As far as roasts go, pulled pork is pretty epic. Far simpler and, actually, a lot less faff than your typical beef or chicken Sunday lunch, it is immensly tasty, fun, and cheap. Although it is a bit of an investment in time (and fuel) the results are well worth it - meltingly tender pork with a delicious spicy kick.
The aim of this game is to cook the pork low and slow, I cooked the shoulder for 18 hours in an oven which was never above 110C / 90C (Fan Ovens) / Gas Mark 1/4, and boy did it turn out good. We served it with cheap white rolls, wedges, corn on the cob, and several types of chili and barbeque sauce. The new Tabasco Chipotle sauce goes perfectly with the pulled pork - spicy and smokey, it's frickin' awesome.
Those who have had proper pulled pork before, will know that this recipe is not strictly authentic. For one, I don't have a smoker (I don't know anyone in England that does), in which to smoke the shoulder for hours. So, this pulled pork is more of a homage to the barbecue kings of the Deep South and their meaty greatness.
Makes enough for 5 very hungry people (plus leftovers)
2.5 kg Boned Shoulder of Pork (roughly 500g uncooked weight per person)
New packet of Clean Rubber gloves
For the Spice Rub:
1 Tablespoon of Smoked Paprika - Pimenton de la Vera
1 Tablespoon of Garlic Granules
1 Tablespoon of Ground Ginger
1 Tablespoon of Mustard Powder
1 Tablespoon of Cayenne
1 1/2 Teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Dried Rosemary
1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
25g Rock Salt (Not the fine table salt)
60g White Caster Sugar
60g Dark Brown Sugar
- In a bowl mix up all the ingredients for the spice rub and set aside.
- Carefully wash the shoulder of pork. Cut the pieces of string that hold the shoulder together and roll out the pork. Cut away any large pieces of fat. You want to keep a fair amount of fat on the pork to stop it drying out when cooking. Besides, nearly all of the fat will eventually melt off the meat. Pat the pork dry with kitchen paper.
- Put the pork into a suitable sized roasting tin and generously cover with the spice rub.
- You will need to massage in the spice rub making sure that the pork is completely covered.
- Cover the pork with cling film and leave to marinade in the fridge for about 5 hours or so.
- About an hour before you plan to start roasting the pork, take it out of the fridge, and let it come to room temperature. This is actually very important, so don't skip that bit.
- Preheat the oven to 110C / 90C (Fan Ovens) / Gas Mark 1/4. The aim is to slowly roast the pork at a very low temperature.
- Put the pork into the oven and leave to cook for at least 12 hours. I cooked the pork for 18 hours at it turned out wonderful. As long as the temperature is low then the pork shouldn't dry out. Don't worry if the rub starts looking quite dark and black - this is normal, it hasn't burnt - its caramelised!
- When the pork is cooked - there isn't really the need to check for blood in the juices if the pork has been cooking for at least 12 hours. The best way to check is to stick a fork in the pork and twist it - if it turns easily then the pork is done.
- Take the pork out of the oven, cover it with tin foil and a clean tea towel and leave to rest somewhere warm for at least 30 minutes.
- After resting, uncover the pork and wearing your (clean) washing up gloves, start to hand shred the pork. Discard the skin and any lumps of fat that still remain. The pork should naturally break off into strands without you having to use any knives.
- Serve the pulled pork with chips/wedges, soft white rolls, buttery corn on the cob and lots of barbecue and chili sauce.