Grubhouse’s Root Beer BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

As anyone who has sampled the wares from his Lancaster-based Rita’s Water Ice location can attest, Jim Lord loves levity in his life as a businessman. Since March 2013, locals have let his light-hearted nature sate their appetites for great food and gregarious interactions through the proprietor’s operation of Grubhouse.

“It’s a good time in Philadelphia for the food industry, so we’re thrilled to offer items of great value in a fun, casual environment,” Lord said. “We know there are so many options out there, so we strive to better ourselves each day and be accessible to everyone who wants high-quality yet affordable meals.”

The 35-seat spot, formerly a luncheonette, finds the owner building on his lifelong interest in making lips smack. As his first non-chain endeavor, Grubhouse peddles “middle brow” delights and has compelled Lord to look for involvement in civic association matters, particularly those of the West Passyunk Neighbors Association, whose Sept. 10 second annual SausageFest called on his culinary competence. Having hit his stride within the last year, he has grand ideas for the haven, including adding a bar, dinner hours, and more evening events, all ambitious aims given Grubhouse’s breakfast/lunch identity.

“I think I know more than when we began,” Lord said. “That means I have this constant desire to do things differently, and if that involves selling a lot of specials or making menu changes, I’ll do so to keep the momentum going. Many places don’t even make it this far, so I know the significance of respecting our customers and their tastes.”

Grubhouse has fetched considerable kudos for such creations as bacon cakes and Cap’n Crunch French toast, but Lord wanted to step away from the a.m. goodies and decided to offer the recipe for the destination’s Root Beer BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich ($8 at location, $9 online).

“It is definitely a popular item,” Lord proclaimed of the offering, the preparation for which is a three-person task that sees him handling the meat element. “I’ve loved making it for years. The process to make it is going to be so rewarding when you’ve finished the job because it’s so good.”

Ingredients for the Sauce:

1 cup of premium root beer

1 cup of ketchup

¼ cup of fresh lemon juice

¼ cup of orange juice

2 tablespoon of molasses

1 teaspoon of smoked paprika

½ teaspoon of ginger

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

Ingredients for the Coleslaw:

A small head of red cabbage, shredded

3 carrots, shredded

Diced scallions

¼ cup of olive oil

¼ cup of apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon of cumin

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of onion powder

1 teaspoon of white pepper

1 teaspoon of maple syrup

Directions for all:

Rub the boneless pork shoulder with dry rub spices. Cook the meat in a covered pan in the oven (set at 190 degrees) or a Crock-Pot (set on low) for seven to 10 hours. Pour eight ounces of premium root beer in the pan or pot. Pull apart immediately after cooking, and let sit in natural juices.

For the sauce, simmer all of the ingredients, and mix them.

For the coleslaw, combine all of the ingredients, and mix them thoroughly. Sauté the pork in the barbeque sauce, and serve on a brioche bun topped with the coleslaw. SPR

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Owner: Jim Lord

Opened: March 2013

2340 S. Hemberger St.


Jim Lord

Photos by Tina Garceau