Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Perfect Pulled Pork with Barbecue Sauce

Pulled pork has become very popular in the last few years on the London and general UK restaurant scene, and as with all things delicious, once I've enjoyed it out - I'm always looking to create my own version at home. I've played around with a ton of recipes and this is my absolute favourite version. It makes for unbelievably tender, melt in the mouth tasty pork and the bbq sauce just ups the ante even more.

I start with a dry rub and and have found that left for about two hours minimum gives the best result. If you can, try and leave overnight as all of the delicious, sweet and smoky flavours will really permeate into the meat. I must warn you, this is utterly addictive!

This can be served with a variety of accompaniments but my favourite way is slathered in a bun, with sweet potato wedges and some cooling slaw. Enjoy!

Pulled pork with barbecue sauce

The meat:
2.5kg shoulder of pork

The dry rub:
1.5 tbsp smoky paprika
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp garlic salt
1 tbsp mustard powder
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon

The barbecue sauce:
1 tin of chopped tomatoes or jar of passata
2 cloves of garlic
1 large onion
2 red chillies, seeds left in
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp runny honey
2 tbsp chipotle paste
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp muscavado sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper

Firstly combine all of the dry rub ingredients and then literally rub it all over every outside surface of the pork shoulder, ensuring every bit is covered, then place in an oven-proof dish or on tray, loosely cover and pop in the fridge.

Dry rub

Whilst the pork is marinating you can pull together your barbecue sauce. Firstly chop the onion and chillies and crush the garlic and add to a saucepan with a tablespoon of olive oil and pop on a low heat.

Once slightly softened, add the tomatoes or passata, soy sauce, honey, chipotle, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper and give a good stir to combine.

Barbecue sauce

Leave to slowly cook down for 30-40 minutes then remove from the heat and set aside until you need it later on. You can of course blitz this in a blender if you want a completely smooth sauce, but I tend not to bother.

Once ready to cook the meat, pop the oven on a low heat - around 150-160 degrees, and place the pork in the oven, still loosely covered with foil but not touching the meat.

Cook on this slow heat for 3.5-4 hours, checking every 30 minutes to make sure the outside isn't becoming too charred - although you are looking for crispy skin. For the last 20 minutes of cooking, remove the foil.

Although you are cooking for a long time, the meat shouldn't become dry as it has a good fat content which keeps it nice and moist - plus you are going to re-hydrate (or as the Americans call it - give it a mop) with the barbecue sauce. Leave it to rest and cool down for 15-20 minutes and then transfer it to a chopping board.

The pork before shredding

Now return the barbecue sauce to the heat to slowly warm through again.

With a knife and fork, shred the meat - this shouldn't be at all laborious as it should fall apart easily after all that time slow-cooking - if not it should probably go back into the over for 30 minutes and then re-test.

Once completely shredded, place into a serving dish and pour over the warmed barbecue sauce and gently stir through. You can re-heat at this point but it should be warm enough as is.

The pulled pork before the sauce is added

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