Pulled pork came into popularity a few years ago and seemed like another fad, just the latest hipster trends that took food markets and burger joints by storm but, luckily for us, it’s not going out of fashion anytime soon. Personally, I really love pulled pork and wanted to cook it for aaaaages, thankfully I finally found the time!
I really hate fat on meat and always bin it, so was prepared to do the same as I trimmed away at the pork shoulder, until my boyfriend intercepted. “Are you going to make crackling with that?” “Er, no, I wasn’t. Why?” “I really love crackling.” “Oh, I don’t really like fat so I was just going to chuck it. Do you want me to make crackling with it?” …
So, of course, we made crackling too. I actually did eat some and, I gotta say, it was pretty good. I felt totally gross afterwards, mind you! If you’re trying to be healthy then definitely throw out the fat, but I’ve included how to make crackling here if you wanted to be a little naughty.
Usually I’d tell you how many calories are in a recipe per serving here, but I’ve decided to do away with that – calories never tell the full story, they’re always an approximation, and there is way, way more to healthy, nutritious food than the calorie count. For example, did you know pork is an excellent source of protein and iron? And this recipe uses a leaner cut of pork than, say, bacon or gammon so it’s lower in fat (um, except for the crackling… obviously).
So, this is how I did it…
1. Coat the slow cooker (or casserole dish if you’re not using a slow cooker) with a very, very thin layer of oil or cooking spray. Plonk the pork shoulder in the middle and rub the mixed herbs and spices all over, including the fat (see “SEASONING” below!).
2. Pour in the cider, add four of the six tablespoons of BBQ sauce and the honey, and pop the lid on.
3. Depending on how you’re cooking this, cook on a medium heat (that’s the “Auto” setting on my slow cooker, but check your settings!) for 6-8 hours.
4. Remove the pork shoulder from the dish, transfer to a plate and cut the fat away (put to one side if you’re making crackling!). Shred the pork with two forks and pop this back into the slow cooker. Stir into the sauce, with the last two tablespoons of BBQ sauce, and allow to cook on a low heat for 30 minutes to an hour. Dish up and tip away the excess sauce.
1. Take the fat trimmed away from the pork shoulder, cut into strips and lay on a rack over a baking tray. Season with salt and cook on 200 degrees for 50 minutes.
One Pork Shoulder Joint (the more people you’re feeding, the bigger shoulder you’ll need!) – Ashfield Farm British Pork Shoulder Joint – £2.49 per kilo – Aldi
2x 440ml Cans of Cider – Woodgate Dry Cider – £1.89 – Lidl
6 tbsp BBQ Sauce – Batts BBQ Sauce – 78p – Lidl
1 tsp Honey – Simply… Clear Honey – 89p – Lidl
Okay, so to get the most out of this recipe you really need to ramp up the flavour. For the pork rub, mix together paprika, dried garlic, cumin, chilli flakes, dried thyme, salt and pepper in a bowl until all the herbs and spices are well combined. If you want something spicier, throw in some more chilli flakes and add a dash of hot sauce to the pot! On the same note, if you prefer your pulled pork on the sweeter side, add a teaspoon of sugar to the rub. Also, before the fat goes in the oven to become crackling, coat with another sprinkle of salt.
We made fajitas with our pulled pork, what are you gonna do with yours?!