Wild Wild West Pulled Pork

I have recently joined a 12 day Instagram photography challenge set by the wonderful Kimberly from www.thelittleplantation.co.uk (check out her blog - delicious vegan recipes and beautiful images), and this is the first recipe that I cooked for the challenge.  The aim of the challenge is to inspire food bloggers and photographers to pick up their camera more regularly and push their creativity.  Kimberly has selected different themes for the next 4 weeks and the regular posts can be seen on IG using the hashtag #12gridproject.

The first theme set was Wild Wild West.  When I think of the wild west I think of cooking over an open fire and slow cooked juicy meat dishes.  I love anything slow cooked, there is something so comforting about having a big pot simmering away in the oven for hours and filling the house with the most amazing aromas.  This pulled pork has been cooked or 6 hours in a rich barbecue sauce, which is loosely based on a Jamie Oliver rib marinade recipe, but as I am still trying to use up my second massive batch of apple butter I added this to the mix and it is absolutely delicious.  To complement the rich flavour of the pulled pork I served it with a smoky corn salsa (recipe courtesy of my brother in law) and a crunchy red cabbage slaw.  Feels like the wild west to me!

Wild west pork_1.jpg

RECIPE

Ingredients

Pulled Pork:

2 KG Boneless pork shoulder

1 Tsp Chili flakes

1 Heaped tsp grated ginger

3 Cloves garlic, crushed

100ml Soy sauce

100ml Cider vinegar

5 Tbsp Apple butter

2 Tbsp tomato ketchup

2 Tbsp dark brown sugar

Corn Salsa:

2 Cups cooked corn kernels (if possible use corn that has been cooked on the BBQ)

1/2 Cucumber chopped into cubes

2 Tbsp olive oil

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 Tsp Smoked Paprika

S&P

Red Cabbage Slaw (Based on a Bobby Flay recipe):

1/2 Cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1/4 Cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 Small red onion, chopped

2 Cloves garlic, crushed

Handful of fresh basil leaves

Handful of fresh coriander

1 Tbsp Runny Honey

1/2 Cup olive oil

S&P

1/2 Head red cabbage, shredded.

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 130 degrees centigrade.  The pulled pork takes approximately 6 hours in the oven but depending on your cut of meat it can take anywhere between 4-8 hours.  
  2. Choose a casserole dish with a lid that can fit your pork joint comfortably but is not too big.  Combine all the pork ingredients (except the pork itself) and mix well.  Dry your pork joint by patting with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper.  Place the pork in the casserole skin side up*, pour in the pork sauce and ensure that the entire joint is covered in the sauce.  If time allows you can marinade the pork in the sauce overnight but this is not essential.  
  3. Cook the pork, covered, in the oven for between 4-5 hours or until tender and starting to fall apart on its own.  You will be able to very easily shred the pork using 2 forks when it is cooked enough.  Check the pork every 30 minutes to ensure that it is not drying out and to baste with the sauce.  The pork should not dry out because the juices from the meat should have started to combine with the sauce, but if it does seem to be too dry then add a little water.
  4. Once the pork is tender remove the lid, separate the fat from the meat (this should be easy as it is now so soft) and shred the meat using two forks.  The sauce will still be quite runny and you will likely have a layer of grease sitting on top of the sauce due to the fat that has come out of the pork joint.  So that the end result is not too greasy use a spoon to remove that layer of oil, this should be quite easy as the fat will have clearly separated from the sauce.  Be careful not to burn yourself as the oil will be very hot.
  5. Stir to combine the meat with the sauce and return to the oven, uncovered, for an hour or until the sauce has reduced sufficiently.  Keep a close eye on it so that it doesn't dry out.
  6. Whilst the pork is cooking you have plenty of time to prepare the salsa and the slaw!  For the salsa simply combine all the ingredients, cover and allow to sit for 30 minutes before serving.
  7. For the slaw put all ingredients, except the cabbage, in a blender and blitz to make a vinegarette.  Toss the cabbage with the vinegarette and allow to sit for 30 minutes before serving.  
  8. Perfect served on a crusty bread roll!

* If you are concerned about the pulled pork being too greasy then you can remove the skin before cooking.  I do prefer to keep the fat on the meat whilst cooking and skim off later because I think that it adds to the flavour and it helps to keep it really moist.