Everyone goes mental for pulled pork, don’t they? Even my mum, with whom I had a 10 minute conversation about it ending with her asking why I named a dish after my dad (Paul…. she thought I was cooking Paul’s pork) loves it, despite not knowing what on earth it is. It’s one of those dishes that pops up on the Internet and always looks so mouthwateringly desirable that you need to have it in your mouth now, if not sooner.
And then you discover that it takes a million ingredients, a BBQ and about 48 hours to cook and it gets filed away in that mental folder reserved for foods that will only be consumed when someone else cooks them (see also: lobster, fois gras, aioli). Plus, all the recipes I discovered were American and I dont have the patience to translate that many ingredients out of cups and into mls and tablespoons.
When we last went on our big supermarket shop Will picked up a big hunk of meat for me to cook, as he likes to do. It’s normally lamb but this time he came home with 2 kg of pork shoulder. It was one of the cuts that specifically allows you to create monster crackling, which unfortunately you won’t get with this recipe, but in my opinion the melt in your mouth BBQ flavoured pork is a million times better. He wanted me to roast the joint for Sunday lunch but having had pulled pork on the brain for a little while I ignored his pleas, telling him the end result would be worth it. The joint I worked with was a shoulder, though I believe in the US it’s more traditional to use a leg or some kind of rump cut.
So I poked around in our pantry and managed to come up with all the ingredients needed to make a decent BBQ sauce and banged the joint in the oven for six hours. To complete my pulled pork experience I caramelised one red onion by cooking it on the hob with a knob of butter, a tbsp of caster sugar and shake of balsamic vinegar for 10 minutes, then threw this in the Breadmaker with the ingredients for white dough. When the dough was done I shaped it into rolls, proved it in the airing cupboard (middle-class housewife alert) and cooked in a hot oven for 12 minutes.
This pork in those rolls with coleslaw (couldn’t find a cabbage for love nor money so it was shamefully pre-made from Waitrose) and a side of chunky skin-on chips is heavenly. We also had it the next day in wraps with sour cream, avocado and cheese. Also divine.
The joint I bought promised 11-12 servings, but in our house it didn’t even last 48 hours.
- 2kg pork shoulder
- 2 onions, finely cubed
- 150ml Jack Daniels
- 100ml red wine vinegar
- 100ml malt vinegar
- 3tbsp ketchup
- 4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 5 tbsp tomato purée
- 2 tbsp mustard
- 1 tbsp Tabasco
- 1tsp ground paprika
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 150g sugar
- 3 tbsp honey
- 2tsp salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 140 degrees C. In a very large oven-proof saucepan or casserole dish, add all the ingredients aside from the pork and mix together well.
- Submerge the pork in the liquid and seal the top of the dish with two layers of tin foil, as well as the lid if there is one.
- Cook for 5 hours, turning the pork every hour and a half or so to make sure it's evenly covered in the sauce.
- Remove from the oven, take off the tin foil and lid and replace in the oven. Cook for one further hour. At this point I also removed the skin and fat of my joint as I wanted to include the taste of this in my sauce: if you are a bit healthier than me you can do this at the beginning before putting it in the oven for the first time.
- Remove from the oven and shred - you should be able to do this with a couple of forks. Drizzle the sauce over and serve.