This dish of tender shredded pork is seriously rewarding. You may want to cook it overnight, or start the recipe in the morning so the pork is ready in time for dinner. It doesn’t take too long to set up and the final result is worth the wait. If you can’t find chipotle or ancho chillies, add an extra tablespoonful of paprika instead.
- 2 kg (4½ lb) shoulder free-range pork off the bone
- sea salt
- olive oil
- 250 ml (1 cup) dry cider or apple juice, plus extra as needed
- 2 tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- 1 dried chilli or 2 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 2 chipotle or ancho chillies, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 400 ml (14 fl oz) tomato passata
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2-3 tbsp golden caster or raw sugar
- 60 ml (2½ fl oz) cider vinegar
- ¼ white cabbage, finely sliced
- 1 bunch (about 300 g/11 oz) radishes, finely sliced
- 4 spring onions, finely sliced
- 2 green apples, finely sliced
- 1 handful coriander leaves
- 1 handful mint leaves
- 2 limes, juiced
- olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/Gas 7). Grind the dry rub ingredients in a pestle and mortar until coarse. Remove the skin from the pork and discard or use for crackling.
Sprinkle the pork generously with salt. In a deep, flameproof casserole (with lid), heat a good glug of oil and when hot, brown the pork on both sides. Remove from the casserole and cover with the dry rub, making sure you get into all the nooks and crannies. Drain the excess fat from the casserole and return the pork to it. Pour the cider or apple juice over the pork.
Bake in the oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven to 140°C (275°F/Gas 1), cover and cook for a further 3½–5 hours or until the meat is soft and pulls apart easily. Top up with extra cider, juice or water if necessary.
Remove from the oven. Transfer the pork to a plate or board. Place the casserole over high heat and bring to the boil.
Add the barbecue sauce ingredients and season to taste. Turn the heat down and leave it to bubble for 10–15 minutes, until it has thickened and reduced a little.
Meanwhile, pull the pork apart with two forks so it is nicely shredded.
Make the coleslaw by combining the cabbage, radish, spring onion and apple. Tear the herbs over it and squeeze in the lime juice, along with a small drizzle of oil. Season to taste.
Pour the barbecue sauce over the pork and serve with the coleslaw.
Read about Emma Grazette’s spice journey through Oaxaca, Mexico.