I am crazy about pulled pork. There is something about soft, succulent, smoky, sweet shredded pork flesh that I cannot resist. When I had an Aga with a simmering oven (ideal for slow cooking), I thought that was the perfect reason to make it. I have since made this a few times in a conventional oven and that’s the recipe I post here.
I started by scouring the Internet for recipes so I could get a feel for what is involved in making pulled pork and found hundreds, literally. They can vary quite a lot so I decided to pick and choose the ingredients I liked the most in order to achieve what I thought was my version of perfect pulled pork.
After a few tries and adjustments I think I got there! The notes are mainly smoky and sweet and garlic features abundantly. I made a few versions, each followed by a few tweaks. In the end, I made something that really is deliciously comforting. The first time I cooked it, we ate pulled pork sandwiches with apple slaw but then I decided to expand and try other applications, such as pulled pork croquettes (which I will post soon). You can also use it to make puff pastry pulled pork tartlets, pulled pork hash (also coming soon), pulled pork enchiladas… The possibilities are endless!
There really isn’t much to say about this recipe. It’s pulled pork and it’s delicious. Make it. Eat it. Be happy.
If the pork shoulder comes with skin remove it and reserve to make crackling at another time (the skin won’t crisp here because this is a slow cooking process). You can even freeze the skin if you don’t want to make crackling now. For the dry rub, mix all the dry ingredients together. That is the brown sugar, the paprika, chilli flakes, black pepper, salt and mustard powder.
Rub the pork shoulder with the mixture making sure you cover the whole piece of meat.
Wrap with cling film and place it in the fridge overnight to marinade
Preheat the oven to 230 degrees Celsius (450 Fahrenheit, Gas Mark 8). After the resting period in the fridge and remove the cling film. Mix all the liquid ingredients in a bowl, except the ketchup. Roughly chop the onions and slice the garlic cloves (this doesn't really need to be a fine chop).
Using olive oil, lightly oil a deep baking tray.
Place the pork in the middle and sprinkle the onions and the garlic all around. Pour a little of the liquid mixture over the pork and the rest on the sides (so you don’t remove all the dry rub from the pork). Cover with foil and as soon as you put it in the oven, reduce the temperature to 150 degrees Celsius (300 Fahrenheit, Gas Mark 2) . Let it cook for 6 hours. At the end of that time remove from the oven and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Sieve the sauce to remove the onions, garlic and general debris. To make a relish, add 2 to 3 tbsp of ketchup to the sauce with some of the onions and garlic and liquidise. Warm the sauce lightly if it's gone cold.
Pull the pork meat using 2 forks and coat with the sauce throughout. Ready to eat!