Recently Finn and I have been to a couple of food festivals and come away thoroughly disappointed. The last one was slightly better and featured copious quantities of slow cooked meat. Finn has also had a go at making pulled pork, but doesn't quite have the patience that I do. I'd recommend preparing this dish the night before.
Now then, on to the recipe, this is actually really easy and difficult to go wrong.
- 2 kg Quality Pork shoulder (I used boneless)
- 3 Tomatoes
- Herbs and spices
- Salad (to serve)
- 4 garlic cloves (chopped)
- 2 Carrots
- 2 Apples
- Time (12-14hrs)
Now for the spices I have a large, and some might say excessive collection of herbs and spices, but I do use most of them. The key ingredient really for this is smoked paprika and salt, everything else depends on what you have and what you like. I went for a smokey jerk type barbecue set of flavours using the following:
- 1.5 tsp Smoked paprika
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1/2 tsp All spice
- 1/2 tsp Ground corriander
- 1/4 tsp Thyme
- 1 tsp Mustard powder
- 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 Pinch of Nutmeg
- 1 Pinch of chilli flakes
- 1/2 tsp Black pepper
- 1/2 tsp Salt
To start with set your oven to around 180-200C and if it's got a fan assisted grill setting use that. Put the pork shoulder in your casserole dish, and put it in the oven skin side up for around 30-40 mins to brown and crisp it up. This starts the Maillard reaction would is what helps give food it's delicious flavour. To digress slightly, you can marinate the meat in the spices, but I don't really see how that will make much difference, it might help with prep though.
While that's cooking measure out your spices and mix them together, and chop the tomatoes and garlic. Once the meat is browned coat it in the spices and garlic, and put the tomatoes in. I also added a splash of cider vinegar and some lemon juice, but I think this was unnecessary. If your meat is high quality and quite dry then you might want to add a half cup of water to the dish.
Tightly cover it with either a lid or tinfoil, and put back in the oven. Set your oven to 125C, and leave it to slowly cook away for the next 11-12 hours. I set mine to non-fan assisted mode so that the noise wouldn't keep me awake.
Once your pork baby has finished gestating, it's time to finish it off. I let mine sit in the oven for another couple of hours to cool down. I also skimmed some of the fat off the top that I didn't want.
Carefully remove the pork and put it on a dish. Remove the fatty rind, this can perhaps be used to make crackling. Now the pork should be so tender that it practically falls apart just by looking at it. Use a couple of forks and tease it apart. With the juices, reduce them down to a thick rich sauce, and pour over the pork for some extra flavour.
I made a super easy 'slaw to go with this, I grated a couple of apples and carrots together, and added a little lemon juice to stop the apples going brown.
Now all you need to do is sit back, relax, and pig out!
Traditionally pulled pork requires pork, salt and sugar. I did think of adding a little honey at the end, but I honestly don't think it's needed. I was going to add some more spices at the end, but adding the concentrated juices back in worked really well.