Monday, 2 July 2012

YUMMY YUMMY: Dr Pepper Pulled Pork

I’ve mentioned before my horn for American food, and London’s current preoccupation with barbeque and burgers would suggest there’s more than a few others who share a penchant for the dirty naughty dinners of the US. 
It ain’t fine dining, and by extension, isn’t pricey.  Given we’re all a bit poorer these days perhaps it makes sense we’re discovering the joy that a steamingly perfect Meat Liquor or MotherFlipper burger can bring for around £7.00.   This food isn’t any less researched than your haute cuisine dish either; cult burgers are cult because they’ve been meticulously fine-tuned and are nigh-on perfect beasts of decadence.
Where we often use the cheaper meat cuts with root veg in stews and pot roasts, the US slow smokes its brisket, or braises its spare ribs in very different concoctions.  After eating Anna Mae’s pulled pork I was drawn to the Pioneer Woman’s Dr Pepperrecipe.  Trust the US to braise its meat in a soft drink, bless em. 

Maybe there’s some magic chemical in the pop that tenderises the meat cause dear god it was succulent.  The Pioneer Woman’s version called for a can of chile in adobo which I didn’t have, so did a mix-match job with Heston’spulled pork recipe on the Waitrose website.   Not wanting to lose the smoky chipotle flavour I bunged in a heaped tablespoon of chipotle paste and emitted the chicken stock in lieu of the Dr Pepper. 
Sweet, spicy, smoky and tangy this was unbelievably moreish.  It took all my willpower not to eat the meat as I shredded given it was swooning at the merest pressure from my fork. Served with a sideorder of mac and cheese, the creamy pasta balanced the sharp heat of the pork.

Gonna make an ultimate sandwich with the leftovers. Man Vs Food has nowt on me…

Dr Pepper Pulled Pork
·       800g to 1 kg boneless pork shoulder (I used a crackling joint and removed the skin when shredding). Remove the butcher’s string and make some deep cuts in the thickest part of the flesh.
·       4 cloves garlic, crushed
·       1 shallot finely sliced
·       1 onion, roughly chopped
·       ½ teaspoon mustard powder
·       ½ teaspoon ground ginger
·       ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
·       ½ teaspoon salt
·        1 tablespoon tamarind paste
·       1 – 2 heaped tablespoons of chipotle paste
·       1 heaped teaspoon dried chili flakes
·       2 heaped tablespoon dark muscovado sugar
·       3 heaped tablespoons tomato ketchup
·       300g  soffritto passata (a useful short-cut for this recipe but you can always make your own)
·       Splash of white wine or cider vinegar
·       1 bottle (330ml) Dr Pepper
·       Oil or beef dripping. 

1)   Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius if fan-assisted, 170 if not.
2)   Mix all the dry spices together.
3)   Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil/dripping in a large frying pan or saucepan on a low/medium heat and sweat the shallots and the onion for about 5-10 minutes.
4)   Meanwhile, heat another pan with about 2 tablespoons of oil/dripping until smoking hot.
5)   Rub half the spice mixture on the pork flesh (don’t bother with the skin bit) and fry on all sides. It will smoke and spit, don’t be scared, you’re hard. Once browned and sealed all over remove and set aside while you finish the sauce.
6)   Add the garlic, chili flakes and the remaining spice mixture to the onions and increase the heat. Add the chipotle paste and the tamarind paste and fry for about 2 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking.
7)   Add the muscovado sugar and the soffritto passata to the onions.  Stir well and taste, add a splash of the vinegar.
8)   Bring up to boil.  In a large ovenproof, lidded pot add the browned pork and cover with the hot mixture. Give it a good turn around so every nook and cranny is covered in the sauce.
9)   Pour over the Dr pepper, cover with lid and put in oven for about 4 hours. Start checking on it at about 3-3 ½ hours: prod the meat with a knife, when it gives way with only slight pressure, it’s done.
10)  Remove from oven and remove the pork from the pot. Leave it cool for a few minutes then remove the skin and excess fat. Using two forks shred the meat into bite-size pieces. 
11)  The sauce will have a lot of fat on the surface, using a metal spoon skim this and discard. Add the shredded pork back into the sauce and keep warm until ready to serve.
12)                  Hell yeah.

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