We had friends over last night, so the girls could watch Strictly and the boys watch Australia vs England,( kinda wish we hadn’t done the last bit). It was the day after my birthday and I found little energy to cook and we wanted chatty food, you know, nothing heavy or difficult to eat so we could enjoy being in company and chill. so we decided on pulled pork with salad and jacket spud and Asian slaw.
I do pulled pork at work a lot, but we use a 5kg joint and sell out in minutes. it also takes bugger all effort, so it was an easy decision to make.
There are two ways to do a pulled pork;
- dried herbs and spices are used to coat the outside of the meat to lock in the flavour – this will leave it very tender inside with a slightly burnt looking outside. it will pull well, but can also be sliced to make awesome sandwiches.
- Almost braised in a tin foil package with spices and juices. this is a much wetter dish and it is yummy as the meat sucks up all the juices and so becomes sweeter and sticky.
it is normal practice to make pulled pork in a BBQ or in a smoker to get the intense smoked flavour but you don’t need to.
Last year I was lucky enough to be sent to a day watching Andy Annat ( who is a three times England BBQ champ), the recipe I use was inspired by him, so cheers Mr. Annat! he did a lot more faffing around than I do, he was injecting the pork for juice and using rosemary branches to baste the meat with, he even went as far as injecting lemons with butter and then cooking those then pouring those on to! I might find time to write up that day so you can see the myriad of awesome ideas he used.
Although I used shoulder this time, another great cut is collar. The name of this cut tells you where it comes from, and apart from collar steaks butchers don’t use it much except for mincing/ cubing, so you should be able to get it a lot cheaper.My local butcher has caught on to my use of it and is charging the same as shoulder now, its a pain because it is the only shop I will use when I cant get to the Farmers Market. I must remember to ask Forest Beef to do me some collars when I next get to Taunton Farmers Market.
Pulled pork might take ages to cook but needs absolutely minimum effort and goes well with just about anything. I have used it to make nachos and chili better, topped a burger with it, in a wrap or in a bap. Serve it with slaws and salads, jacket or chips, it really is pretty versatile.
I am a great believer in using the best ingredients you can, you don’t need,to but it does make a difference, honest! A bog standard shoulder from any of the big four normally cost about a fiver a kilo. My supplier at the farmers market cost less than 2 pound more, well worth it if you ask me.
I basically feed five of us for about 15 pounds even using the best ingredients I could find.
1 kg of pork
250 ml of apple juice ( I used Cloudy Apple and Lime juice from Bloom Berry, a local supplier who are frankly out of this world)
50 g honey -again posh stuff from Greece (thanks Erica Pryce!)
60 g of American mustard
2 Tsp of Blackened Cajun spices
If, like my beautiful wife, you don’t like spicy food, you can remove the Cajun and add the following instead
1 level tsp oregano ,4 juniper berries, , crushed clove of garlic, 1/4 tsp of cumin 1 and 1/2 heaped tsp of sweet smoked paprika
this will give it a very relaxed sweet smoked flavour, so be warned that other strong flavours could easily over power it.
remove the rind from the pork then stab the pork up so the juices can penetrate.
Mix all the ingredients together to make a sauce.
Place the pork in an oven proof dish and pour the sauce over. work it in with your hands then cover with tin foil.
Set your oven to gas mark 2, about 150c and cook for 2 hours, take out turn the meat over, recover and cover for 3 hours more.
because this dish is wetter, you can easily pull it using two forks. All the juice should suck up nicely into the meat and look something like this.
sorry I am a noobe at this blog thingy and did not take a photo of my dish, this one is the consistency you can expect.
I will remember next time!
ALWAYS REMEMBER TO SEASON TO TASTE. When I try and explain seasoning to people, I tell them to look for a “watery” flavour, then salt and pepper until that “watery” flavour goes away.
Hope you enjoy, and any questions just ask!