It was first at Easter time this year that I finally committed the time and energy to giving pulled pork a go at home. GG and I had ordered pulled pork wherever we saw it on the menu on our trip to the States last year. It is such delicious, flavoursome meat but I was a little daunted when I first saw the recipe for it. It does take some time (10 hours of cooking alone), but hey a long weekend was the perfect opportunity so I gave it a go!
The recipe I used was Juji Chews, who had slightly adjusted a recipe from Kevin and Amanda’s Perfect Pulled Pork so it has been doing the rounds and is a winner! I followed Juji Chews rub recipe – my thanks! The first time I tasted this a friend’s husband had been responsible for the rub mix and I’m going to politely note that he was fairly liberal with the chilli and cayenne. It packed some heat! Still delicious though, just needed a little more guacamole to counter the kick.
So if you are going to make this for dinner on Saturday night then I would start the process on Thursday night. Each time I have made pulled pork at home I have ordered pork from Mondos. Big fan of Mondos meat. Usually I’ll order 3kg of pork shoulder (no bone, no skin), which tends to come in two 1.5kg pieces.
So what’s in the Dry Rub
- 1 tb ground cumin
- 1 tb dried oregano
- 1/2 tb dried thyme
- 2 tb garlic powder
- 2 tb onion powder or flakes
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tb cayenne pepper
- 2 tb salt
- 1 tb ground pepper
- 3 tb paprika
- 1 tb smoked paprika
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
Put all these ingredients in a container, put your left hand in, put your left hand out, put your left hand in and shake them all about 🙂 Then put a lid on the container.
So it’s Thursday night and it’s brine time!
For the brine
- 1/3 cup salt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1.5 l cold water
- 6 bay leaves
- 1 tb dry rub
- 1 large freezer bag (or a big zip lock bag would also work)
Combine all the brine ingredients together and mix thoroughly so everything was dissolved. Place the pork piece into a freezer bag. When I get two 1.5kg pieces I tend to have two separate plastic bags (and I double bag both of them) and split the brine between the two. So when the brine is added, seal the bag and ensure (as best you can) that the meat is all submerged. Then sit the bags in a tray and pop in the fridge. Actually when I’ve made pulled pork I buy a foil tray from the shops. You know it’s going to be in the oven for a while and means you don’t have to worry about cleaning it 🙂 So sit the bagged meat in that and pop it in the fridge and so begins the waiting game.
From popping it in the fridge on Thursday you don’t need to worry about it again until Saturday morning. Nice! If the meat isn’t fully submerged then maybe on Friday you could jiggle the bag around a little but largely minimal work from this point.
If you want the pulled pork ready for dinner at 6pm, so work backwards. You need the meat to be cooking for 8 hours, then sitting in the oven for another 2 hours. So at 7.45am on Saturday take the meat out of the fridge, take it out of the bags and pat it dry. Take the rub you’ve made and coat the meat. I tend to be fairly generous with the rub, make sure it’s good and on there. I’d tend to use almost all of the rub I’ve made (it does have a bit of kick).
So the rub is on, the oven had been preheated to 100C, the time in 8am. Pop the tray in the oven and walk away. Ok before you walk pop a few tea towels on the floor in front of the oven, it is in there for a while and you don’t want it ruining any wooden floors.
I’m not going to lie. After about an hour you’ll start to smell the pork and you’ll wish by some miracle that it was already to eat already. The aroma is simply divine, but you have to resist!
At 4pm turn the oven off, take the tray out and lightly wrap it in alfoil. Pop it back in the oven with the door slightly ajar and leave it there for 2 hours.
6pm – it’s time! Take the tray out of the oven and prepare yourself with two forks – weapons of choice! I generally find that if you have brined from Thursday night that there’ll be some liquid at the bottom of the tray, but leave it there! By the time you have gone to town with your forks and shredded all the pork it will have all soaked up.
- Tomato Salsa
- Caramelised Pineapple Salsa
- Corn Tortillas
- Radish and Apple Slaw
- Homemade BBQ Sauce
- Rolls/Slider Buns