Pulled pork is a treat often reserved as an occasional indulgence. Which probably is good, since it tends to be made with some of the fattier pieces of pork, which then are smothered with a sugary sauce and piled on a white roll. Trouble is, we love pulled pork and we wanted a version we could feel good about enjoying a little more often.
The first change we made was the cut of meat. We used pork tenderloin. It is a very lean cut of meat that we simply boiled until tender in a flavorful broth.
As for the sauce, we decided to do something a little out of the ordinary. We went with a tangy vinaigrette-style sauce. This allowed us to serve it warm or cold and mix in some crunchy raw vegetables to add some color and texture.
Finally ... the bun. We opted to skip that entirely. After all, the pork is the star. So we borrowed an Asian trick and serve it wrapped in bibb lettuce leaves.
Pulled Pork Lettuce Wraps
1 ½ lbs. pork tenderloin, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 quart no-salt chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, smashed
3 bay leaves
1 t. whole cloves
1 T. pickling spice blend
¼ c. red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
1 T. olive oil
Splash of hot sauce
¼ c. low-fat sour cream
1 t. finely grated orange zest
1 red bell pepper, cored and finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
Bibb lettuce, to serve
In a large pot, combine the pork, stock, ½ teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of pepper, the garlic, bay leaves, cloves and pickling spice. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the pork is fork tender, about 1 hour.
Remove the pork from the liquid and allow to cool until easily handled. Using 2 forks or your fingers, shred or pull apart the pork into strands. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, hot sauce, sour cream and orange zest. Stir in the bell pepper, celery, carrot and the shredded pork. Season with salt and pepper. To serve, offer bowls of the pulled pork with lettuce leaves. Diners can spoon some of the pork into each leaf and eat as a wrap. Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 180 calories; 50 calories from fat (28 percent of total calories); 6 g fat (1.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 75 mg cholesterol; 4 g carbohydrate; 25 g protein; 1 g fiber; 90 mg sodium.