


Michael September 24, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Yay! So glad you like them. My wife also loves the sauce. Thanks for dropping in to let me know!


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