Sweet, savoury and utterly delicious, this Pulled Pork recipe is a keeper! Perfect for preparing the day before a get-together or to store in your freezer for another occasion, it’s sure to dish up the “wow” factor every time!
Perfect Summertime Pulled Pork
1 tbsp sea salt
5 tbsp dark brown sugar
Large pinch cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground fennel seeds (anise seed can be substituted)
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2.5-3kg boneless pork butt or shoulder
115g dark molasses
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp high-quality liquid smoke, such as Stubs (optional)
1 tbsp mild mustard
2 tsp Tabasco sauce
120ml apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
170g white onion, finely minced
120g homemade or store-bought chicken stock, or water
225g BBQ sauce (with a smoky flavour, if you are not using liquid smoke)
Place your oven rack to the lowest position and preheat oven to 150°C. Combine the salt, sugar, cayenne pepper, coriander, fennel seeds, paprika, cumin, and black pepper in a small bowl and mix until well combined. Season the pork with 4 tbsp of the spice mixture, making sure to rub it on all sides. Reserve the remaining spice mixture.
Whisk together the ketchup, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke (if using), mustard, Tabasco, and half of the apple cider vinegar in a medium bowl. Whisk in the remaining spice mixture. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large casserole pot (Le Creuset style) over a medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the pork and cook, turning occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until well browned on all sides. Pay close attention to the searing, as the pork will brown quickly due to the sugars. Do not let it burn! Add the onion and cook, stirring and scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until softened, for about 2 minutes.
Add half of the sauce mixture and the chicken stock or water. Place a piece of baking paper over the pork then cover it with a lid or aluminium foil. Transfer it to the oven and cook until the pork is just starting to turn tender, about 4 hours. Check mid-way to be sure that it hasn’t gone dry – if it’s close, add a little water. Remove the lid and continue cooking for about an hour longer, until a knife or fork shows very little resistance when twisted inside the meat and a dark crust has formed.
Transfer the pork to a large bowl, reserving the liquid in the pot. Using a ladle, skim off any excess fat and discard. Add the reserved sauce, half the BBQ sauce and remaining vinegar to the pot and whisk to combine. When the pork is cool enough to handle, shred it with two forks or put kitchen gloves on and do it by hand (my preferred method!).
Transfer the shredded pork to the pot and toss it with the sauce. (If you’re making this ahead to serve for several meals, portion out your sauce and pork separately to freeze. This allows you to combine the two once defrosted and will prevent your meat from losing its pulled texture) Check the seasoning and adjust to taste with more salt, sugar or cider vinegar. Serve with your favourite style of coleslaw, the remaining BBQ Sauce and your favourite soft bun.