Slow Cooked Pulled Pork

29 09 2010

 So this morning I had a little bit of surprise, I decided to go and visit my favourite little hole in the wall cafe; the food there has always been crap to sum it up politely but they serve tea that looks exactly like wood varnish and is exactly how I like it.

The problem is it’s gone, now where am I going to get tea that the spoon can stand up in?

The simple answer is I will just have to stop being lazy and bring a flask from home. The silver lining to the closing of this grease encrusted grot hole is that it has been replaced by what is to my knowledge the only BBQ joint in West Cork.

It has been opened up by a chap from Arizona by the name of Mike and his Irish wife, he has bought a smoker over from the states with him and is burning applewood that he is obtaining from a local orchard, so far so good.

The menu looks pretty appetizing featuring such BBQ staples as baby back ribs, brisket, home made beans, coleslaw and one of my personal favourites pulled pork.

I fancy myself as a bit of a BBQ aficionado and on seeing that Mike makes and sells his own sauces I got chatting to him, before long the topic turned to the pulled pork (which looked and smelt delicious )

Try as hard as I might I couldn’t get Mike to disclose any of his secrets to me, much like those pesky magicians in that sense, but I can vouch for the pulled pork being delicious, so much so that I bought a pound of it to take home and eat later.

The problem with 1lb of pulled pork is that there is only 1lb of it and try as I might to ration it out it just doesnt last.

The only logical option was to crack out MY recipe for homemade pulled pork and hit the kitchen.

As I don’t possess a smoker of my owner and the weather in Ireland isn’t often the best for having the BBQ out I have devised a different but equally tasty method for preparing my pulled pork.

Ingredients:

4 kg pork shoulder / collar
3 large red onions
3 cloves of garlic
2 red or yellow bell peppers
1 habanero chilli (you can substitute jalapenos or just use less/no chilli if you wish)
smokey paprika
coarse sea salt
black pepper
zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 bottle of bbq sauce of your choosing

For this recipe I get roughly 4 kg of pork collar from my local butcher, I get the skin left on and the bone left in and trim everything up at home, if you don’t have the time and inclination ask the butcher to do this for you and just make sure that you remove any tendon/gristle that is left when you get home.

Mix the brown sugar together with enough sea salt, black pepper and paprika to give the meat a good rub, pop it in a bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge for at least an hour ideally longer.

De-seed the bell peppers and cut into thin strips, you can use green bell peppers if that is all you have to hand but red or yellow work best and look better in the finished dish.

Peel the red onions and chop into quarters, if the onions are particularly large then you can chop them into eighths.

Crush the garlic cloves with the flat of a knife and combine with the chopped habanero and the lemon zest

Take your slow cooker and put roughly half of the chopped peppers and onions on the base of the pot, now place the pork on top and add the remaining peppers and onions around the sides. Add your garlic, chilli and lemon zest and try to make sure that it doesnt all end up in one clump.

Now pour over your bbq sauce; which bbq sauce you use really is down to you and your personal tastes. I normally use a mixture of half a bottle of Levi Roots Reggae Reggae sauce for its rich fruity flavour and warming scotch bonnet kick and half a bottle of something with a bit of a smokey taste to it.

Top the pot up with warm water until the pork is covered, pop on the lid and set the slow cooker onto it’s lowest setting. If you aren’t using a slow cooker then I would pop everything into a mid size casserole dish and set it in the oven at about 100c.

At this point you can just forget all about it for a good long while, I tend to leave mine in the slow cooker for about 12 / 13 hours if I can but you can get away with less time. I certainly wouldn’t leave it for anything less then 6/7 hours though as you want the meat to be really succulent and juicy.

When you are ready to eat take the pork out of the slow cooker and grab yourself a couple of forks, the meat should be so tender that it just shreds up without any effort whatsoever.

Pile the pulled pork onto a platter, add the onions and peppers from the pot and pour over a ladle full of the cooking liquid to help keep everything nice and moist.

Serve with nice fresh rolls or flatbreads, a nice crunchy coleslaw and bbq sauce of your choice to finish it all off nicely.

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Big Tom’s Secret Hot Sauce

10 04 2010

I realized yesterday that something terrible had happened…I had run out of hot sauce. This might sounds like a rather minor inconvenience to most people but unfortunately for me I am a chili addict.

I simply can’t get enough of that sweet, intoxicating chili heat and the store-bought sauces just don’t cut the mustard anymore, they tend to be too sweet, with an unnatural taste and certainly they are lacking that much-needed kick of heat.

There are some amazingly good hot sauces out there such as NagaSoreAss by CA Johns or a recent discovery Louisiana Gold Wasabi Hot Sauce but these aren’t the sort of hot sauces you would want to use everyday.

So of course I make my own.

My hot sauce of choice is loosely based on a Trinidadian hot sauce that I tried a few years back but I have played around with it until it has a little more heat but still keeps a great flavour.

So here it is for the first time ever

Big Tom’s Secret Hot Sauce:

15 Habanero or Scotch bonnet chilis

15 Chipotle chilis

15 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

15 spring onions, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 large carrot, coarsely chopped

1 cup pure fresh orange juice

3/4 cup distilled white vinegar

1/2 cup yellow mustard hot English mustard – I use Colemans but any strong mustard would work

1/2 tick of celery, roughly chopped

2 large handfuls of chopped coriander leaves

2 tablespoons thyme

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 bay leaves

tablespoon of crushed black pepper

Salt
Cut the stems off of the chilis and discard, you will however want to keep all of the seeds in the chili as if not you will lose a lot of the heat

In a blender or food processor, pulse the chilis with the garlic, spring onions, celery and carrot until finely chopped.

Now add the black pepper, vinegar, orange juice, mustard, coriander, thyme, crushed bay leaves and  lime juice and pulse just until combined.

Season with salt.

Once the sauce has been made you will need to transfer it into jars or bottles in order for it to keep. The vinegar acts as a preservative for the sauce and I have kept this in the fridge for up to a year without sterilising the jars.








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