It’s all in the detail with this Pulled Pork Roll. You need a decent bun to start with – a potato roll is the way to go here I think. And then something to offset the rich meat – a pickle or maybe a red slaw would work well.
The bigger the joint of pork you buy, the better and if you can buy shoulder on the bone then great but the reality is, if you’re buying from your local supermarket, you’ll probably be using a rolled, boneless shoulder of pork. There is nothing wrong with this and with a bit of care and attention you’ll get brilliant results.
Breaking this recipe down into its component parts we’ve got: Pork shoulder with a spice rub, a stock/sauce, a decent roll to hold your meat and a slaw.
Let’s start with the pork
- 1 shoulder joint of pork – as big as you can get
- 1 tablespoon fennel seed
- 1 teaspoon cumin seed
- 1 teaspoon corriander seed
- 1 teaspoon smokey paprika
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- A good twist of salt.
The whole spices can be toasted in a dry pan for about 1 minute. If you hold your hand over the spices as they roast you’ll know when they’re done as you’ll feel a slight oil form on your hand.
Grind the roasted spices with some salt (the salt acts as an abrasive). Add the other ingredients and mix.
Carefully remove the skin from the pork leaving a thin(ish) layer of fat on top of the meat. Rub the pork with the spice mix.
Preheat your oven to 100c. Place the pork in a roasting pan, cover with foil (press the foil tight around the edge of the pan) and cook for 12 hours (or overnight).
When 12 hours are up you’ll find a reasonable amount of liquid has been released from the meat – spoon that back over the meat and return to the oven, this time uncovered, for another half an hour or so – just to allow a decent crust to form on the meat.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
I wanted to add a hit of smokiness to my sauce – this was achieved through a smoked sugar. I smoked 2 – 3 tablespoons of sugar for 1 hour in my smoker over 1 tablespoon of hickory chips. If you’re going to do this, do it outside as the smoke can get a bit strong.
For the sauce you’ll need
- 3 shallots – finely sliced
- Half a tablespoon of unsalted butter
- 1 pint beef stock
- 3 tablespoons of apple juice
- Leftover stock from the pork shoulder
- 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- A splash of cider vinegar
- Worcestershire sauce
- Tabasco sauce
- Smoked sugar (as above)
Gently cook the shallots in the butter until lightly browned. Add the beef stock and any of the leftover stock from cooking the pork. Add the remaining ingredients and gently simmer for 30 minutes or so.
Now taste the sauce. It won’t be perfect yet – you need to adjust to suit your taste – more vinegar, ketchup, salt, sugar? Fine-tune the sauce now.
Pass through a fine sieve and reduce further.
Shred the pork with a couple of forks – the meat should fall apart easily enough without being too mushy. As you do this, spoon over the sauce.
Give the pork a taste – adjust the seasoning if required.
Slice the rolls in half and toast on a hot griddle on the cut side
The pork goes onto the roll base with the slaw on top.
This might seem like a load of effort for something as basic as a pork roll but when you spend that extra time and care on each component, you’ll really appreciate that extra detail – it’s one of the most perfect things you’ll ever eat.