I remember the first time I heard about pulled pork, I thought it sounded dreadful – pork cooked for ages and then pulled apart with forks, what?! Anyway fast forward a couple of years and nobody could fail to have heard of it. Pulled pork is everywhere right now – a proper trendy food. That said we’ve never had it at home. This bank holiday Love Pork sent us a hamper of goodies to create our very own perfect pulled pork. Unsurprisingly this task fell to Head Chef and Master Geek, Dave (I rarely cook anything more adventurous than fish fingers!)
We decided to serve up pulled pork for lunch on Sunday when we had parents and little sister over to visit. Now the main idea of the Love Pork #AchieveLazy campaign is that this sort of dish involves minimum effort thus allowing more time for bank holiday socialising. This is of course unless you decide to serve it for lunch in which case you have to get up really early to prepare it and put it in the oven! As a result of Dave getting up at 7.30am on Sunday morning to prepare the pork there are no photos of the ingredients or preparation . . . my fault for a) lying in and b) not thinking to tell him.
What we do have for you though is lots of tempting photos of the finished product . . .
As Dave was in charge of the cooking I shall hand the rest of the post over to him . . .
I’m a huge fan of the Pig. Tasty little blighter that he is. Sausages. Bacon. Chops. I love it all. So when Colette mentioned we were getting a hamper from Love Pork
with some ingredients in to do a pulled pork recipe, I was as happy as a certain tasty animal playing in the mud. When the hamper arrived, it was a proper woven hamper. Filled with delights. We got some dark brown sugar, a jar of wholegrain mustard, paprika, four chillies, a lime, chipotle spice rub, garlic and most importantly a 1.3kg boned and rolled pork shoulder. Mmmmm!
Now, one of the reasons that pulled pork is so popular right now is that it uses a cheaper cut of meat. The shoulder is a well worked muscle due to all the use it gets moving Porky around the field all day. More exercise causes the meat to be tougher, which means you’ve got to cook it for a long time over a low heat to break down all the sinew running through the meat. On the plus side, all the exercise that the muscle has gotten over its life gives it an amazing fullness of flavour which you cannot get from cuts of meat which are naturally more tender.
Included in the hamper was a recipe book with 5 different variations of pulled pork. We chose to do the Smokey Barbecue Pulled Pork Sliders. Mainly because it’s a new meal for the kids and making it seem more palatable by having it as sandwiches would give us a better shot at them filling their faces. Once we’d chosen the recipe we were going to make it was time to think of side dishes to go with it. As it’s a barbecue type recipe we went with some sweet potato wedges, at least in part because Colette has been hankering for them for months now and a simple salad of tomatoes, cucumber, basil, olives and croûtons with a dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Luckily this meant we didn’t have to buy much in the way of ingredients for the rest of the dish so after a quick trip to the supermarket we were onto the cooking. Now part of the promotion for this recipe is taking the stress out of cooking. The reason for this I think is that you bang it in the oven and you can pretty much forget about it for hours and hours while you relax and have a beer or maybe go water-skiing! Or some such other fantastical idea of life that doesn’t involve having kids and a million things to do!
That being said, having 5 hours while the meat cooked did give me plenty of time to tidy up and put the kitchen in order ready for when our guests arrived to enjoy the feast I was preparing. Actually cooking the meat is quite straight forward. The first thing to do is combine the American mustard with the paprika and the brown sugar. Just mix them all together in a bowl. Then unroll the meat and pat it down with kitchen roll. Take half of the sauce you made with the mustard, paprika and sugar and smear all over the meat. Get into all the nooks and crannies because that’s flavour you’re rubbing in. Re-roll the meat and bang it in the oven for 20 mins at 200deg C. After that cover the meat in foil and turn down the heat to 150deg C for 5 hours.
Once that immense amount of time is over you need to unwrap the meat and give it 10 more minutes 200deg C. Then it needs to rest for 30 mins minimum. The testing time is when you stick your wedges in. They’re really easy. Just scrub the skins clean. Quarter the sweet potatoes length ways. Then coat them in a little olive oil and paprika. 30 mins in the oven on a baking tray and they’re done.
The salad is just the ingredients I mentioned above chopped up and mixed together. Nothing fancy. By this time your pork should be ready. Shred the meat with two forks in a big bowl then mix it with the juices and the remainder of the sauce. Mix it well and serve it in buns. Flipping gorgeous.
Safe to say the pulled pork was a hit and we’ll definitely be trying out some more of the recipes (though maybe at tea time so that Dave doesn’t have to get up quite so early next time!)
*Disclaimer – We were provided with a hamper of ingredients to try out the recipe and have been compensated for our time spent writing this post*