End of Summer Soirée + A Pulled Pork Sandwich Recipe

Labor Day weekend marked the unofficial end to summer, however, we are not quite ready to give up the gorgeous weather just yet! There are still warm evenings ahead of us, which are opportunities to gather your friends and family around the table! We are huge advocates of getting together around the table and savoring every bite and sip, slowly and with intention, so we are throwing it back to one of our very first suppers to bring you some of our favorite tips and inspiration for a perfect end of summer outdoor dinner party, pulled pork recipe included! Grab an Aperol Spritz, get ready to dive into the details of hosting a perfect alfresco gathering, and share your own tips and ideas with us! 

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THE DETAILS

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Tabletop

For this dinner, we really wanted to let nature and late summer features shine. So we kept our tabletop styling pretty simple by using a beautiful crochet lace tablecloth to bring dimension to our base, and decorating our table and place settings with fruit and branches we picked from a crab apple tree on the farm and fig branches from a friend's tree!

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Styling other areas

Don't be afraid to set up a unique and special appetizer area away from your dinner table! It'll give your guests a chance to mingle with everyone, rather than going straight to the table and you'll get to play around with more styling elements and make it more fun!

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THE DRINKS 

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Cocktails

Some things just scream summer, watermelon is one of those things, beautiful and iconic! Take it a step forward by incorporating it into a refreshing cocktail:  

1.5 cups watermelon

6-8 ounces coconut water

1 ounce Vodka

1 ounce St-Germain

fresh squeezed lime, to taste

mint and lime slices for garnish

Blend together and serve over ice or freeze your watermelon and blend for a slushy version

 

You can also slice it up throw it on a pretty tray for your guests to enjoy. There - your summer dinner party is off to a winning start! 

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Vino

This gathering is the perfect opportunity to serve all your favorite wines, collected over the summer. Perfect meal for your go-to rosé or favorite white. You can place your bottles on the table and give your guests the option to try different wines. No need to be fancy here, this is a backyard casual affair after all! Need some help picking a bottle? Check out some of our favorite summer wines!

THE FOOD

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Appetizer

Keep your gathering relaxed by offering something that is easy for your guests to grab and go back to their mingling! Charcuterie and cheese are the best combination for that exact reason! Plus,. low maintenance for you—which means more time to engage with your loved ones!  For a more rustic look, keep your cheese whole and let your guests dig right in.  To elevate your board, bring in high end or unique items that are showstoppers. Some of our favorites? Saucisson D'Alsace from Olympia Provisions and anything from Vermont Creamery!

PS Add pickled green tomatoes on the side to feature the deliciousness of summer produce.

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Summer special

These hand-tossed flatbread dressed with a tangy cucumber and garlic tzatziki, caramelized local sweet onion falafels, and slow roasted cherry tomatoes for a beautiful pop of color and sweetness!

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Salad

Create a salad and let your summer ingredients shine. This simple salad is fresh cut chard from Andrea + Taylor Bemis' Tumbleweed Farm (fresh picked the morning of our supper!), fennel and figs.  Dress it with a simple vinaigrette that compliments the produce! We dressed this salad with a simple classic lemon vinaigrette and shaved parmesan.

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Unexpected touches

We are huge fans of pickled fruits and veggies, they add a perfect crunch and tartness to most dishes. Pickled grapes are not only stunning but they also bring unexpected sweetness when paired with pork.

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Keep the main simple

These pulled pork sandwiches are a perfect main dish for a casual summer dinner, especially when serving a crowd! They're incredibly flavorful and fool proof.! The pork shoulder is slow cooked with apple cider and vinegar to create the most juicy meat while dried figs and spices make for a heavenly mix to make this a slightly spicy and sweet sandwich.  We promise this is a crowd-pleaser, get the recipe below!


Slow Roasted Apple Cider Pork

A deliciously sweet and slightly spicy apple cider pork that is lovely on its own or placed on a brioche bun for an elevated pulled pork sandwich

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Ingredients:

    For the Dry Rub:
    • 2 tbsp paprika
    • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
    • 3 tbsp kosher salt
    • 1 tbsp chili powder
    • 6 tbsp brown sugar
    • 1 tbsp chipotle powder
    • 1 tbsp ground oregano
    • 1 tbsp powdered ginger
    • 2 tbsp cinnamon
    • 1 tbsp ground thyme
    • 1 tbsp ground nutmeg
    • 2 tbsp dry mustard powder
    • 2 tbsp garlic powder
    • 1 tbsp onion powder
    • 1 tsp ground cumin
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    • amount and ingredient name

    For the Pulled Pork:
    • 7-8 pound whole pork shoulder (with a decent layer of fat)
    • 2 cups apple cider
    • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 1 cup water
    • 2 onions, thinly sliced
    • 1-2 garlic heads, halved crosswise
    • Rosemary, 3-5 springs
    • Dried Figs, halved about 16 ounces

    Instructions:
    1. Mix together all of the dry rub ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
    2. Rub the entire pork shoulder liberally with the dry rub, cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge for about 8-12 hours.
    3. Preheat oven to 225 degrees F.
    4. Mix together the water, apple juice and apple cider vinegar. (Reserve about half of this mixture and place in a spray bottle if you have one. Alternately, reserve some for baste the pork.)
    5. Place pork shoulder in large roasting pan fat side up along with onion, garlic, rosemary, dried figs.
    6. Pour half of the apple cider mixture in the pan.
    7. Roast uncovered for about 1 hour and 45 minutes per pound.
    8. Spray or baste the pork about every 45 minutes with other half of the apple cider mixture.
    9. When the pork shoulder comes to about 190-195 degrees (the temperature needed for the fat and connective tissue to break down to be able to shred pork shoulder), tent it loosely with aluminum foil and let it sit to rest for 25-40 minutes before pulling the meat apart in medium to small pieces. Serve on Brioche bun with cabbage and/or pickled grapes.

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There you have it! Call your friends, start your late summer soiree planning asap, and don't forget to share your experience with us. Happy late, late summer!