Big claims. But, if you’ve ever tried to make pulled pork in the slow cooker before only to be disappointed, you’ll know that chucking a lump of meat on a low heat for 4/6/8 hours isn’t enough; you need to make sure your little piggy is treated right before taking its bath. This recipe – adapted from KeevaEats fav Samin Nosrat (watch her show on Netflix, buy her books, do all the things) – is the most successful pulled pork recipe we’ve tried since Sunday Brunch’s Simon Rimmer invented the dish a few years back. It’s still easy – a set it but-not-quite forget it recipe – it just requires cooking some onions and chillies beforehand. You can do that can’t you? You can. Love yourself.
Of course, what makes any meal revolving around a slowly-braised hunk of meat fun is the various bits and bobs that go along with it: in this case, a crunchy slaw, Mexican-ish salsa verde and all those lovely braising juices on the side. If you can remember, salt the pork the day before you plan on cooking – it’ll make everything better. You can also make the slaw and mexican-ish salsa verde thing ahead of time and refrigerate – the slaw in particular only gets better (and more neon pink) when given time. The other good thing about this recipe is you’ll have enough meat and sides to feed the street. Buckle up partner:
- Red Hot Chilli Peppers – In terms of ingredients, everything in the ultimate pulled pork recipe is pretty straightforward and easy to get – but try and splash out on some weird and wonderful chillies if you can. Smokey = good, so get a hold of some ancho or cascabel chillies if you can (you can get both in this part of the world). As well as smoke, the only real heat in this is going to come from whatever chillies you include, so throw in a scotch bonnet or two if you like it hot. It’ll calm down when it’s served with everything else, so go for it.
- Pay attention to your meat – Underwhelming pulled pork efforts are usually a letdown when you literally throw it in the oven/slow cooker and don’t revisit it for half a day. Not going to work, is it? For the ultimate pulled pork, you kindve have to check in with your meat to make sure it’s ok. It’s braised in beer, so check in every hour or so to make sure that the liquid is coming to at least halfway up the meat. Juicy meat = juicy results.
- Side-eye – Pile the sides high and feast. You should make this ultimate pulled pork with at least the mexican slaw and salsa verde outlined below, but feel free to add sour cream, refried beans, tortillas….eat lots of food.
As discussed, check in on the meat every hour or so, and if it needs more beer, then oblige (one for the pork, one for the chef!!!!!). You also want to turn the meat every hour or so to make sure it gets braised evenly. Go forth.
Ultimate Pulled Pork
- 1.5 kg Boneless Pork Shoulder
- 1 head of Garlic
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 whole White/Yellow onions; sliced
- 1 Can Chopped Tomatoes
- 2 tbsp Cumin Seeds
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 2 tbsp Chipotle Paste
- 1 tbsp Smoked Paprika
- 8 Dried Chillies (ancho, cascabel, etc)
- 660 ml Beer (pilsner or lager or a mix of the two)
- 1/2 head Red Cabbage
- 1 whole Red Onion; sliced
- 1 whole Lemon (juice of)
- Pinch Salt
- 20 g Fresh Parsley (chopped)
- 4 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- 6 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Mexican Salsa Verde Thing
- 2 whole Shallots; diced
- 2 whole Limes; juice of
- 15 g Fresh coriander (leaves and stems; chopped)
- 1 tbsp Minced jalapenos
- 4 tbsp Spring Onions; finely chopped
- 3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Pinch Salt
- The day before cooking, season the pork shoulder all over with salt.
- Preheat the oven to 160C. Slice the head of garlic in half crosswise. Set a large pot over medium high heat and add olive oil. When it begins to shimmer, add the pork shoulder and brown on all sides (you may need to cut the shoulder into pieces if the whole shoulder doesn't fit into the pot – in that case, do this stage in batches until all pieces are browned).
- When the meat is browned on all sides, remove and set on a plate. Save about 1 tbsp of pork fat (discard the rest) and add the onions and garlic, stirring for about 15 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, cumin seeds, bay leaves, dried chillies, smoked paprika and chipotle paste. Stir until combined. Sit the pork on top of the mixture and pour beer into the pot until it comes about halfway up the pork. The peppers and onions should be entirely covered (they will burn otherwise).
- Bring to a boil, then put the pot (uncovered) into the oven for 6 hours. Check the meat every hour and make sure the liquid comes at least halfway up the meat; if not, add more beer. When the pork is tender and falling apart, remove the meat to a bowl and shred with two forks.
- Remove the bay leaves from the aromatic mixture. Put the mixture into a food processor or blender and blend, then strain through a sieve. Discard any solids. This is a delicious sauce to have with your pulled pork – have this with nachos, tortillas, or spoon it over your tacos. Or, mix it back in with the meat.
- Remove the cabbage core, and cut cabbage in half. Thinly slice the cabbage crosswise and place into a large bowl. Season with two big pinches of salt and set aside.
- In a small bowl, toss sliced red onion with lemon juice and let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
- After 15-20 minutes, discard any water the cabbage has given off and place in a bowl with the parsley and red onion. Dress with vinegar and olive oil. Add salt as needed.
Mexican Salsa Verde Thing
- Combine shallot and lime juice in a small bowl. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, combine the coriander, jalapeno, spring onions, extra virgin olive oil and a generous pinch of salt.
- Add the shallots and lime juice to the herby oil and stir. Add salt and lime juice if it needs it.
Enjoy throwing things in the oven and forgetting about them, do you? Let us point you in the direction of our Easy Chicken Korma.
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