In the last year or so I have become a little bit obsessed with proper american barbecue food. There are however a few hurdles to recreating this whilst living in an apartment in a city with no garden, (well I say no garden but that’s not quite true any more, but someone needs to tell our spring bulbs now is definitely not spring). No garden means no barbecue and definitely no hickory smoker… sad times.
That being said, a bit of love and a couple of ingredients smuggled in from the states and I think we’ll manage just fine (in truth things are tasty even without the smuggled secret ingredient).
Of all things barbecue my absolute favourite thing to eat and make is pulled pork. Smokey, sticky spiced pork, slow cooked until it just falls apart, served up in a freshly baked bread roll. What could be better?
Pork Shoulder (on the bone if possible) as large as you like
Natural liquid hickory smoke (optional)
For the dry rub:
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1. Dry Rub – The night before you feast, mix all the dry ingredients together to make your very own secret spice blend. You’ll notice I haven’t included and chilli, but if you like things a little hotter feel free to add some chilli flakes or powder to suit.
Place the pork in a large, deep oven dish (I like using disposable foil ones for barbecue anything as it saves there being serious washing up to do at the end of the day) and pat dry with kitchen tissue. Generously cover the meat with the dry rub, making sure you get it in all the folds, top bottom and sides. Once you are done, cover and place in the fridge over night.
2. Cook – Time to plan well ahead. You will only be able to pull pork if it has cooked insanely slowly, we are talking at least 5 hours people! Take the pork out of the fridge and now cover securely with foil. If you are a fellow smuggler, now is the time to crack open the natural liquid hickory smoke. To use this, take the pork out of the tin and place a something at the bottom of the tin to keep the pork from touching the bottom. Add a teaspoon or two of the liquid smoke and pop the pork back and cover. This will help to get a really authentic smoky finish without smoking out the place Place in the oven preheated to 150ºC for at least 5 hours, or as long as you like thereafter.
When I last did this I discovered my oven automatically shuts off after 4 hours for safety reasons, so important to keep checking back all is going to plan regularly.
3. Pull – When time is up, remove the pork from the oven and uncover. If you have the tech, use a meat thermometer to check the pork is at at least 90ºC at its fattest point. Grab a couple of sturdy forks and set to shredding the thing exactly the same way as you might peking duck.
To serve there’s nothing I like more than soft freshly cooked glazed rolls. Check out my easy bread recipe to start, and glaze just before they hit the oven with a tablespoon of melted butter with a teaspoon of sugar stirred in. So good! (even if I do say so myself :P)
Finally time to admit I wrote this blog entry while the pork is in the oven… very dangerous, still 3 hours on the clock, delicious pork smell emanating from the kitchen and feeling decidedly hungry… time to go read some food blogs in attempt to avoid eating now and spoiling dinner… any suggestions?