Before we start out on this culinary quest, be warned. This is not a quick meal, by any stretch of the imagination.
However, you should not be deterred because the end result is absolutely amazing. It has the perfect balance of sweet, spicy, sticky and meaty that you would expect from something you have spent hours (or, in my case, days) crafting. That’s right, crafting! Not cooking, you are creating a masterpiece right now.
Now, for my non-British readers, Irn Bru. You are probably wondering what this is and, for that, you have my utmost sympathy.
Irn Bru is a carbonated soft drink from the Barr company. Which is the most mundane way to describe something quite so wonderful.
I don’t know how to fully encapsulate everything that is Irn Bru. It’s refreshing, delicious, a potent hangover cure. The thing is a mystery. It’s bright orange, I mean it’s luminescent. I’m pretty sure it glows in the dark and that somehow adds to its charm. It is often copied but nothing ever comes close.
I don’t know if this is still relevant but in its home country of Scotland (soon to be my home country), it is so popular that Coca-Cola has given up trying to beat them (It was on a documentary I watched ages ago).
Imagine that, a drink that half the world hasn’t even heard of and one of the biggest corporations in the world basically looked at it and went: “Nope, you guys can have all the main shelves in supermarkets, we’ll just take this one on the floor”.
If I had to describe the taste of Irn Bru, first of all, I would shrug. The ingredients in this elixir are a closely guarded secret. I’m just going to drink it now and describe what I’m getting.
Citrus, mainly orange. That may be because it is bright orange but I hazard a guess that there is some sort of orange in this. Ginger, I don’t know why but I have always thought I tasted ginger in Irn Bru (guys, tell me if I’m right?). Caffeine and the like, that’s because it’s written on the bottle. Magic, the national animal of Scotland is a unicorn so that had to play a part in this. Girders, because that’s what it’s made from. Just pure, unadulterated joy.
I cannot stress this enough, it is a bottle (or can if you’re into half measures) of pure sunshine. There is nothing greater in this world than opening up a bottle of Irn Bru that’s been in the fridge for ages and taking a massive swig. And I wasn’t kidding about the hangover cure. If you drink it cold and flat, you will be back to normal in no time!
So, that’s Irn Bru. Order yourself some and thank me in the comments below. Anyone who comments on the amount of sugar can shut their damn mouths. No one cares. I am fully aware of the fact and I have no intention of stopping drinking it.
Back to the meat.
I had the idea to make Irn Bru pulled pork after my mother made a Coca Cola ham. I’m not going to describe that dish because no one cares now that Irn Bru pulled pork is in the world.
I wanted to take that dish and make something better. I also wanted to ingratiate myself with the company in the hopes that they, one day, share their secrets with me or provide me with Irn Bru for life.
After multiple taste tests, I settled on, what I thought, would be the best mixture of spices to go with the beverage. It took some doing and I don’t regret a single moment of my “research”.
Tell you what, the cooking is going to take long enough; you don’t need me prattling on.
Here we have it,
Irn Bru Pulled Pork
Pulled Pork Ingredients:
1.5kg Pork Shoulder (fat trimmed off and make loads of cuts into the meat)
1 litre Irn Bru (buy a 2l bottle so you can drink while you work)
1 Large White Onion (very finely chopped)
4 Cloves Garlic (peeled, crushed and chopped in half)
1 1/2 cup of Cider Vinegar
Tblspn Soy Sauce (if you’re gluten free, make sure you check the label for this)
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
2 Tsp Smoked Paprika
1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 Tsp Dried Coriander
1 Tsp of Thyme
1 Tsp Harissa Blend (or dried chillies if you can’t find that)
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
Tiny Little Pinch of Clove Powder (seriously, just the smallest amount, that stuff is potent)
2 Tsp Brown Sugar (I know there’s sugar in Irn Bru, didn’t you read what I said?)
2 Tblspn Molasses or Black Treacle (just trust me)
- Take some kitchen roll and dab off some of the excess moisture from the pork. It doesn’t want to be bone dry.
- Take all of the dry ingredients and mix them together in a bowl with a spoonful of olive oil so that you’ve got a paste. Rub this all over the pork.
- Push the garlic into the cuts you made in the pork. Try to space them out quite evenly.
- Wrap it in clingfilm and leave it for a couple of hours in the fridge.
- In a slow cooker pot, pour all of the ingredients except the molasses. Give it a quick stir and leave.
- Fry off the onions until they’re translucent and then put them into the slow cooker.
- Unwrap your pork and gently place it in the slow cooker. If it isn’t covered, add more Irn Bru (obviously).
- Put this in the fridge and leave it overnight.
- In the morning, before you go to work or whatever, put the pot back in the slow cooker, switch it to low, put the lid on and leave it for about 8 hours.
- The pork is done when you jab a fork in and try to lift it out, the whole thing just falls apart.
- Try to get the pork out in big chunks and put them into a baking dish.
- Give up and use a slotted spoon to get as much meat and onion out as possible. DO NOT THROW AWAY THE SAUCE!
- In a small bowl, take 2 ladles of sauce, the molasses and mix them both together well.
- Take 2 forks and shred the pork into bits. You know what pulled pork looks like, just do that.
- Pour your sauce over the meat and give it a good stir, making sure that all the meat is covered.
- Pop it in the oven at about 180deg C and leave it for about half an hour.
There you go. Throw it in a wrap, serve it on pizza or just eat it all in one go, realise the error of your ways and make it all again.
Bonus Round! Irn Bru BBQ Sauce
You know all that sauce you have left? Don’t throw it out.
Leave it to cool down for aaaaages. It takes soo long!
When it does, you will notice that the fat has all congealed at the top. Scoop all the fat out and throw it away.
Pour the sauce into a saucepan and set it at a low heat.
Then, take half a tube of tomato concentrate, a teaspoon of brown sugar and a 4:8 ratio of cornflour to water (mix this before it goes in so you don’t get lumps), stir it in and let the mixture start to simmer.
Stir it regularly for about half an hour until it reduces down to a sauce consistency. And there you go, Irn Bru BBQ Sauce, perfect with everything. Except vegetarian food, obviously, because you just cooked half a pig in it.