Cosmonaut Orange Chili Pork Sandwiches

I had fully expected to prepare today’s chili over a roaring fire, but life turned for the interesting as I unearthed the archeological find of the decade. The world’s largest crockpot had been tucked away for some time in a dark corner of the fishing shack.  I am not sure how I missed it all of these years.  It is large enough (and old enough) to have been spotted from space by the earliest cosmonauts.  Whatever perceived sense of accomplishment the Soviets might have enjoyed in “winning” the Space Race pales in comparison to marvel the engineers at Rival must have felt when their gargantuan crockpot began rolling off the assembly line.


There is a three and a half pound pork loin roast burning a hole in the freezer.  Making orange chili is a bit of a gamble, but baby needs a new pair of (running) shoes.  Let’s roll.




3 ½ pounds of pork loin roast.


1 C orange juice

8 oz tomato sauce

2 T chili powder

1 T soy sacue

1 t ground mustard

1 t paprika

1 T seasoned salt

¼ C Western Dressing

1 t Frank’s Wing Sauce

1/3 C mild salsa


Cosmonaut Orange Chili Pork Sandwiches

Cosmonaut Orange Chili Pork Sandwiches

Cosmonaut Orange Chili Pork Sandwichesb




  1. Cook roast in a slow cooker on low for 9-10 hours.
  2. Remove roast from slow cooker and allow it to cool enough to handle.
  3. Pour off fat, reserving ¼ C.
  4. Shred pork and return it to slow cooker along with ¼ C reserved fat.
  5. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  6. Cook on low for two hours.
  7. Serve on buns.


Tasting Notes:


Two lessons learned from the preparation of today’s chili.  1)  Wear a lifting belt when attempting to move anything matching the immense girth of this Rival crockpot.  2)  DO NOT add orange juice to a fine cut pork (such as loin roast).  The acidity imparted by the juice breaks down the wonderful stringy texture of loin roast.  Orange juice used with a lesser cut of pork would do quite well.  Here, however, it is a misstep.  I’d have done better sticking to a sauce based in a neutral pH liquid.  Experience is a mother (f….airly nurturing).  While the texture was a fail, the flavor was nice.  Notes of orange, chili, and sweet sauce were subtle, but clearly evident.  ITP tasters noted that the sandwiches were “good” but “not great”.  Driving the heat up with some jalapenos would have added an additional layer of complexity.   In sum, the slow cooker itself lent an other-worldly quality to this meal but the chili had its feet planted firmly on the ground.



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