We’ve been wanting to make a BBQ pulled pork recipe for some time now but have always been put off due to the length of time it takes. In the end we had to give into the cravings. In order to get the best pulled pork we worked out that we needed/wanted to do the following:
- Brine the pork overnight to draw out the water
- Braise the pork in cider over a bed of apples
- Prepare an amazing BBQ sauce with Jack Daniels
- Make sure to let the pulled pork rest for at least an hour sealed in foil to retain moisture
So we started by buying a smallish piece of pork shoulder..try and get a piece with a bone in it as it will add to the flavour(unfortunately we couldn’t find one with a bone). Next stage was to create a brine to sit the pork in overnight. The salt in the brine drains out the water from the pork while adding flavours. The brine is made up of salted water with some sugar and light flavourings like onions, cardamom pods, star anise and black pepper corns.
Next stage is to create a BBQ rub for the pulled pork. We used a mixture of sweet and smoked paprika as the base flavour along with other flavours such as salt, sugar. Next stage oven roast the pulled pork on a rack over cider covered. The reason we do it over a rack is so that the pork doesn’t go soggy. The steam from the liquid flavours and keeps the pork moist.
The final stage is to uncover the pork and brown it over a high heat in the oven. The jack Daniels whiskey BBQ sauce we made by combining the juices from the cooking with Jack Daniels (see below for recipe). The JD BBQ sauce gives a fantastic aroma and tang and goes wonderfully with the BBQ pulled pork.
- ¾ cup salt
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 2 bay leafs
- 1 small onion
- 5 cardamom pods
- 1 star anise
- 2 tbsp paprika
- ½ tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp chilli powder or cayenne pepper ( adjust to taste)
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp ground ground fennel seed
- 1 bottle cider
- 2 cups water
- 3-4 apples,thick slices
- 1 onion, sliced into rings
- 4-5 large garlic cloves (whole, unpeeled)
- ½ tsp whole fennel seeds
- ½ cup jack Daniels
- 1 cup pork braising liquid
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 4-5 roasted garlic cloves (from braising), mashed
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- Place the water, salt and sugar in a large pot and bring to the boil gently until the salt and sugar are dissolved
- Allow to cool fully
- Add the remaining ingredients, the pork, and cover with cling film.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours but ideally overnight
- Take the pork out of the brine and dry with kitchen roll
- Rub liberally with the BBQ rub
- Add the cider, apples and rest of the braising ingredients to the bottom of an oven pan.
- Place the pork on a wire rack and cover the whole thing with foil tightly to seal everything in
- Cook at 160 degrees for about 3 hours, turning the pork mid way
- After 3 hours drain the braising liquid from the pork and place the pork back in a baking tray
- (Remember to fish out the garlic cloves which should be soft and melow in flavour)
- Sprinkle with some brown sugar to help caramelise the outside
- Bake the oven at 200 degrees for around 1 hour until brown and "delicious looking"
- Remove the skin from the garlic cloves and add them to the rest of the BBQ JD sauce ingredients to the pan
- Turn on the heat and simmer gently for around 5-10 minutes
- Taste for seasoning and add more salt or brown sugar as required
- When ready take the pork out of the oven and wrap tightly in foil making sure it is well sealed
- Allow to rest for at least 1 hour
- When you are ready to eat unwrap the pork shoulder.
- Use a fork to pull apart the pork into nice shreds
- Add some of the Jack Daniels BBQ sauce and mix well (make sure there is plenty of sauce to keep everything moist)
- Wrap the juicy pulled pork mixture in foil and re-heat in the oven for around 10 minutes just before serving.
- Your pulled pork is now ready, serve in buns or as a side with your favourite sides.