A little while back I wrote about peanut butter and provolone sandwiches. An old friend said he was eating one and it started me thinking about how little this kid's staple is used in actual meals. I know they use peanuts in Chinese, Thai and other Asian dishes, I know it's used in all varieties of dessert and Barbara Mandrell even sang about putting them in her Coke. So why not on a sandwich? Well, I gave it try on a pulled pork rib sandwich and it wasn't bad. Here's how I made it and my thoughts on the outcome.
The Peanuts in my Coke pulled pork rib sandwich
Take enough pork rib meat to feed your guest and throw it in a crockpot. Then take a bottle of Coke and pour until the meat is covered. I used regular Coke which has corn syrup for sweetener but I think it will be a little better if you used Coke based on cane sugar. Turn the crockpot on low and forget about it until evening.
About 30 minutes before you're ready to eat, and assuming it's been long enough to cook the meat as I left it in for about 8 hours, pull out that rib meat and pull all the meat off the bone. It should just slide right off. Then talk a chopping knife and cut down the big pieces. The meat is ready for the pan. If you're going to make sides, I made a soupy mac-n-cheese to go with the sandwich, then give yourself time to get them going. That's why I suggested 30 minutes prior to eating. You'll have to adjust to your needs here.
After you have your sides ready or at least close, throw all that meat in a hot pan with some of the liquid from the crockpot and cook it down to caramelize those sugars. I even reduced another batch of Coke from the crockpot for dipping. This helped with the dryish nature of the peanut butter and the toasted bread. I'll get to that later. While that meat sizzling and those sugars are caramelizing you can finish up your sides and start plating everything. I toasted the buns for my sandwiches but I think it would be good just steamed. I found the combination of peanut butter and the dry toasted bun to make the sandwich a little dry. The dipping juice make from reducing the Coke helped counter the dryness. There are several other ways I can think of but I'll leave it for you do decide the best way to make your sandwich.
I was a little surprised how well the peanut butter blended with the meat. You'd think one would overpower the other but they really did complement each other. I also noted that the meat didn't pick up as much sweetness from the Coke as I would have liked so that Coke reduction helped bring a better balance overall.
Well I hope you are now inspired to make your own experimental sandwich. If you do I'd like to hear about it.