Driving through the sleepy little town of Petaluma, California, known for its eggs and dairy, you might see no reason to pull into an undistinguished strip mall. Way in the back left corner of the parking lot, near Leo’s Vacuum Cleaners and a deserted nail salon, sits a diamond in the rough called Dempsy’s Brewery. First surprise—the charming atmosphere. If it’s warm, sit outside overlooking the Petaluma River. In inclement weather, my first choice is the comfortable worn wooden booth directly across from the kitchen window, permitting a preview of outgoing dishes punctuated with lively shouts of “mas papas fritas, por favor!” and “con tomate!” Second, the beer rocks, with a selection of ales including their classic Red Rooster, Irish Ale and Ugly Dog Stout plus a variety of intriguing seasonal offerings. Stop by the bar and refill your jug for later that evening. We did. What more can you expect from a brewery—perhaps a pile of Buffalo wings or potato skins? That’s where the tertiary layer of this unassuming treasure comes in; the food transcends brew pub fare and rises to the level of some of the best restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area. Seasonal produce from the owner’s own farm star in imaginative combinations from all ethnicities. The menu changes daily, and might include a Mexican posole, a Greek hummus plate, or a mixed plate of little gems like fresh caperberries, home made flat bread and beet salad. Determined to recreate a orange/chipolte pork sandwich served with cole slaw on soft potato bread I interrogated various waiters and cooking staff, extracting one or two ingredients from each. We improvised the rest, and although it’s not an exact recreation, came up with this equally flavorful rendition.
Spice Encrusted Pork in Orange Chipotle Sauce
- 3 lbs pork roast
- mesquite chips
Spice Blend for Pork
- 2 tsp organic granulated onion
- 1 tsp organic ground cumin
- 1 tsp organic ground coriander
- 1 tsp organic ground orange peel
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp organic ground black peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp organic ground cayenne
- 1/2 gallon orange juice
- 6 oz Guiness Stout or other dark beer
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- canned chipotles from 1-3 depending on your heat tolerance or addiction, pureed
- 1 cup brown sugar
Wash and pat dry pork roast.
Massage spice mixture into pork.
Grill pork on indirect heat, using mesquite chips. This takes several hours. Use a meat thermometer.
Combine sauce ingredients and bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer until reduced and thickened.
Let pork roast cool. Cut as thinly as possible. It may just come apart in shreds, which is fine.
Place pork in sauce and let the sauce soak in until you are ready to assemble the sandwiches.
Serve on soft white rolls, with enough fortitude to absorb the sauce, and with
Coleslaw with Fennel.