Bourbon (and in particular JD) tends to be cited as the perfect extra added ingredient for pulled pork recipes. We’re not sure whether this is due to geography, clever marketing or genuine preference, but we’ve found using good old Scotch Whisky is actually better at cutting through the gelatinous and creamy flavour of slow-cooked pork. We think it gives it a more rounded flavour, and balances better against the sweet flavours of the meat rub.
You can use pretty much any meat rub you want on this recipe (Cajun, BBQ, Chilli etc), or even make your own, which is super simple to do by combining 2 tsp salt, with 2 tbsp dark brown sugar and 2 tbsp paprika. We’ve used our Fire-Pit BBQ Rub as it works great with the sauce created by the whiskey and coke, but feel free to try your own, we’d love to hear what you come up with.
Prep time : 20 minutes
Cooking time : 8-9 hours
2kg boneless pork shoulder
2 tbsp meat rub (we used BBQ)
1 tbsp olive oil
100ml Whisky (ideally single malt)
200ml Coke (full fat)
Remove the string from the pork, and unroll it. It is best to remove the rind and the skin with a sharp knife when it’s going in a slow cooker. You don’t need to get it all off, and it doesn’t need to be expertly cut, just get the majority of the rind off before cooking. That said, some people like the rind left on during cooking as they think it helps with basting. In that case, remove it at the end before shredding - it’s entirely up to you.
When the pork is unrolled, pat it dry with kitchen paper, and then sprinkle the rub on. It’s called a ‘rub’ for a reason so you need to get your hands dirty and rub it all over the pork, massaging it into the meat for the best flavour. Don’t be gentle with it, you can’t break it, get stuck in and rub it into the meat for maximum flavour. Roll the meat back up as best you can, but you don’t need to re-tie, it is good to go as it is.
Put the pork joint in a slow cooker, and pour in the whisky and coke, and then cover with the lid. You want to cook it on low for 8-9 hours, until it is nice and tender, falling apart and ready to be pulled. This means you’ve pretty much got the full day to do what you want while it is cooking, which could even involve going to work!
When it is finished, take the pork from the slow cooker. Cut off and discard the rind (if you haven’t already), and wrap the pork in foil, and leave it to rest for 30 minutes. It is really important you don’t skip this step, as it is during this resting period that the real ‘meat magic’ happens and the juices are evenly distributed. This is what gives you that lovely juicy flavour we all love with pulled pork, so we’ll say it again - please do not skip this step!
Pull the pork by shredding it with two forks, to give you beautifully tender pulled pork. You can stir in a couple of spoonfuls of the cooking juices if you wish to add some more moisture to the pork, which is what we like to do. If you’ve cooked with the rind on, we’d advise not to add any liquid as the juices will likely be fatty (which is another reason you might want to trim it off before cooking).
Serve in bread rolls, with as many side dishes as you like, coleslaw, potato salad, sweet potato wedges and corn on the cob being some obvious choices from our friends in America, but we think there is something amazingly simple about serving it with a good dollop of apple sauce and some quick stuffing.
Happy eating :-)