Pulled pork cheek

The Americana food love-in continues with this next recipe – pulled pork. It’s my first time cooking it, but by no means my first time eating it. I first discovered pulled pork a few years ago in Bodean’s, and gradually upgraded my taste buds via Pitt Cue Co. But pulled pork is probably one of those most satisfying meat dishes to cook at home, especially if you do it like my friend Laura did: with the supervision of a real life American, hickory chips on the BBQ and over the course of six hours…

Well, I’m afraid my recipe was no match as I had none of the above, but I did have one pork cheek. Yes, just the one – but it was almost 1kg in weight (pigs are big, aren’t they!). After wracking my brain over how to cook it, I decided to attempt pulled pork.

You will need:

  • One pig’s cheek or equivalent pork part – shoulder works well
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp cayenne chilli pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed cumin seeds
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 300ml ginger beer
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Prepare the pig’s cheek by rubbing the spice mix (salt, pepper, paprika, chilli pepper and crushed cumin) all over and leaving aside for a few hours. If you like your pork very spicy you can afford to up the quantity of chilli.

Pre-heat the oven to 150C, and use a cast iron pot with a lid to contain the pork. Add the other ingredients in until the cheek is pretty much covered, and pop in the oven for 4-5 hours. It’s that simple!! When I took the pork out, it fell apart with the prod of a fork – now that is real pulled pork!

Set the pork aside to rest, then reduce the remaining sauce into a hot BBQ sauce (NB the ginger beer is the perfect ingredient to give everything a gingery kick). Observation: this pig cheek had a LOT of fat, so I ended up having to skim the fat off the liquid. Also, the pulled meat ended up with a lot of fatty bits in it. If I would have done one thing different, it would have been to blister the fat into crackling before putting it in at a low temperature.

I was too lazy to make my own brioche buns, but that would have been the icing on top. The pork was beautifully tender, although we ended up having to pick out the fatty bits, and the BBQ sauce had a welcome tangy kick to it. Served with whole crunchy gherkins and a potato salad, it would make a delicious Sunday BBQ meal – with the added satisfaction of having made it yourself, of course!

One pork cheek is a very thrifty £1.27 from Farmer’s Choice. I would suggest buying at least four, stripping the fat and slow roasting the batch to freeze some to save for a rainy day!

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10 thoughts on “Pulled pork cheek

  1. Oooh, I’ll have to bookmark this one! I made a pork cheek casserole and I’ve been looking out for new pork cheek recipes as I’ll definitely be buying it again – such good value for a really tasty cut. Great recipe 🙂

    • Thanks so much, yes indeed I wish I’d discovered pork cheek earlier!

      Cheek is definitely one of the parts that needs to be slow cooked – so do give it a go! x

  2. Reblogged this on recipeforprocrastination and commented:
    I just had to try this one out! Ours was served with a ‘coleslaw’ of shredded red cabbage, carrot, courgette and celeriac dressed with lemon juice rather than mayonnaise. It was rather yummy! According to A Man, he “wouldn’t complain” if I made it again and he’s already declared that he’s commandeering the leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch. A success, methinks!

    • Last time I made this I froze half of it. Just had it for dinner with tacos, shredded cabbage, guacamole and homemade blueberry salsa and needed to say that it was INCREDIBLE. I may have to start keeping a continuous stock of pulled pork in my freezer for emergencies.

  3. This looks absolutely delicious. I tried pork cheek at Taste London this year and it was delicious. I didn’t know it was also so cheap so this is one for the ‘to cook’ list!

  4. Pingback: JD and ginger beer ribs | Meat in a Box

  5. Pingback: Recipe Shed: Pulled Pork Cheek Buns with Yoghurt & Chive Potato Salad | Reluctant Housedad

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