Okay, okay... So it kinda - sorta looks like a sandwich outta a Horror Film - but that's just BBQ sauce, y'all! And homemade too!!
These pulled pork sandwiches represent one of the first (I think) things I've made from the boys over at Sorted Food... Although that doesn't seem quite right/ fair as their recipes are pretty awesome! They work kinda like my favourite Sam book in terms of approachable, tasty recipes only in internet/ video form.
Anyway! The recipe. As we have established by now, I am me. And, being me, following recipes to the T is something I have about as much talent for as I do sitting still. (i.e. Zero. *fidgets* ... *knocks laptop onto floor* ... "Shit, shit, shit!")
I followed the Sorted recipe Sorta... And still got an awesome, fabulous result! AND managed to make soup out of the left over cooking liquid. Because I am nothing if not resourceful.
So. The changes. The first, and possibly most significant aberration was that I slow cooked, rather than oven-braised my pork. Partially because my oven at home is a little bit crap (not just sour grapes, I swear!) and partially because... Well. I did, Okay?! Rather than the three hours at 160ºC recommended by those Sorted Boys - I did 3-4 hours on Low in my slow cooker... (I started prodding the pork at 3 hours... And gave it another 30 mins - keep an eye on it)
My second thing was; here in l'il ol' NZ beer typically comes in 330ml bottle rather than the
Sorted-stipulated 500ml... So I used 330ml of Speight's Old Dark (a link to their Wikipedia page rather than their website as you have to be over 18 to visit, and that was too much like hard work...), 375ml of Bundaberg Ginger Beer (full fat, please - none of this "Diet" BS) the reason for the GB again, was two-fold - one, it was what we had and two, I thought the ginger would add an extra dimension... And topped the liquid content up to a litre with 300ml of water (because, no - I am not taking a tsp of water out to make it exact - that would be overkill!)
Because of the GB, I didn't bother with adding any sugar as I figured the mix would be sweet enough! (I also caramalised, rather than quick-fried my carrots and onions - adding to the sweetness)
Finally, for the pork - I don't typically have garlic powder (for the rub) - but we did have some garlic flakes (why, I will never know...) so I ground 'em up and used them instead! I'll stick with recommending garlic powder - simply because I don't think it's necessary to use the flakes... But I do think it's good to point out that substitutions can be simple too!
For the sauce, I totally ignored the "cooking liquid could make it greasy" warning and used it anyway... It was fine (emulsified) on the day - and you can just lift off the separates once it's sat in the fridge overnight (which is what you need to do with all the cooking liquid if you wanna use if later to make a soup or something). And I used Sriracha rather than Tobassco, but any hot sauce will probably do! :)
The result, when served in a bun with coleslaw (with either vinaigrette [for balance] or mayo [for sheer, unadulterated luxuriousness]) is a delicious, smokey-sweet sandwich that you won't be able to wait to have leftovers of!
1 large onion, medium sliced
2 carrots, medium sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed and roughly chopped
1.5(ish)kg pork shoulder, bone-in/skin-off
2 Tbsp smoked paprika
2 tsp cayenne pepper (I used to call this "canine" pepper when I was a kiddie)
1 Tbsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp tomato paste
(1-2 Tbsp brown sugar - if you're not using a sweet liquid)
Liquid to make 1 litre (be that beer, ginger beer, stock, cider... and water! Aim for half water!)
Caramalise the onion, carrots and garlic in a little oil. Tip into a slow cooker with the tomato paste, brown sugar (if using) and liquids.
Mix the paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, salt and pepper together and massage into the pork shoulder.
Pop the shoulder into the liquid-filled slow cooker and allow to percolate for 3-4 hours (or until the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender) At this point, pull the pork out the slow cooker and allow to rest on the bench, covered loosely in foil. Reserve the liquid.
While the pork is resting - get on with making your own BBQ sauce...
You will need:
1 Tbsp each: honey, brown sugar and smoked paprika
150ml water (or cooking liquid - if you can skim off some of the fat first, so much the better! :) )
50 ml cider vinegar
150g tomato ketchup/sauce (I can remember how much that is in cup-form, sorry!)
2 tsp (or to taste) each Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce
Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a small saucepan and heat until slightly thickened (or reduced by 1/3 - 1/2 - if you want a CRAZY BBQ sauce... Which is what I did.)
Now, shred your pork with a pair of forks - it's best to shred all the pork now, because it will set up hard if you don't!
And pile the pork into a bun with some coleslaw and drizzle over that homemade BBQ crack (I reckon a little apple sauce would be good in there too...)
The leftover pork can be used in soups, more sandwiches or onigiri... Use your imagination!