Sweet and smokey pulled pork is one of those things that people revere when they taste out and about as something they couldn’t possibly produce themselves – It must be SO difficult to make something so tasty, right?
Well, not so, actually. All this recipe was, was a little thought about my favourite spices and getting that smokey and sweet balance right, rubbing it all in, and voila! Not hard at all.
I first tried this out on two gorgeous people who are headed around the world on a year long adventure. I get sad saying goodbye to friends, but I get so excited at the same time, to live through their news in the months to come. As far as farewell dinners, this was deemed one of the best!
I will caution to use organic pork when cooking with pork – It’s something we eat half as much of these days, and twice the quality. Non organic pork, even if it is touted ‘free range’ is often still fed a grain mix that includes genetically modified corn and soy in the mix. Genetically modified agriculture is a shocker for our planet, in the way that it destroyed biodiversity as well as in the way it allows for higher levels of pesticides in the agriculture, and therefore in the environment and in us. If it’s something you want to learn more about, this amazing talk by Dr Vandana Shiva is well worth an hour to get up to speed.
Anyway, once you’ve found your ethical, GMO free pork from a local butcher, you can assemble the ingredients and hop to this super delicious recipe.
What you’ll need
2 kg (4½ lb) shoulder free-range pork off the bone
1 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp coconut oil, rendered organic animal fat or ghee
1 cup dry cider or kombucha
2 purple onions, quartered
1/2 cup stock or water
The epic spice rub
Do not panic at collective cost of stocking these up in the pantry. You’ll have these bottles for loads of future cooking projects, don’t you worry!
2 tbsp fennel seeds
2 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tbsp dried chipotle powder
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp sweet paprika
The wet bits to add once cooked to make the final sauce
300 ml (14 fl oz) tomato passata
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2-3 tbsp golden caster or raw sugar
60 ml (2½ fl oz) cider vinegar
What to do
A note on the fat around the shoulder: When you buy your pork shoulder for the pulled pork, remove the skin (which you’d be doing anyway) and in the morning rub it with salt and bake in a hot 200C / 400F oven until crackling is made. The run off from the rendered fat can be your pork fat for super crunchy roast potatoes – can you believe we used to soak fat up in a paper towel and bin it – organic fats cost a fortune and the cheapest way is to render your own – Might as well get crackling out of the deal, right? Cool the cracking and chop to sprinkle over your pulled pork when you serve it or use as snacks in the lunch box.
Now onto the pulled pork.
Preheat the oven to 160°C /425°F.
Grind the dry rub ingredients in a pestle and mortar until coarse OR whiz in thermomix / myCook for 10 seconds, speed 10. Remove the skin from the pork and use for crackling as talked about in potato low down.
Sprinkle the pork generously with salt. In a deep casserole (with lid), heat your oil and onions and and brown the pork on both sides for about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the casserole and cover with the dry rub, making sure you get it really ‘in there’. Pop the pork into the pan. Pour the cider or kombucha over the pork along with the stock. LID ON.
Cook for 6 hours and spoon liquid over the top twice during the cooking. (SLOW COOKER: Cook for 8 hours on low)
Remove from the oven. Transfer the pork to a plate or board. Pop the casserole pot on high heat and add all the ‘wet bits’ list of ingredients. Once bubbling, reduce heat to medium for 10 minutes.
Pop pork back into the pop and then pull the pork apart with two forks so it is nicely shredded.
You are done and this is so delicious I can’t wait to see what you think and am seriously hoping it’s not just me!
You can serve these with a slaw, with salads, in lettuce cups with fresh herbs on top, on sourdough, on top of zucchini noodles, with steamed veggies, or even add stock and veg and make a soup from leftovers for yet another incarnation.
Real Food. Happy Bodies.
pic credit: The pic I took when I was in a rush to serve this deliciousness was horrible. So my talented friend Kristin from Mamacino took these pics for me to do it justice.