Pulled pork (slow cooker recipe)
Pulled pork (carnitas) is a classic American barbecue-style dish.
Lots of recipes suggest adding a tablespoon of liquid smoke over the meat at the final stage. I prefer to leave chemicals like that in the garage! However, if you have your own smoker, I would smoke it for an hour or so before you start the cooking process.
Note: This recipe needs to be prepared 24 hours in advance.
- 1.3 kg (3 lb) boneless pork shoulder.
- 2 level teaspoons sea salt
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons paprika - smoked paprika if you have it.
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder, freshly ground if possible - see Chef's notes
- 2 teaspoons mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns, ground to a powder in a coffee grinder
- 2 teaspoons chilli powder or a bunch of your favourite dried chillies, powdered
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, ground to a powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- 250 ml cider
- 1 orange, peeled, and roughly chopped
- If you are lucky enough to have a smoker, smoke the joint for an hour or so.
- Mix all of the spices together in a large baking tray.
- Remove and discard the rind.
- Make random slashes in the meat.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients to a large Lock and Lock box together with the pork joint. Replace the lid and shake like mad for a minute to mix the ingredients.
- refrigerate for 24 hours or so, shaking the box now and then.
- Add the contents of the Lock and Lock box to your slow cooker.
- Cover and slow cook on medium for 8 hours - it will be good to go after 4, but really disintegrates nicely the longer you cook it. If you are able, you could reduce to low after 4 hours too.
- Remove the cooked pork from the slow cooker and drain and reserve the juices and return the meat to the slow cooker to keep warm.
- Using a frying pan over a medium heat, boil the juices and reduce by about 50%, stirring now and then. This should take about 5 minutes.
- Pour the reduction over the cooked pork, remove from the slow cooker and use two forks to shred the pork into tiny pieces.
- Serve immediately.
Serve with chopped salad vegetables in pitta breads.
The spices in this are not an exact science. If you don't have a certain spice, use something else. Look at the individual spice links on this page or our main spice category to find similar spices that you may have instead. If you favour a certain flavour, add more of it. Mess around, be bold!!
In this recipe we are marinating the pork in the cider, rather than as a dry rub so you could just as easily add 3 or 4 peeled and crushed cloves of garlic instead of the garlic powder and a thumb-sized piece of ginger root, peeled and grated, instead of the ginger powder.
There is no need to peel ginger. As a result of attending a Thai cookery demo, we have learnt that peeling ginger is unnecessary unless for aesthetic purposes as the skin is high in fibre and full of flavour. However, do remove any bits that have become tough or woody.
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