Two things before I begin:
- That photo doesn’t do it justice – I wouldn’t know what a camera was even if it bit me on the arse.
- Whilst it may be hard to believe, it tasted a lot better than it looked.
Twas a Monday, and I was quite innocently asked what I did over the weekend, to which I replied,
“I did some pulled pork”
To which the response was,
“Dude, that’s not a nice thing to say about the Mrs.”
Euphemisms aside, I had indeed done some pork over the weekend, it had been big, slow, not very pretty but exceedingly good.
There is a story in this, and it actually begins with the watching of an episode of the fabulous baker brothers, seeing the recipe for pulled pork and then deciding, “Even I could do that!”.
And so the butcher was called, and we asked for a hand of pork.
“It’ll be about 3kg in weight” he said. No matter, I thought, one kg of that would be the bone and that leaves two kgs of meat for our meal and subsequent lunches.
Well.. He lied. When I collected it, the mighty hand weighed in at 4.2kgs. Now, I’m aware that I’m one of those storytellers that starts to inflate the sizes of everything (as my wife will probably attest), so I assure you I went back to the label on the joint and it did indeed say 4.2 kgs. Allowing me kilo for the bone, that still leaves over three for us.. which I know I’d never finish even if I had a day of orgiastic gluttony.
The cavalry were called, one of whom had been known to polish off half a duck in less than fifteen minutes, and before we knew it, ten were due for lunch.
Back to the recipe, I decided I’d marinate the pork in the bag it came in, that way the marinade stays in contact with the pork for longer, rather than just pooling in the bottom of the bowl it was in. This was mainly because the hunk of meat was so big I didn’t actually have a bowl big enough to marinate it in.. so the bag it was.
04:45 the next morning, I was up, blearily smacking the oven on and throwing the hand in at the recommended 240, and rolling back into bed thirty minutes later having turned it down to 140 degrees. Easy as that.. so easy in fact that I was somewhat skeptical. Being of a martial arts persuasion, I get suspicious when something is too easy.. it’s a bit like the Dark side, quicker, easier but you ultimately pay a high price for it.
Eight hours later, everyone had turned up. They were poised with forks at the ready, coleslaw, wraps and pittas ready. Out of the oven came this rather grim looking chunk of dead animal. Well, you’ve seen the photo. It wasn’t looking that good initially, well not until we had a tug. The meat didn’t so much as pull but fall off the bone. The low and slow had rendered the meat really tender and it fell away with little persuasion. Needless to say, it went down a storm. The nice thing about a pork shoulder that big, is that you get several cuts of meat all in the same joint, and although I don’t know the names, some were meatier and chewier, some were much smoother and fattier so there was something in there for everyone. JBug ate so much of it he did his best beached whale impression, but still wanted to eat more of it.
I really liked this recipe because it’s so easy, but unlike the Dark side there isn’t a catch. Provided you can get the joint of meat, and have an oven that can keep the temperature properly, you’ve got a lot of margin for error. It’s one you can literally fall asleep whilst doing and provided you’re not Rip Van Winkle, you’ll wake up in time to take it out when it’s cooked. None of the ingredients are particularly difficult to source, except for maybe the hand of pork if you don’t have a good butcher. I’ll have to see if supermarket butchers can do that to order.
Best of all, it’s cheap – here’s the numbers:
A 4.2kg hand of pork cost us £17.00 at our local butcher, Fullers
The marinade probably cost about £3
Pittas and salad about another £5
An estimate of the electricity required to roast for eight hours is £5
So, that meal for ten conveniently comes to £30, which is £3 per person. Now that’s cheaper than roasting chicken.