10kg of pork shoulder

“This pork is the nuts, mate”

Probably not what you usually hear when you’re buying meat, but absolutely the right kind of message to be given when you’re purchasing 10kg of the stuff.

Happily, it turns out that 10kg is:

(a) exactly the maximum amount of pork shoulder you can fit in a large roasting tray and squeeze into a conventional oven; and

(b) just about the right amount of meat for about 30 people in fancy dress.

Which is good, because a friend and I were pretty much guessing at both the quantity of meat needed and the size of the oven we’d have to put it in when the butcher told us our two 5kg shoulders were, in fact, the nuts.

You see we were helping to cater for a leaving party for one of our biggest friends. When I say biggest, I mean he’s enormous (in a non fat way), rather than our ‘biggest’ or ‘bestest’ friend. He’s a good lad, but I wouldn’t want him to get ahead of himself.

Anyhows, we needed something suitably feast like. He’s off to Australia (in fact, he’s now gone), snared by the sun and a lady. So we thought along the Antipodean theme for a while, but felt, in the end, that copious amounts of lammingtons and flat whites wouldn’t satisfy the crowds. A Baaarbie would, of course, have been perfect. But we didn’t have the outside space, nor the promise of the type of weather he’ll no doubt have over there.  So I’m afraid we drifted to a different continent, to thoughts of oven ‘barbecuing’ a Deep South classic (and, of course, a favourite blogger dish): pulled pork.

We more or less followed this Hugh FW recipe (the Donnie Brasco), save we didn’t have 16-24 hours, so cooked it for about 11 at a slightly higher temperature than Hugh suggests (130-140C rather than 110C). In the future, I’d not bother lining the roasting tray with foil as this made it hard to baste and also hard to make use of the juices later on. The foil didn’t save the tray anyway. It would have been nice to have tried the extra hours at the ultra low temperature too. The meat was still dang good, mind.

From there it went a bit Pitt Cue-esque, with some coleslaw, a (non-chilli) BBQ bean stew, pickles and a sweet chilli sauce (as well as a distinctly Mediterranean tomato salad as a safe crowd pleaser), all kind of made up on the spot, but all pretty tasty and definitely a smart option when cooking for a big group whilst you’re dressed in a polka dotted 1 piece lycra morph suit.

I was most pleased with guessing how to make a sweet chilli sauce, which, along with pickles, provides what I think is an essential sharp contrast to the rich pork. So I’ve set down a very rough recipe for this.

If you fancy pulling some pork, the Hugh recipe we kind of followed seemed pretty good. This Jamie one is shorter and involves fewer spices; might be worth a try? But do make the sweet chilli sauce, whichever recipe you follow.

If you scroll down below the recipe you’ll see there are some pictures for you to click on and look through. There’s also the world exclusive first ever picture of me posted on this blog. To be honest, I’m not completely sure which of the freaks I am, so I’m afraid you’ll just have to guess.

Sweet chilli sauce for pulled pork

  • 250ml clear runny honey
  • 250ml Heinz tomato ketchup
  • 1 tblsp of dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tblsp of red wine vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • A couple of drops of Worcestershire sauce

Put all the ingredients in a milk pan or thick bottomed saucepan. Slowly bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes or so. The sauce thins from the unappetising ketchup and honey mix you have at the start. The red wine vinegar should sharpen it and the Worcestershire sauce dull the sweetness of the main two ingredients. Add more of either (particularly the vinegar) to taste. Make it in advance and leave to cool.

World exclusive picture of me.  In a polka dot lycra one piece.