Smokey Pulled Pork

Smoky slow cooked Pulled Pork

Smoky slow cooked pork being pulled. It should be soft as butter. Make sure that you break up the Crispy fat and mix it well in with the meat.

The new must make for summer. Succulent and tantalisingly smoky shreds of slow cooked pork sandwiched between rich soft brioche buns.   The remains, if there are any, make a delicious refried bean hash or Stirring Stuff’s Thai inspired pink grapefruit and coconut salad (link posting soon).

In the USA Brioche or sweet soft buns have been a popular way to serve lobster rolls, the Hawaiians even boast this style of bread as their own and Hawaiian bread and rolls are sold as such all over the Islands. In the UK Brioche buns are just beginning to making an appearance in the supermarkets.  If you can’t find them then use any other variety of soft bun. A good quality or homemade Scottish farl would also be delicious and slightly different. Follow the link for a good recipe.

As indicated below you can prepare the marinade and baste the joint with it the night before if you need the cooking time for a lunch.  Alternatively and even more helpfully you can cook and pull the pork the day before as it reheats beautifully. Simply pop the amount of pulled pork that you need into an oven proof dish, cover it with foil and heat it for 20 minutes or until piping hot and sizzling in the oven at 200c/gas 6.

The recipe indicates that you could use a piece of leg or shoulder for this recipe. purists argue that shoulder is the joint of choice as the meat is darker in colour, slightly more marbled and lends itself  to longer slower cooking.  Having said that I have made this dish with both types of joint and they were equally good.

Boned and rolled pork joints.

Boned and rolled pork joints. On the left you have a leg joint and on the right, shoulder. You can see that the shoulder joint is darker and slightly more marbled. Great for slow cooking.


Makes 10-12 brioche burger buns

1.6 kg shoulder or leg of pork either with the bone in or out but the rind removed

1 teaspoon salt (you could use a smoked salt to boost the smoky flavour)

¼ teaspoon coarsely ground white pepper

1 teaspoon muscovado or dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons sweet paprika

1 teaspoon sweet smoky paprika

1 teaspoon mustard powder

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

2 tablespoon mild olive oil

200ml ml water

150ml of your favourite BBQ sauce


Heat the oven to 200c

Put the salt, white pepper sugar and ground paprika along with the mustard powder into a small mixing bowl.  Crush the peeled garlic into the bowl and mix the ingredients together with the olive oil to form a smooth spreadable paste.


Blend the smoky basting paste with crushed garlic and olive.

Blend the smoky basting paste with crushed garlic and olive.

Remove any strings or nets from the join and then remove the rind if your butcher hasn’t done this already. Make sure that you leave a good quantity of the fat on the joint.

Rub the smoky paste all over the meat making sure that you spread it into any openings and crevasses as this will ensure maximum flavour penetration.   Loosely tie the basted joint with butcher’s string, or simply pop the butcher’s netting back over it. You can prepare the meat to this stage the night before and leave covered in the fridge until you are ready to cook it.

Put the joint into a roasting tin and into the hot oven. Roast for 20 minutes to allow the heat to begin to penetrate the meat and for the fats to run.  Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 150c/130fan/gas2.


Basting the Pork shoulder joint

Rub the smoky paste all over the joint and cook at 200c for about 20 minutes to allow the heat to penetrate and the juices to flow.

Baste the meat in the juices, spreading any paste that has fallen off back onto the joint.  Add 200ml of water to the roasting pan.

Cover the meat with good heavy foil tucking this over the edges of the roasting tin to form a sealed parcel.

Return the meat to the now cooling oven and cook for 5 hours.  Turn the meat onto its top side half way through cooking. The meat should be falling apart and very soft and succulent.

When the meat is soft and succulent remove it from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 200c.  Remove the foil and strain the juices from the pan into a heat proof jug. Set the jug aside to allow the fat and the liquid to separate while you complete the cooking and prepare the pulled pork.

Turn the joint so that the fatty side is uppermost and put it back into the oven uncovered for about 20 minutes to brown and crisp the fat.

Remove the joint to a large chopping board and have ready a large warm serving dish.  Either shred the pork using two large forks or don a pair of clean rubber or latex gloves and tear the meat into bite sized shreds by hand. Pile the shredded pork onto the warm dish.

Shredding Pulled Pork

The cooked pork should be soft enough to tear apart with two forks.

Skim the fat from the reserved pan juices. Spoon 4 tablespoons of your favourite BBQ sauce into a small pan and blend with 100ml of the strained meat juice. I used Stokes BBQ sauce for this recipe Heat gently until it is just bubbling and then pour the sauce over the pulled pork and mix well together.

Cover the pork with foil and keep warm until required.

To assemble pile the warm meat into halved brioche buns. Tops with additional BBQ sauce, shredded crisp Lettice or coleslaw and dill pickle. Sandwich together and stack the filled buns onto a serving dish and let everyone dig in.

Smoky Pulled Pork served in a brioche bun.

Smoky Pulled Pork served in a brioche bun with shredded lettuce, sliced dill pickle and red cabbage slaw with a raspberry vinaigrette.

I like to serve mine with red cabbage slaw dressed with raspberry vinaigrette and sweet dill pickle Summer Red Cabbage Slaw

NB Cook a larger shoulder of between 2.5 and 3 kg in weight for 6 ½ hours plus the 20 minutes crisping time.

Don’t Waste the beautiful paprika fat!

Pork Fat is high in Vitamin D so do use the flavoured orange fat that you skim from the cooking juices. Either spread the pretty fat on roundels of crisp bread or toast, top with a sprinkling of flaked sea salt and freshly chopped thyme or use to roast skinned and diced potato squares.

Stirring Stuff in Scotland

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