Pulled pork is one of those dishes that, when done right, just makes you look amazing. And it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
I made about 1.5kg of pulled pork recently and ended up making about 5 different meals from it. Simple salad bowls, quesadillas, stuffed bagels, omelettes, there is so much you can do with it.
And do you know the best part about pulled pork? It’s sooooooo easy! In fact, the more effort you put in, the worse it becomes. The whole point of pulled pork is the classic cooking style known as “Low and Slow”. So you can obviously see why it appealed to me!
The whole thing takes somewhere in the region of 30 minutes of prep for the sauce, 6-8 hours of marinating, 8 hours of slow cooking and 45 minutes of high heat to finish it off.
Obviously, with that time frame, it’s not something to throw together to make as a quick snack. But believe me when I tell you, it is seriously worth it.
With the BBQ season swinging into full effect, this is the perfect thing to make for a small group of friends to sit outside, chug a few beers and enjoy my latest playlist.
There are hundreds of different styles of BBQ marinade and, by no means, am I saying that mine is the definitive one. All I’m saying is that I haven’t tried all of the others (a thought that haunts me to this day). I have, however, tasted mine and I had to hide it from myself; otherwise, I would have just crammed handfuls of the stuff into my mouth and a concerned member of my family would have found me on the kitchen floor surrounded by pork crumbs and deep in a meat coma.
Mine is based on the more classic styles with vinegar, spice and tomato. Don’t worry, I am going to try so many different styles of BBQ sauce and post them up here because I am a selfless man and I really want the best for you.
Also, once you’ve marinated the meat you can simmer down the marinade to create a thick sauce which is great for either dipping or making a flawless BBQ coleslaw. Just keeps on giving.
Before you start prepping anything, I have a few suggestions to really set the tone.
Play some Elvis, get yourself your favourite ice-cold drink (mint julep would be my suggestion as it’s perfect for this weather) and just take your time. There’s no rush here! Low and Slow baby, low and slow…
Also, don’t take this as rote. If you have any ideas or things you don’t like, take out or add whatever you want. This is your BBQ Pulled Pork so make it your own.
1.5kg Pork Shoulder (with fat on and bone in, if possible. Don’t worry if not)
Half a Tube of Tomato Concentrate
1 Large White Onion
3 Cloves Garlic
2 Stalks Celery
3 Salad Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons Honey
1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
Zest and Juice 2 Limes
2 Red Bird’s Eye Chillis
1 Thumb-Sized Fresh Ginger
1 Cup Spirit Vinegar (or cider vinegar)
Teaspoon of Smoked Paprika
Teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
Teaspoon of Instant Coffee
Half Teaspoon Cinnamon Powder
Teaspoon of Bourneville Dark Cocoa Powder (any dark cocoa powder)
Dash of Soy Sauce
Dash of Worcester Sauce
Ground Black Pepper
There may seem like there’s a lot in this but most of it will probably already be in your cupboards and if you don’t have honey and maple syrup, sub in half a cup of brown sugar. It’s perfect for balancing out the tartness of the vinegar.
- Rub all of the meaty bit of the pork with sea salt and pepper and score the top of the fat in 1/2 inch strips
- Chop the vegetables and just crush the garlic . Then roast it all in a baking tray with olive oil for about 10-15 minutes at 180 Degrees C (I can’t be bothered to find the shortcut for that symbol)
- Let them cool for 5 minutes and then blend them together
- Add in all of the spices and herbs and blend again
- Add in the liquids (including the tomato paste) and blend
- Add everything else and blend some more. Make sure it’s basically a thick liquid. No lumps of vegetables in this one
- Pour half of the marinade into a bowl and gently put the pork in
- Pour the rest of the sauce on top
- Gently rub the sauce all over. Make sure you wash your hands after this. There’re chillies involved. I once got jalapeno juice in my eye and I genuinely thought I was dying
- Cover over with cling film and leave in the fridge for at least 4 hours but no longer than 8 hours. This is so that the meat doesn’t break down too much and turn to mush.
- Pour a bit of oil into a large frying pan (big enough to fit your joint in) and set it off until the oil starts to simmer
- GENTLY! Seal the meat on all sides. Spend a bit longer on the fat so that all that delicious flavour can only go in one direction; straight back into the pork
- Set your slow cooker to Low and pour in half of your marinade. Put your sealed pork in and pour the rest over
- Put the lid on and leave it for 6-8 hours. I’d err on the side of caution and aim for 8 hours so it will just fall apart when it’s done. Don’t open the lid at any point in this time; otherwise, you will lose heat and steam and also just because I told you not to
- After the slow cooking time, put the joint on a deep baking tray and put it in a preheated oven at 220 Degrees C for 45 minutes. Alternatively, you can put it on a BBQ with the lid down to finish it off. NB: Be careful when handling at this point. Even though it has been sealed by frying, there is still a chance it will fall apart when you lift it. Get a couple of spatulas under there and take your time
- Once it’s been BBQd/roasted, wrap it in tinfoil and leave it for 20 minutes to rest
- Grab 2 forks and just tear that thing to pieces. If you’re lucky to have crispy fat on top, eat it while it’s still warm
- Then it’s time to serve. You can have pulled pork sandwiches, pulled pork nachos, eat it by the handful… it’s so good, I would suggest making 2 lots. Just in case.