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A spicy, meaty, totally convenient-y version of my stuffed olive oil bread.  Make a batch of pulled pork, freeze it on trays then bag for use later.  Pulled pork is a Southern U.S. barbecue classic, yet amenable to countless variations and interpretations by those unfettered by the shackles of tradition (did I say bigotry?).  Here’s the basic recipe:

Pulled Pork

Get hold of a 1 or 2 kg boneless pork shoulder joint and make a dry spice rub, for example:olive oil dough stuffed with pulled pork

  • 4 TBS cumin seeds
  • 2 TBS muscovado
  • 6 TBS pimentón
  • 1 TBS dried thyme
  • 2 TBS sea salt
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

Grind the cumin and mix it together with the other ingredients.  If your pork is tied up, untie it to expose maximum surface area and roll the meat around in the spice mix, rubbing in well so that the whole lot sticks.

If you have a slow cooker it will really come into its own now: pack the pork within – no need to tie up again as you’ll be shredding not slicing – and cook at low for several hours or even overnight.  Sufficient moisture should emerge from the pork itself to make adding extra unnecessary.

If you lack a slow cooker put the pork in an ovenproof dish and place in a hot oven (200C plus).  Turn the oven down immediately to 120C and cook for 3 or 4 hours or more, placing a lid on the dish after 2 hours if it looks like it might dry out.  If it dried out before you got to it, pour over a very little wine, stock or water just to keep everything moist – but not wet – and replace the lid.  Do make sure you’re cooking it long and slow or the meat fibres will toughen and make shredding impossible.

Remove from oven, reserving and refrigerating any excess liquid in case you need it later (skim off fat before using); let rest and cool slightly for around 15 minutes.  Separate the joint into manageable pieces and shred the meat with two forks along its muscle fibres, discarding any large hunks of fat, although most will have melted away.

If freezing, spread the shredded pork out on baking trays – covered with greaseproof or silicon paper so it doesn’t stick and place in the freezer overnight or until solid, then working quickly, break into chunks and throw them into a large resealable bag to dip into for use later.  It works brilliantly baked from frozen inside the olive oil dough; just make sure you freeze it in small enough clumps.

If eating straight away, the traditional manner is to add a slurp of barbecue sauce and stuff it in a burger bun to eat with coleslaw but it also goes fantastically well over rice (loosened with any leftover liquid), on a baked potato or in a burrito, and, of course, baked inside olive oil dough to make a perfect picnic or packed lunch – in slices, even party food.

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