How to make pulled pork – recipe | Food

IIf you want the perfect version of pulled pork, you’ll need to dig a pit, stack well-seasoned wood in it, and spend hours lovingly tending the fire while the meat gently smokes — or visit the barbecue highlands of the southern U.S., where they’ll have it for you do. However, this version is about as good as you can get in a home kitchen.

preparation 15 minutes
Cook 7 hours+
Rest 30 min+
serves 4

1.6 kg pork shoulder with bonefrom the neck end
2 tbsp salt
2 tablespoons dark muscovado sugar
1 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tsp liquid smoke
1 dash of apple cider vinegar (Optional)

Shoulder with bones and a lot of fat

1 A note on editing

Traditionally made from what’s known in the US as boston or pork butt, pulled pork is actually the top of the shoulder – “boned-in neck and a good layer of fat on top,” according to chef Neil Rankin – in practice, however, you will any shoulder with bone and enough fat will give good results. Pork belly also works, but gives less meat.

2 Heat the oven to full power

Pat the pork dry with a kitchen towel and line a roasting pan with foils large enough to fold over the meat (you’ll probably need 2 squares). Place the pork on the foil in the center of the pan. Preheat the oven to the hottest possible – that is, 240C (220C fan) / 475F / Gas 9.

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The spices.

3 Make the rub

Mix the salt, sugar and smoked paprika powder, then roughly halve. Set one half aside and rub the other half into the meat with your hands. Note that you can customize the spice rub to your liking by adding chili, cumin, coriander, onion or garlic powder, ground fennel seeds, or any other flavoring you like with pork.

Rub the mixture well into the joint.

4 Fry the pork

Place the pork in the hot oven, leaving uncovered for now, and roast until nicely browned on top, about 40 minutes. If at any point it seems like it’s burning instead of browning, turn the heat down a bit and keep an eye on it.

5 Turn the oven on to low

Remove the pork and turn the oven down to 140°C (120°C convection)/275°F/Gas 1. Pour the liquid smoke, if using, over the pork – this is readily available at specialty stores and online; It’s by no means mandatory, but it will help achieve that gorgeous grilled flavor without the need for charcoal – then fold the foil over the top of the meat to create a sealed package.

6 Low and slow roast

Place the dish back in the oven and bake 6 to 7 hours, or until the meat is tender enough to spoon and/or the internal pork temperature is at least 89°C. (If you don’t have a cooking thermometer, there’s plenty of time to go ahead and buy one if your budget allows. Or put one on your Christmas list; they’re a really useful piece of gear.)

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Ate up everything.

7 brown, then rest

Cover the pork, pour the juice from the can into a heatproof pitcher and set aside for now. Turn the oven back up to 240°C (220°C convection)/475°F/gas mark 9 and cook the pork uncovered for a further 10 minutes to crisp up. Remove, cover and let rest for at least 30 minutes.

8 Shred the meat

Use two forks or your fingers to shred the meat into chunks, setting aside the crackling for now. Stir in the half of the spice mixture that you have set aside and the gravy, plus a dash of apple cider vinegar if you like it spicy, then cut the crust into shards with scissors and arrange on top. If possible, soak for a few hours before reheating.


9 serving suggestions

Classically served with soft white buns, a spicy coleslaw, pickles, hot sauce or potato salad, pulled pork also pairs well with baked yams and as a filling for tacos filled with shredded lettuce and beans and topped with sour cream. Leftovers, if available, are great sprinkled over nachos or with tomatoes and beans for a smoky stew served with rice.

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