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.
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- 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
Cook it over:
- 450 ml cider
- Preheat the oven to 150° C (300° F - gas 2)
- 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.
- Slice the skin off the joint - we're not going to use it today.
- Make random slashes all over the meat.
- Rub the spice mix all over the pork and into the cuts you've made.
- Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- 15 minutes before you are ready to start cooking, preheat the oven to 150° C (300° F - gas 2)
- Place the pork, 'skin-side-up' on a wire rack resting on a tray full of cider. The pork must be clear of the cooking liquor.
- Cover and seal with two layers of tin-foil so the joint can steam in the cider.
- Cook for 4.5 hours, and don't fiddle or mess about with it!
- After 4.5 hours, turn the heat up to 200° C (400° F - gas 6).
- Reserving the original tray and its juices, place the joint on its rack over a clean, dry roasting tray and roast uncovered for a further 30 minutes.
- When the pork is cooked, use two forks to shred the pork into tiny pieces.
- To the juices, add the final sugar, taste, and then add a splash or so of white wine vinegar to balance the flavours. Use a wooden spatula to get all of the goodness from the pan and then whisk well.
- Tip the pork into the sauce and heat until it is reduced to a sticky mass.
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!!
Having made this five or six times now, I would be inclined to leave out the cinnamon as I find the flavour somewhat overpowering. However, it does seems to be included in most traditional recipes.
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