Food: Springtime, baseball and festivals! |

Food: Springtime, baseball and festivals!

Lee Mathis
Free Press Food Columnist
Lee Mathis
Staff Photo |


Pulled pork sliders with avocado and caramelized onion

Serves: 8 (16 sliders)


• 2 teaspoons olive oil

• 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced into rings

• 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

• 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

• 2 ripe, fresh Hass avocados, seeded, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices

• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

• 16 small dinner rolls, sliced in half

• Pulled pork (see make-ahead recipe below)

• 16 thin slices low-fat Gouda cheese, cut to fit rolls


1. In a small skillet, heat oil over high heat. Add onion and stir, cooking for 6 minutes. Mix in vinegar and salt. Cook and stir an additional 3 minutes. Remove from pan.

2. Cut each avocado slice in half and toss with lemon juice.

3. To prepare sliders, top the bottom half of a roll with 1 heaping tablespoon of Pulled Pork, a slice of cheese, several cooked onions and four half slices of avocado. Add the roll top. Repeat process with all sliders.

Pulled pork recipe


• 1/2 teaspoon paprika

• 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

• 1 pound boneless pork shoulder roast, well trimmed of visible fat

• 1 tablespoon olive oil

• 1 small onion, chopped

• 1 clove garlic, finely chopped

• 1 1/3 cups apple juice

• 1/3 cup prepared barbecue sauce

• 1 tablespoon finely chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce


1. Up to 5 days before serving, combine paprika, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Lightly sprinkle some of the seasoning on the pork roast. Keep pork roast covered and refrigerated until cook time.

2. Heat oil in a 2-quart pot with lid over medium-high heat. Place pork roast in pot. Cook pork roast for 3-4 minutes or until browned. Turn and cook an additional 3-4 minutes or until browned; remove from pot.

3. Add onion and garlic to pot, stir and cook until golden brown. Stir in apple juice and remaining seasonings.

4. Return pork roast to pot. Bring liquid to a boil; then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cover tightly with lid and cook for 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is very tender. Remove pork roast from pot and let rest for 5-10 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Pour pot juices into a bowl; cover and refrigerate.

5. Shred pork roast, removing small amounts of fat as needed; cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

6. On the day the sliders are to be served, remove pot juices from refrigerator and skim off fat. Pour into small pot; bring to a boil. Stir in barbecue sauce and chipotle peppers. Mix in shredded pork meat and heat through. Keep warm until sliders are assembled.

**Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.

Note: The Pulled Pork for this recipe also can be prepared utilizing a slow cooker. Prepare Pulled Pork recipe as directed through Step 3. Then, transfer pork to a 4- to 6-quart electric slow cooker. Bring onion, garlic and juice mixture to a boil; reduce heat to a gentle simmer and transfer mixture to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low setting for 2 1/2-3 hours or until meat is very tender and falling apart. Continue recipe as directed.


Ahh, the first vestiges of spring are here! Finally, we seem to have shaken the cold tendrils of winter.

The apricot trees have sprung their white blossoms, we are starting to see the first buds on the peach trees and baseball is back in full swing!

To many of us who grew up out east, opening day of baseball was the true sign that spring arrived. Here in the Grand Valley, we already have the Colorado Rockies on TV and radio, Colorado Mesa University is already in action and all of our local high school teams are at work.

If you want to see a game, chances are there is one near you. Our own Grand Junction Rockies home opener is June 20.

Springtime also brings the beginning of our fair and festival season. Palisade has its inaugural Brews & Cruise Festival in Memorial Park on Saturday, May 3; The Grand Junction Art & Wine Festival is on May 9-10; and Fruita hosts its Mike The Headless Chicken Festival on May 16-17. (We will be at the Brews & Cruise Festival, as well as the Mike the Headless Chicken Festival!)

So, put away your mukluks and heavy parkas, wash the winter off your trucks, grab your kids and/or friends and head out, see some games, take in some of the festivals …

It’s Springtime!

Time for a giveaway!! Email us your favorite thing about spring here in western Colorado! We will pick one winner to get — drum roll please — an IN-N-OUT decal!

Our website of the week is on baseball food from our friends at

GJ Free Press food columnist Lee Mathis is the founder and owner of Decadence Gourmet Cheesecakes and Catering. He can be reached via email at, on the Web at, or by calling 970-256-4688. Also, find him on the Web by searching Facebook, Pinterest or by visiting Twitter (@decadenceGJ).

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