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!