Tag Archives: tortilla filling

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.


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


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!

Mexico revisited – Carne Asada (Shredded Beef)

23 Jun

pulled beef

Whether it’s pork, beef or chicken, shredded meat (pulled) is an essential filling for tortillas. I’m a big fan of shredded beef and have made it numerous times. The key is the gravy which should end up thick and include a hint of earthy spices.

For vegetarians, I have used a variety of bell peppers, white and red onion, and, sometimes potato as a filling sautéed in a skillet with the basics (garlic, Mexican oregano, ground cumin, coriander) as an alternate with great success. Cooking time is significantly reduced as there is no need for stewing.

I’ve used Chipotle chilli to take this dish to the next level but Poblano would work well too. The smokiness of either of these chillies adds depth and tones. A Chipotle is essentially a Jalapeno chilli that has been smoke dried. As a result of this process, it ends up with a tan complexion and leathery skin.

The cut of beef should be preferably sub-primal and not too lean. Gravy beef or chuck steak is ideal but trim the visible fat as it’s not really needed. The end result should be a moist but not wet mixture. This dish works well with chicken thigh fillets or chicken pieces too if you’re not keen on beef.

  • 750g piece of chuck or flank steak
  • 1 large white onion diced
  • 2 Tablespoons of ghee, butter, lard or oil
  • 2 Cloves of garlic crushed
  • 1 Teaspoon of each of Mexican Oregano, Ground Cumin and Ground Coriander (dry fry them and grind, it makes such a difference)
  • 1 to 2 Chipotle chillies deseeded if you prefer mild
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1lt or so of hot water

In a heavy base pot, seal and brown the beef then set aside in a plate.

On medium heat, saute onion in ghee, butter, lard or oil and add a good pinch of salt to ensure onions don’t brown.

Add garlic and fry until the aroma fills the air, stirring occasionally and ensuring it doesn’t brown.

Add herbs and spices stirring occasionally. I like to rub the oregano and sprinkle it in.

Add meat and Chipotle chillies then top with hot water, cover and simmer until meat is tender adding water as required.

Once the meat is cooked, remove, place on a plate and shred using two forks by pulling the fibers outwards.

Blend the remaining stock with a stick blender (handheld) then return shredded meat to the pot simmering uncovered over low heat until the gravy thickens.

Add cracked black pepper and some additional salt if required.

Pulled Pork Shoulder

pulled pork

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