Being a huge fan of pork (everything tastes better with bacon, right?), I have tried a few pulled pork sandwiches (‘pps’) in my time. In 2011, I had what turned out to be the most unforgettable, mouthwatering and delectable pps I’ve ever eaten, in a bar on Commercial Street in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The secret’s in the sauce, apparently, so when I returned home, I set myself the challenge of creating my own version. I studied and tested other sauces on the market before concocting, in true Willy Wonka fashion, ‘Katie’s Pulled Pork Sandwich Finger-Licking Sauce’ to go with the pps — and if I ever get a cooking-sauce deal, that’s going on the label. You heard it here first, folks…
- 2 kg free-range pork shoulder, bone in
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Pulled pork sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, very finely diced
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 carrot, very finely diced
- 2 sticks celery, very finely diced
- 1 long red chilli, finely diced
- 1 cup (250 ml) apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste (puree)
- 4 tablespoons treacle
- 2 tablespoons mustard powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ cup (125 ml) white vinegar
- 1 litre chicken stock
- ½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
- 1 tablespoon chipotle sauce
- 1½ teaspoons cornflour mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water
Apple cider slaw
- ¼ white cabbage, cored, leaves very finely sliced
- ¼ red cabbage, cored, leaves very finely sliced
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
- 6–8 radishes, very finely sliced
- 3 spring onions, trimmed and very finely sliced
Apple cider dressing
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 200 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1½ tablespoons caster sugar
- 4 free-range eggs
- 3¾ cups (600 g) strong white bread flour
- ½ teaspoon instant dried yeast
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 cup (250 ml) whole milk, warmed lightly, plus 1 tablespoon extra
- Handful sesame seeds
- To make the brioche, beat together the butter, sugar and three of the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour, yeast and salt and stir to combine. Make a well in the centre, then pour in the milk and bring together using your hands; the dough will be quite tacky but don’t be tempted to add extra flour. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm spot for 2 hours.
- Punch your fist into the centre of the risen dough, then knead it gently for a minute or two on a lightly floured worktop. Flour your hands and divide the dough into twelve even portions, then roll them into balls. Place on a floured baking tray, then cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm spot for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C fan-forced.
- Mix the remaining egg with the extra tablespoon of milk, and brush the buns generously with this mixture, then sprinkle the tops with sesame seeds. Bake for 20–30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 160˚C fan-forced.
- Place the pork shoulder in a roasting tin, skin-side down, and season with salt and pepper. Flip it over so the skin is facing upwards, then cover with foil and roast for 5–6 hours. Check after 3 hours – if the pork is starting to dry out, add a good splash of water to the roasting tin and return to the oven. Transfer the cooked pork to a wire rack to cool, then turn it over and shred the meat using a fork (the meat should come away in clumps and be really soft and succulent).
- Meanwhile, to make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2–3 minutes, then add the carrot, celery and chilli and cook for 10 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften. Add all the remaining ingredients except the cornflour paste and simmer gently, uncovered, for 1½–2 hours or until reduced and thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and pass the contents through a sieve, pressing down on the solids to get as much liquid through as you can. Return the strained sauce to the pan, stir in the cornflour paste and warm through.
- Add the pulled pork to the sauce and stir to coat thoroughly.
- To make the slaw, place all the vegetables in a large bowl and mix well. Combine the dressing ingredients, then add to the vegetables and toss gently to coat.
- Serve the pulled pork and slaw in mini brioche.