Recipe Image
Carol Kicinski
Need a great dish to share with friends and family this Memorial Day? Try this recipe for gluten-free Cherry Cola Pulled Pork.

Tips for a safe gluten-free Memorial Day

Author Byline Image   Memorial Day is coming up, which means barbecues, cookouts, and pot luck parties. Such functions can be so much fun but can also strike terror in the hearts of the gluten sensitive! What can you safely eat? How can I be polite and safe at the same time? Am I going to starve?!
   Ok, first of all, relax. It takes something like 4-6 weeks to starve to death, so chances are you will not starve. Second, there are precautions you can take to ensure you will be able to safely eat.
   1. Ask that your meat be grilled on foil instead of directly on the grill to avoid cross contamination.
   2. Use only condiments that are in squeeze bottles so that you don’t run the risk of someone spreading a knife on their gluteny bun then putting it back in the jar filled with crumbs.
   3. Take a bag of gluten-free crackers with you so that you can enjoy dips and cheeses. However, if the cheese and dips are surrounded by gluten crackers and other dippers, stay clear.
   Sometimes the one thing you figure will be no problem at all, like the meat, turns out to be gluten infested. I once went to a barbecue where the chicken was marinated in a sauce that contained gluten.
Gluten-Free Cherry Cola Pulled Pork
Serves 8
3-4 pounds pork butt (can be called pork butt, pork shoulder or Boston butt) bone in or out
Kosher salt and black pepper
Gluten-free non-stick cooking spray
1 (20-ounce) bottle Coca Cola, not diet
1 (14-ounce) jar maraschino cherries, stems removed, liquid reserved
½ cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
*½-2 tablespoons chipotle puree, or to taste (optional)
8 gluten-free hamburger buns
4 tablespoons butter or dairy free butter, melted

*To make chipotle puree, blend a can of chipotle in adobo sauce in the blended until pureed. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator and use as desired.
   Season the pork butt generously with salt and pepper. Spray the inside of the slow cooker with cooking spray and pour in the cola. Puree the stemmed maraschino cherries with their liquid in a blender until smooth. Add to the cola and stir to combine. Add the pork butt and cook on low for 9-10 hours.
   Remove the pork from the slow cooker and pour the cooking liquid into a large sauce pan. Add the ketchup, mustard and chipotle puree to the cooking liquid, stir to combine and bring to a boil over high heat. Continue to boil until the liquid has reduced by about half, about 10 minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired.
   While the sauce is boiling, shred the pork with two forks and discard the bone if there is one. Add the pork to the pot with the sauce and toss to coat. Keep warm.
   Brush the cut sides of the hamburger buns with melted butter and cook on a hot skillet for a minute or two until toasted. Serve the hot pork on top of the toasted buns and top with coleslaw or toppings of choice.
Needless to say, that day I partied it up on salad. Woo-hoo. Not exactly the fun-filled meal I was looking forward to. Which leads me to my final tip:
   4. Bring something to share! It is not only polite but will also ensure you have something safe to enjoy. Personally, I always bring a main dish and a dessert. Almost always there is a salad or veggie dish I can enjoy but
even if there isn’t, with a main dish and dessert I am satisfied.
   I love this gluten-free Cherry Cola Pulled Pork – perfect for barbecue season and since part of it is made in a slow cooker, you can simply transfer the finished meat back into the slow cooker to keep it warm and to transport it easily.
   Here’s wishing you a fun and safe Memorial Day!