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After the successful first Blues On The Green picnic at Zilker Park where I made the grilled shrimp and arugula pitas , we decided to do another picnic.

This time Ben Kweller was playing, and the weather was much hotter. We found a shady spot and cracked open a bottle of cheap French wine and not even the heat could have ruined the relaxing atmosphere. I made a braised pork shoulder sandwich with fennel and arugula, and also a chocolate pecan pie. Because I was so rushed last time, and left an important component of the dish at home, I did as much cooking as possible the day before this time, and almost didn’t forget anything ( no napkins!)

The pork is marinaded in an Aleppo pepper and garlic rub, then marinaded over night, so you might want to start this dish 2 days early if you want to prepare the meat ahead of time like me.

To prepare the pork shoulder for marination, 6 1-inch cuts are made in the pork. Rub kosher salt all over the pork and through the cuts.

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Next Aleppo pepper, then chopped garlic are rubbed all over the pork, through the cuts.

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The pork is wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and chilled in the fridge over night.

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The next day, the pork is placed in a baking dish just big enough for the meat to fit.

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1/4 cup of water is poured over the meat, and a sheet of parchment paper placed over the meat.
the paper will help stop the aluminum foil from adding a metallic flavor to the meat.

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The dish is tightly covered in foil, and baked in a 325 degree oven for 2 and a half hours.

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When the pork is done, remove the foil and parchment, then pour out all about 1/4 cup of released juice. Reserve the roasting juice for later.

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Pour white wine vinegar over the meat and return the pan back into the oven and cook for another 10 minutes.

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Remove the pork and let cool to room temperature. The pork can be covered and chilled over night if you are using it the next day. When ready to assemble the sandwich, the pork is shredded by hand, then mixed in with the roasting pan juices.

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The day of the picnic, I warmed up the pork and packed all the ingredients in separate containers so I can assemble the sandwiches when we get there. I mixed the dressing for the fennel in a resealable container. The dressing is composed of olive oil and lemon juice, with salt and peppers added to taste.

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Thinly sliced fennel are tossed in the dressing. I left the arugula out of the dressing, in its own plastic bag, because I didn’t know how long it would take us to walk in the heat to the picnic, and the arugula may wilt on the way there.

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Once we got to the park and picked a place, I sliced little bread rolls I bought and started assembling the sandwiches.

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Fennel and arugula are arranged on top of the sandwiches.

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The sandwiches were a hit, and I even have some pork leftover for lunch the next day.

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Aleppo Pork and Fennel Sandwiches

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