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Simple Steps to Entertaining With Ease

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Oven-Barbecued Pork

(Family Features) - A recent Gallup poll found that Americans rank entertaining - along with filing tax returns and visiting the dentist - as their number one stress-related event. Why is something that should be enjoyable causing such anxiety?

"Sometimes just the word `entertaining' conjures up images of a picture-perfect home and fancy foods that are hard to pronounce, not to mention cook. But it doesn't have to be difficult," insists Pam Anderson, author of "Perfect Recipes for Having People Over." Anderson and the National Pork Board have some helpful advice for hassle-free entertaining this season:

  • Decide on the main course first. A large cut of meat that is easy to cook is usually an excellent option. Once you've nailed the cornerstone of your meal, the rest of the small stuff falls into place - whether you choose to cook, purchase or potluck.
  • Cook smarter, not harder. When choosing recipes, ask yourself questions such as, "How far ahead can I prepare this?" "How can I vary it?" and "What about leftovers?" For example, Anderson's Oven-Barbecued Pork is so tender and flavorful that your guests will think you slaved over it all day. Surprise! It cooks overnight, leaving little to do during a party. For a festive, no-fuss twist, Anderson suggests a "make-your-own carnitas" bar. Guests can build their own fork-free carnitas with the pulled pork, tortillas and purchased toppings like guacamole, sour cream and salsa. As a bonus, the delicious leftover pork is perfect for busy weeknight suppers - anything from sandwiches to pizzas to quesadillas.
  • Go with the flow. No matter how organized you might be, there are always times when life manages to interrupt your plans. Taking little steps, such as setting the table in advance, conveys, "Welcome - I'm ready," even when you're not. Remember, the most important part about entertaining is spending happy times with friends and family.

Oven-Barbecued Pork

  • 1 (8- to 9-pound) bone-in pork shoulder butt roast or fresh picnic shoulder
  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard

    1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 250F.
    2. Mix brown sugar, paprika, salt, pepper and garlic powder in small bowl. Pat roast dry and place on rack set over foil-lined shallow baking sheet. Lightly sprinkle top and sides of roast with salt, brush with half the mustard and sprinkle with half the spice rub. Carefully turn roast over. Sprinkle with a little salt, brush with remaining mustard and sprinkle with remaining spice rub. Roast until meat thermometer registers 170F, 9 to 11 hours, depending on size.
    3. Transfer pork to platter and cool long enough to handle, about 1 hour. Cut roast into 1- to 2-inch chunks and shred meat into large bowl. Add enough pan drippings to moisten pork and stir to combine.
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Serves 12 to 20

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Adapted from "Perfect Recipes for Having People Over," courtesy of Houghton Mifflin.
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SOURCE: National Pork Board

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