Pulled Pork

30 Dec

pulled pork

Not-so-recently, I had the boys at my place for a Friday night in. It’s a new thing that we’ve started which goes against the grain in Australia. Usually on Friday nights the general population gets completely obliterated, on an empty stomach of course. We have chosen to do otherwise, because we love both food and drinking.  And we hate hangovers! Food cushions the effects of alcohol, at least for me it does.

So when my name came up, I was chuffed and couldn’t wait to work on my menu. Unlike some, I take my food seriously and ready-to-go guacamole from the local chain supermarket wasn’t included on my menu (sorry Johnno, 10/10 for good intentions though). I wanted something that required little fussing around on the night. Besides, I was working all day so I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare. Pulled pork it was, but rather than stuffing it into tasteless soft white bread rolls, I wanted corn tortillas, guacamole, salsa and habanero hot sauce.

What I love about pulled pork is that its effortless. Just brine a shoulder or butt, then throw it into an oven at 100C (210F), go to sleep and when you wake up in the morning its done. It’s that easy. Perfect for the novice, lazy cook or chef who wants the night off. Brining is easy and roasting, well the oven does that. Just set the temperature and head to bed. Yes, forget about it! There’s no need to worry, its full of moisturising fats and won’t dry out.

How does one prepare Pulled Pork? I asked the same question until I stumbled upon Kevin and Amanda’s blog. After that, I started using their technique with a few tweaks. For example, I don’t add sugar to my rubs (sugar burns) or roast uncovered (unless it’s a super fatty cut of meat). So here’s my bastardised version of Kevin and Amanda’s pulled pork recipe. Hope that you like it. It got the seal of approval from my friends. It’s very versatile and leftovers can easily be frozen.

Ingredients

The meat

2kg pork shoulder. I could only find it off the bone but the result was still amazing.

The rub
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp paprika (I used my favourite smoked paprika)
  • 1 tbsp achiote (I added this to the original recipe)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (I omitted the sugar all together)
The brine
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 litres cold water
  • 3 tbsp rub mix (see above)
  • 8 bay leaves

Method

To brine the pork , place pork shoulder in zip-lock bag then pour in the brine solution, seal and leave in the fridge for at least 8 hours. I usually leave it for 24 hours.

Remove the pork shoulder from brine, drain and then pat dry. Remove the rind using a sharp knife and discard. Allow it to rest and return to room temperature.

Rub the pork with oil, rub mixture and then surround with one peeled and sliced orange.

pulled pork ready to roast

Cover with foil and roast overnight for 8 hours in a warm oven at 100C (210F).

The remove foil and roast for a further 30 minutes until top is caramelized.

roasted pork shoulder

The pork should be cooked through and have a nice crust on it.

roasted pork shoulder

I usually drain off the fat before “pulling” the pork but my boys love lard so I left it for extra flavor.

pulling pork

Shred pork using 2 forks, then return to the oven using only the grill (broiler) to make it crispy and golden.

pulled pork

Serve it any which way that you like!

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