Monday, March 01, 2010

Slow roasting for flavour: pulled pork sandwich

When I am trying out a new recipe, I like to understand how the recipe works – which ingredients are important, which aren't, how various cooks personalize their dishes – so I usually consult several recipes and read up on how different techniques work. In the end, I cobble together a few recipes and start a new food experiment. That is exactly what I did with this dish.

If you like a delicious, savoury, meaty sandwich, make this one. It takes a little lead time but boy is it worth it. Pulled pork has become one of my favourites: slow roasted pork shoulder mixed with homemade BBQ sauce, MmmmmMmmmm. There is great depth of flavour in this sandwich – sweet, savoury, tangy – I can see why people spend their lives perfecting BBQ.

I've been fairly consistent to my original cobble with only one or two small variations; this is my third or fourth time making it. I hope you will try it for yourself – if you have any suggestions or questions, get in touch.

You could use a bottled sauce to cut down the prep time, but this recipe is sooo tasty, sourced from a combo of Joy of Cooking, Memphis Blues, and several online recipes. There were many additional ingredients that could be added, like hickory smoke, molasses, and ketchup along with various ground spices. Some secret recipes have hundreds of ingredients, but I kept it fairly simple.

This recipe is really three smaller recipes joined together: one for BBQ Sauce, one for a Dry Rub, and one for Slow Roasted Pork. It makes 4–6 generous sandwiches, and is great for parties.

I make the BBQ sauce, marinate the roast the night before I want to serve it and put the slow cooker on in the morning to let it cook while I'm away at work.

Pulled Pork Roast

• 2 cups BBQ Sauce (prepare before hand, as it needs to simmer for 1 hour – recipe below)
Dry Rub (best to marinate the roast ahead of time – recipe below)
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1/2 cup water or apple cider
• 1 pork roast (2–5lb, pork shoulder aka picnic, these cost around $5)

1. If not already marinated, apply dry rub to roast.
2. Place the onion in the bottom of the slow cooker, turn cooker on low setting.
3. Brown roast in a hot pan with a little oil (2 minutes each side).
4. Place roast into slow cooker on top of onion.
5. Deglaze pan with water or apple cider, add this liquid to the slow cooker.
6. Add BBQ sauce to slow cooker.
7. Put lid on and cook on low for 8-10 hours (this has the better results than a higher setting for shorter time).
8. When cooking has finished, remove the roast to a bowl for shredding, take 2 forks and use them to pull apart the roast into small strands.
9. Add any liquid/mixture from the slow cooker to the bowl and mix well.
10. Serve on kaiser buns (I like their lightness or choose your own but remember the pork is the star of this meal), with your favourite side (mine is coleslaw) and beverage (cider).

BBQ Sauce
Makes two cups (always easier to make a big batch and save it)

• 1 small onion, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 tablespoon olive/vegetable oil
• salt & pepper to taste
• 8 tablespoons crushed tomatoes (about half a 16oz can)
• 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
• 2 tablespoons maple syrup
• 2 tablespoon white vinegar
• 2 tablespoon soy sauce
• 2 tablespoon honey
• 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
• 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
• 3-4 dash of Louisiana-style hot sauce
• 1 teaspoon paprika
• 1/4 cup water or Jack Daniel's

1. Combine oil and butter in a pan over medium heat.
2. Add onions with a little salt & pepper.
3. When onions are softened, add garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes.
4. Add all remaining ingredients and stir together.
5. Simmer mixture over low heat for 1 hour, stir regularly. Adjust the flavour to your taste.
6. If saving for later, allow to cool for 1 hour before refrigerating (may be kept for up to 1 month in an air tight container, if you can hold out that long).

This would actually be great for burgers and chicken wings.

Dry Rub
This quantity was enough for 2 roasts – stored in the fridge in an air tight container.

1 tbsp brown sugar (dark)
3 tbsp black pepper
3 tbsp garlic powder
3 tbsp onion powder
3 tbsp dried oregano
3 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp celery salt
pinch cayenne

1. Mix all ingredients.
2. Apply to meat – this is best applied and left to marinate in the fridge overnight.


Anonymous said...

Moyrad, I am salivating over this recipe. I love pulled pork. The Marriot restaurant in Victoria serves a pulled pork flatbread (fancy name for pizza) that is superb. I could easily pig out on it.

Meg Whetung said...

Michelle, I'm so happy you posted this recipe! I loved this meal. Mmmm, pulled pork. I'm with you GB – it's the best. I'd like to try making that pizza...