Recipe corner: Jess’s pulled pork

My housemate and I have been watching rather a lot of Man v. Food, and it’s started to turn into a somewhat chilly autumn over the last week. I believe these two factors in combination have caused the carnivorous cravings I’ve been having recently. Meat cooked until it’s so tender it’s falling apart, coated in a smoky, tangy sauce and eaten in a soft, white bun with coleslaw – or as part of a grilled cheese sandwich -yeah, baby. Maybe with some mashed potato to soak up the gravy – that’s proper comfort food, that is.

I trawled the internet for pulled pork recipes, and obviously there were plenty of options. But I wanted to try and combine the best bits of several recipes and create my own version, taking some of the flavour combinations (especially chipolte) from a barbecue recipe, quantities and method from one slow cooker recipe and the simplicity of another, and some more flavour ideas from an oven-cooked version (Worcestershire sauce, thyme and garlic).

My version is for a 1kg/2lb (approx) pork shoulder, which is both readily available from most supermarkets and a good quantity for a smaller household 🙂 Double it for a family or for a party sized vat (or if you want plenty to freeze for later).

Jess’s Pulled Pork

Ingredients:

  • 1kg/2lb pork shoulder
  • 1.5 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 2 chipolte chillies
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1 cup cider

Preparation: Crush three of the garlic cloves and set aside; peel the remaining cloves. Strip the thyme leaves from the stalks. Rehydrate the chipolte chillies if necessary, reserving the water. Slice the onion thinly.

Stage 1: Combine the mustard powder, paprika, tomato puree, oil, Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 the thyme, salt & pepper and the crushed garlic. Mix into a paste and rub all over the pork joint. Save any paste that’s left over. Put the marinated joint back in the fridge for a couple of hours for the flavours to develop.

Stage 2: Preheat a slow-cooker. Chop the chipolte peppers, and add them to a jug containing the cider, peeled garlic cloves, rest of the thyme leaves and about 1/4 cup of the reserved chipolte water, along with any remaining paste; mix well. Put a little oil in the bottom of the crock pot and arrange about 1/2 the sliced onions across the base. Place the pork on top, fat side down, and pour over the contents of the jug. Put the lid on and cook for about 8 hours (overnight is fine). A couple of hours in, turn the joint so that the fat is on top.

Stage 3: Keeping the slow-cooker on, remove the pork and pull it apart with a couple of forks (the fun bit). The fat layer should be easy to remove and discard (although you can reincorporate some of it if you want). Return the meat to the cooker and mix so that it’s fully coated with the juices. Cook for another hour or so.

EAT (The really fun bit). Works well mixed with some bbq sauce, particularly the sweet variety which really compliments the pepper kick of the pork.

If you want lots of gravy, you can add some water and/or more cider from the start – as-is, this is plenty juicy but there isn’t a lot of extra which you might want for mashed potatoes/soaking into the bun/to drink/whatever. Enjoy!

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