If you have dipped your nose into the culinary world recently then it is likely you have come across pulled pork. You’ll see it sharing shelf space with burgers, ribs and wings at festivals and street markets. Its simplicity is very much the reason for its success. A muscular cut of pork slowly cooked with an assortment of delicious seasonings, until it is juicy and tender enough to be “pulled” off the bone into strands and placed onto fluffy buns.
Sous vide equipment is a wonderful option for recreating this delicious dish at home. This method ensures consistency in results and is also ideal for breaking down any tough tissue in the meat and sealing in all the gorgeous porky flavours to create a juicier more intense aromatic end result.
Cuts and Marinades
Pork shoulder is the ideal cut of meat for this recipe due to its high level of marbling. This means the fat will break down throughout the cooking process keeping the meat flavoursome and incredibly moist. In addition a boned shoulder can be flattened out to give you maximum surface area for the marinade to sink in. However, any muscular cut of pork will do and if it is a boneless piece of pork you can cut it into smaller pieces to make it easier for handling.
You should cook the pork with a barbecue marinade added to the pouch to ensure all of its porky flavours are locked in.
- Fill your water bath with clean, fresh water and preheat to 70°.
- To prepare the meat remove any excess fat from the shoulder and then pat dry.
- Next you need to make a paste for the pork. Do so by combining all of the marinade ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Once you feel it is well mixed, evenly coat the surface of the pork.
- Vacuum seal the pork and any excess marinade in a large food-grade cooking pouch. Make sure the meat is flat and that the marinade is spread out evenly onto it.
- Then take the pouch and place it in a rack. Lower this rack into the water bath, the reason for doing this is to stop the pork from floating up to the surface. Leave it to cook for 24 hours.
- To eat straight away you should take the pouch out of the bath water bath and cut it open. Then take the pork out and place in another dish to cool. Pour the juices left in the bag into a pan and warm over the stove with a low heat for 5-7 minutes until you notice it thickening. You can char the outside of the pork with a blowtorch, if you don’t have a blowtorch you can colour the outside of the pork in a hot pan.
- Pull the meat into shreds with a pair of forks or your own fingers
- Add the thickened sauce to the shredded meat and mix well to make sure it is all coated.
- Finally serve the meat in buns and accompany with some salad and pickles!
If you don’t plan on eating the meat straight away you can shock freeze the meat. You can do so by adding lots of ice into a water bowl (it should have 50% or more of ice then water in the bowl) and then plunging the unopened pouch into the bowl, letting it cool completely. Then place the pouch in the fridge or freezer. Note it can only stay in the fridge for a maximum of 4 days but it can freeze for a longer length of time. To eat, just defrost and reheat!