Columnist Caitlin Weigel checks out Sketch Burger, and describes her long overdue reunion with meat.
Welcome back dear reader to the Philly foodie kitchen adventure known as “Eats & Cheats.” I hope your summer was superb, full of prosciutto wrapped melon balls, watermelon, feta salads and never-ending pitchers of sangria.
But there are things far greater than summer savories – things larger and more important than your picnic potato salad or Greek yogurt and honey homemade popsicles. This week, we’re talking about something so big, they named a food group after it: meat.
While I love a cool summer fruit salad or a side of slaw, there is nothing that captures the taste of summer quite like a slab o’ meat.
I often find myself living an accidentally vegetarian lifestyle, as financial constraints steer my shopping cart towards the zucchinis and away from the T-bones. But make no mistake, dear reader, this columnist is a full-fledged, card-carrying carnivore.
After a long stint sans meat, my reunion with the fleshy protein can only be likened to the raptor feeding scene in “Jurassic Park.” Plop a fresh lamb on my plate and it’s devoured in seconds as archeologists watch in amazement. Raptor Caitlin’s feasting plan has a strict no-morsel-left-behind philosophy.
With a hankering for some meat between my molars, I set off for Sketch Burger, located at 413 E. Girard Ave. The interior was a bit cramped and plastered with various sketches previous customers have left behind (hence the name), so I chose to sit outside at one of the small tables in front of the brightly colored storefront.
The menu features a decent selection of burger options, though not so many as to overwhelm the diner. I was initially torn between the egg-laden Cyclops burger and the Truffle burger with mushrooms before deciding to forgo them both in favor of the Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork. A side of hand-cut Belgian fries with chipotle sauce and a cookies and cream milkshake topped off the order.
The meal was total bliss. The pulled pork was divine with the sweet tang of Dr. Pepper lingering the background of each bite. The bun was an excellent complement, never getting too soggy on the bottom, and the fries provided a salty contrast to the main attraction. While my milkshake was enjoyable, I don’t think it was worth the $5.25 I had to shell out.
Later, back at the lab, I begin my recreation process with an e-mail to dear old Dad for the family pulled pork recipe. A quick Google search yields a slew of recipes as well, and I begin to notice that most contained the magic words I love to see: slow cooker.
Slow cookers, also known as Crock-Pots, are magical devices in which you simply place all the ingredients, turn it on and wait for it to fill your home with delicious meaty scents of whatever sweet meal you’re concocting. They are not only easy enough for a freshman to operate, but they also beat the pants off any Glade Plug-In on the market.
The ingredient list is fairly simple to tackle – seasonings, sauces, and of course everyone’s favorite carbonated medical professional. The one difficult thing is the pork itself. The recipes I found all called for pork butt. Which means I had to ask the butcher for pork butt. Our conversation went as follows:
“Could I please have five pounds of pork butt?”
*Giggling* “You want what?”
It was totally fruitless because in the end the butcher had not only laughed at me, but also legitimately had no idea what I was talking about. A little extra research told me that pork butt is actually pork shoulder, a much less embarrassing pig part to request at your local Fro’ Gro.’
The end result? Absolute perfection. Pulled pork is so naturally delicious and adding the slow cooker aspect, it’s the ideal food to make. You really can’t mess it up. Though start-up costs of the pork may seem a little hefty, it yields enough to make it worth your while. And the pork itself is versatile enough that you can keep your leftovers interesting (pulled pork tacos with lime and garlic mayo! Pulled pork on your waffles! Pulled pork on top of mac’n’cheese!).
Sketch is a perfect place to take a date or an out of town friend, but definitely consider pulling your mom’s old Crock-Pot out of the crawl space and making up your own meat treat. It’s what your inner raptor-being would want.
Caitlin Weigel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.