This is another delicious recipe using one of my favourite ingredients, pork shoulder, and one of my favourite gadgets, my slow cooker! It is super quick and easy to prepare, and is really cheap.
Pulled pork needs long slow cooking, traditionally on a barbecue, but the slow cooker is a perfect and efficient method when it isn’t really barbecue weather! To give it a barbecuey feel and flavour I like to marinate my pork in a dry rub overnight and cook in my homemade barbecue sauce. You can use a jar or bottle if you’re short on time, but making your own allows you to tweak the ingredients to get the exact taste and consistency you want, more sweet, more heat, more sour, more spice. I just raided my spice cupboard for the rub (which is also the spice base for the sauce), so don’t feel bound to use the exact ingredients or quantities. You’re the cook; it’s entirely up to you! For a lower-fat version check out my Healthier Pulled Pork recipe.
When the pork is ready it’s so tender you don’t need a knife to carve it, simply pull the meat apart with two forks. Pulled pork is traditionally served in buns as sandwiches, and my burger buns fit the job perfectly. For a more substantial meal serve with baked potatoes.
This dish is lovely hot, but just as good cold the next day, or the day after (if it lasts that long!). Cooked meat will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days. You can also freeze any excess sauce to use as a dip or a marinade later.
Mustard powder – 2 tablespoons
Paprika (ordinary, sweet or hot) – 2 tablespoons
Smoked paprika – 2 tablespoons
Ground white pepper – 2 tablespoons
Ground cumin – 2 tablespoons
Ground coriander – 2 tablespoons
Ground ginger – 2 tablespoons
Cayenne pepper – 1 tablespoon
Chilli flakes – 1 tablespoon
Celery salt – ½ tablespoon
Pork shoulder (bone in or boneless) – 1.1-2.2kg (trimmed of any excess fat) I have a 5.7L crock-pot, if yours is 3.5L the maximum size joint you can use will probably be 1.5kg, but check your instruction manual.
Garlic – 3-4 cloves (peeled & halved)
Red Onion – 1 (peeled, halved & cut into 3)
Barbecue Sauce Ingredients:
Olive oil – ½ tablespoon
Spice rub – 3-4 tablespoons
Celery salt – ½ tablespoon
Smoked paprika – ½ tablespoon
Cider vinegar – 2 tablespoons
Tomato ketchup – 8 tablespoons
Tomato puree – 3 tablespoons
Soft brown sugar – 3-4 tablespoons
Worcestershire sauce – 2 tablespoons
Soy sauce – 1 tablespoon
Honey – 2 tablespoons
Orange juice – 3½ fl oz/100ml
Marmite – ½ teaspoon
Equipment: Mixing bowl, cling film, slow cooker, chopping board, knife, saucepan, wooden spoon, ladle, jug
- Combine the rub ingredients in a large bowl, mixing together well.
- Put the pork in the bowl, and rub spice mixture all over the flesh, covering well.
- Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight.
- The next day, remove the pork from the fridge.
- Set the slow cooker on high. Add the onions, garlic, and just enough water to cover the bottom, to the crock-pot. Place the pork on top and cover.
- Heat the olive oil in the saucepan, add the spice rub, celery salt, and smoked paprika. Warm through to release the flavours.
- Add the cider vinegar and simmer for a minute or two before adding ketchup, puree, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and honey. Mix together well and simmer for a few minutes.
- Stir in the orange juice and marmite, bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Pour into the crock-pot, making sure you coat the top of the pork.
- Leave the slow cooker set on high for half an hour, then turn down to low for 8-10 hours. Alternatively, leave on high for another 4-5 hours.
- Halfway through the cooking time turn the meat over, and baste with the sauce.
- An hour before the end of the cooking time ladle out most of the barbecue sauce into a jug (or jugs) and leave to cool.
- When the pork is just about ready skim off any fat from the jug(s) of cooled barbecue sauce. Pour the sauce into the saucepan and bring to the boil.
- Turn down to a simmer, taste and adjust to your liking (I added another tablespoon of ketchup and honey). Continue to simmer until it’s the consistency you desire while you prepare the pork.
- Take the pork out of the slow cooker and put on a plate. Leave to rest for 5 minutes in a warm place. Pour off the remaining sauce from the crock-pot and leave to cool before freezing for later.
- Pull the joint apart with 2 forks. Place into burger buns and top with the barbecue sauce. You might want more sauce on the side for dipping!