Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Slow-Cooked-Pork Rolls with Ranchero Sauce

Most often, it’s the simplest ingredients and the simplest preparation that result in the most flavorful, welcoming dishes you can take to the dinner table. This is one of them.

Slowly cooked pork roast is succulent on its own, even when it’s on a sandwich. Dress it up with rich, smoky ranchero sauce and melt a little cheese over it to turn these simple baked sandwich rolls into one delicious dish.  

I added plenty of garlic to the braising ingredients because…well, it’s garlic, but you can use as much (or as little) as you like.

I’m a firm believer that ranchero sauce is a natural accompaniment to pulled pork, and it really is easy to make. If you don’t want to go that route, a savory marinara would make a tasty topping as well.

Note: There's a lot of pork here, so brown the pieces in two batches in order to ensure nice color. If you shove it all in together, the meat will steam (and turn grayish) instead of brown.

Serves 6

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 3 lbs pork shoulder (Boston butt), trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 tsp chile flakes     
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth   
  • 6 soft 6-inch rolls (such as hoagie buns), centers hollowed out of both tops and bottoms
  • 1 recipe ranchero sauce, warmed
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded monetary jack cheese
Pork Shoulder Roast
Pork Pieces
Hollow Out the Rolls
Ranchero Sauce
  1. Preheat the oven to 275° F.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven (or heavy, ovenproof pot) over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add half the pork and season with salt and pepper. Sear until beginning to brown, 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer the 1st batch to a plate and repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and pork. (Do not remove the 2nd batch.)
  3. Return the 1st batch of pork to the pot and scatter the garlic cloves around it. Sprinkle with chile flakes and add the broth. Bring to a simmer.
  4. Cover the pot tightly and place in the oven. Braise the pork until fork-tender, 2-1/2 hours, turning halfway through.
Browned 1st Batch
Garlic Added
Pork Ready to Braise
Pork Halfway Through
  1. Transfer the pork to a plate. (Leave the oven on.) When the pork is cool enough to handle, pull the meat into shreds.
Braised Pork 
Pulled Pork
  1. Increase the oven temperature to 350° F and line a large baking sheet with foil.
  2. Place the hollowed-out rolls on the baking sheet and fill the bottom halves with pulled pork. Spoon a generous amount of ranchero sauce on top.
  3. Divide the cheese on top of the pork and sauce. Place the tops on the sandwiches and bake until the cheese has melted and the rolls begin to brown, about 5 minutes, depending on your oven.
Pork-Filled Roll
Ranchero Sauce Added 
Cheese Added
Slice each baked roll in half on the diagonal serve hot.

Slow-Cooked Pork Rolls with Ranchero Sauce


  1. I want one of those sandwiches right now! These look awesome. Thanks for linking to What'd You Do This Weekend. Hope to see you again on Monday.


  2. Yeah, I could eat one again too :)

    Thanks much---always appreciated!