My kids and I are just back from a month in the UK. The highlight of the trip? A pork cook-off with my father-in-law. Giddyup! I should clarify that there were lots of awesome adventures during the trip (aquarium, horseback riding, playgrounds, time with family and general outdoor fun we aren’t able to have in desert), but this pork cook-off was MY bit of fun.
Pulled pork is something which I have always enjoyed eating, with no specific region garnering favor. This, however, is my first time attempting to create this mouth-watering delight at home. And, I should clarify, not even my home. Not even my home country.
My inlaws were kind enough to tolerate my kitchen antics for the tenure of our visit, and this day was no exception…other than the fact that it was their 40th wedding anniversary. Happy days! Nothing says ‘Happy Ruby Wedding Anniversary’ like a kitchen covered in spices, liquids, measuring cups, bowls and huge hunks of pork!
The benefit of going on this adventure in the UK was that I could utilize a local butcher for fresh, local meat. My father-in-law, Adrian, grew up in the same village where he currently resides, with parents and grandparents also growing up in the surrounding area. So when Adrian said he was going to take me to the butcher he likes, I practically ran to the car. Ten minutes later (I should mention here that it takes 25 mins to get to the nearest grocery store) we were at a little butcher shop. Better still, this butcher shop was also an abattoir! I was giddy at the thought of animals being processed (sorry, that’s the nicest word I could think of) on the premises and that my pork shoulder was from a pig that had lived just down the road.
My request for a bone-in pork shoulder was received with a funny look from the butcher, but I’ll chalk that up to my accent – which must have been as hard for him to understand as it was for me to understand his very thick black country twang. My father-in-law ordered pork belly with the skin trimmed off (but saved) and most of the fat trimmed. Watching the two butchers prepare these cuts of meat was incredible and confirmed for me that I could never be a vegetarian!
We returned to the house with our large plastic bags of meat and got to work. Here is my recipe:
Preheat oven to 280.
8lb bone-in pork shoulder
3T sweet paprika
2T chili powder
2T ground ginger
2T rosemary (bashed to pieces with a mortar & pestle)
2T garlic powder
1T onion powder
1T black pepper
1T white pepper
Sear in a hot, dry pan on all sides.
Place in dutch oven. Cover with cooking liquid (see below).
1 C beef stock
1 medium onion, rough chop
1-1/2 C of favorite bbq sauce (it’s kind of cheating, but oh well!)
1/3 C cider vinegar
1/2 C brown sugar
2 T paprika
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T yellow mustard (I used Coleman’s English because I wanted a little extra zing)
1 t salt
1 t black pepper
Cook covered for 8 hrs at 280.
Hand or fork shred.
Strain cooking liquid and reduce by 1/3 to create sauce.
Serve on a roll with coleslaw and corn on the cob. Serve sauce on side.
I will say that I looooved mine (of course), but also that my father-in-laws pork belly was delicious. He used a Jamie Oliver recipe which you can find HERE.
In spite of this being a cook-off, no winner was officially declared but I’d like to think that my super tender, spicy, sweet pulled pork was the winner. We did, however have a re-match a few nights later…this time I prepared entree & main, Adrian prepared desert. He was the clear winner; I think making Crêpe Suzette from scratch (and they were DELICIOUS) earns him the trophy.