If you have a kettle-style smoking barbecue, use that for best results.
This recipe was given to me from our neighbours when we lived in South Carolina. It’s American-style barbecue that’s best slow-smoked for 12 hours, but this recipe has been adjusted for home use.
- 150 ml molasses
- 3 litres water
- 100 g sea salt
- 2 kg pork shoulder, skin removed, cut into 4 pieces
- 2 tbsp whole fennel seed
- 2 tbsp whole cumin seed
- 2 tbsp whole coriander seed
- 1 tbsp chilli flakes
- ¼ cup onion powder
- ⅓ cup sweet paprika
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.
You will need to begin this recipe 1 day ahead.
Combine the molasses, water and salt in a non-reactive (plastic or stainless steel) container that is big enough to hold the pork and keep it completely submerged. Place the pork in the brine. Seal the container and refrigerate overnight, for about 12 hours.
The next day, preheat the oven to 160°C.
Place the fennel, cumin and coriander seeds and chilli flakes in a spice grinder. Pulse to a medium-grain texture (see note) and place in a bowl large enough to mix the pork in. Add the onion powder and paprika and mix thoroughly.
Remove the pork from the brine and pat dry with paper towel. Place the pork in the bowl with the spices and rub spices into the pork. Try to make sure the spices cover as much of the pork as possible. If you use plastic gloves, you can really get a good rub going on. If you still have some spots without rub, just sprinkle it on once it is in the cooking pan.
Place the pork in a 25 cm x 35 cm x 8 cm heavy-based pan. If you don’t have a heavy-based pan, use a roasting pan. Roast in oven for 2–3 hours. You can turn the pork once during the middle of the cooking.
Once the pork is cooked, remove and transfer to a non-reactive container. Using kitchen forks, rip or shred the pork while it is hot. Leave pork to cool for 10–15 minutes, then stir. After that, you are ready to get stuck into it.
• You can use pre-ground spices if you like, but you get a lot more flavour by grinding your own.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Lucy Tweed. Food preparation by Tammi Kwok. Creative concept by Belinda So.