This recipe must be the easiest one I’ve ever written, and it’s addictive to eat. It’s one of those low and slow recipes which cooks all day and tortures you with wondrous smoky aromas until when it’s finally time to eat, you do so – like a savage. Get the napkins ready, this ain’t gonna be pretty! But it will be unbelievably tasty.
Pulled Pork has swept the UK by storm in the past few years. Previously little known, you can’t read a high street menu without seeing it somewhere on there now. In fact, when Hungry Hubby and I went to see one of our favourite comedians Dara O’Briain live last year, his opening bit was about how he couldn’t move for pulled pork in pretty much any of the restaurants he frequented on his tour! I rub a generous amount of my Italian Seasoning, crushed garlic and smoked paprika with a little sugar and salt into the shoulder of pork before refrigerating over night then it gets cooked for hours in nothing more than a pint or so of your favourite cider. A couple of additions to the cooking liquid whilst you shred the pork and you have a sticky, sweet, smoky glaze of a sauce to coat the meat in before stuffing into soft bread buns with masses of slaw. And napkins, plenty of napkins!
- 2-2.25 kg boned pork shoulder
- 2 tbsp Italian Seasoning*
- 2-3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika I use hot and find it mellows a lot on cooking
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 500 ml cider
- 4 tbsp BBQ sauce
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 tsp mustard powder or Dijon mustard
Place the pork skin side DOWN in the oven proof dish you plan to cook it. It needs to be deep to take all that lovely cider later.
Mix the rub ingredients together until well blended then rub into the meat, covering every last little bit. Cover tightly with cling film and leave in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 220 C and when at temperature, turn the pork over so the skin is on top again, pour the cider around the meat not on top of the skin and cook for 20-30 minutes on high.
Turn the oven down to 150 C and cook for 5 hours. The skin will be go nice and crisp apart from the edges which remain submerged in cider during the cooking time.
Lift the meat out to a lipped dish or chopping board and remove the skin and any surplus fat. Eat the crackling if that is your thing! Pull the meat to shreds - it will not need much encouragement.
Pour all the juices left into a fat separating jug if you have one (you'll need one at least a pint in volume as there will be a lot of liquid). Pour the juices into a large saucepan leaving the fat in the jug (discard when solid, there will be quite a lot from this fatty cut).
If you don't have a fat separating jug, spoon the fat layer away or throw in a large handful of ice and refrigerate until solid enough to scrape it off and discard.
Add all the ingredients for the sauce to the juices in the large sauce pan, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes until reduced by half and getting quite sticky. I find by the time I've finished shredding the pork, it is just about ready to add the meat to the sauce, stir very well to coat and eat!
This freezes very well too. If you have lots leftover, simply bag it up in portions as liked and freeze flat once cold.
*=if you aren't using my Italian Seasoning (recipe on the blog already) then grind up 2 tsp fennel seeds and add them to the rub.
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