Pulled pork for a Sunday lunch with book club

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This weekend was my turn to host book club. A super excuse to have some of my favourite people over, and discuss pretty much everything except The Dinner by Herman Koch (excellent book-read it!)

I figured that seeing as I was having some of my favourite people over, then I’d cook one of my all-time favourite dishes. Pulled pork. No-fuss, no messing about carving round bones while vegetables are getting cold. But just one happy, steaming pan in the middle of the table for everyone to dive in and help themselves.

I should mention that this recipe is online already but as I pointed out in a recent post, one of the wonderful things I find about having a blog is the joy of having everything in one place, so here we go.

First things first, I set off in hunt of a hulking piece of meat. 3kg of pork shoulder (bone in). In London, it seems that all good things are snuck away under a remote railway arch. So it may come of no surprise that I located my beautiful piece of pork shoulder at The Butchery in an archway so remote and seedy, you just know the meat is going to be good. (And the bonus is that the next door archway does a roaring trade in artisan beer on tap, and the archway one down from that sells dried meats and cheeses). Anyone who thought that Maltby Street was the “new Borough Market” is behind the times in london’s fast-paced food scene!

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The day before you’re planning to cook the pork, make the marinade.

2 onions, diced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
150ml vegetable oil
150ml white wine vinegar
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
150g brown sugar
60ml Lea and Perrins
2tsp dried mustard powder
2tsp liquid smoke (magic, pure magic)

Fry the onions until they’re soft and translucent. Add the garlic to the pan and cook gently. Add everything else into the pan, and heat until the sugar is totally dissolved. Cool. (If you’re in a hurry, then cool as below-in a metal pan in a sink of cold water).

Cover the pork shoulder in the cool marinade and refrigerate – leaving the flavour to soak in for at least 4 hours…preferably overnight.

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Put the shoulder of pork and marinade in the oven for 5 hours or so, at 150C. By the end of cooking, you should be able to pull the pork away using just a fork-and strip it clean away from the bone.

It’s normal for the fat to go dark and caramelised. Try a little – and if, like me, you agree it’s full of flavour, then cut it into small pieces.

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Put the pulled pork and fat to one side.
Put the marinade on the hob, and heat so that it reduces by 1/3.
Return the meat to the hot marinade, and serve.
I’ve served this with buns quite a few times to quickly and easilY feed a crowd. For Sunday lunch I did it with coleslaw and paprika potato chips.

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