Placed another farm order from Foxbury the week before last and last weekend, we made the whole pork shoulder. It weighed in raw at 6.190kg (or 13.647lb) and we got about 3kg of meat out of it … or enough for upwards of 30 servings! To go with it, I made a large batch of my homemade barbecue sauce (which is something that I should do more often … store-bought sauce is generally not as good and more expensive … the only exception that I have found is Reggea-Reggea Sauce).
Jill has often commented that this was the best barbecue that she has ever eaten. The best thing about this pork is that it is so simple to make … it just takes some time. To start, preheat your oven to its highest setting.
To make it, just take your whole shoulder (bone in, skin off – a good butcher will do this for you). Rub it down really good with a selection of spices (the basics of salt and pepper work … you didn’t think that I would give out all of my secrets, did you?). You want to get a pretty good overall coverage of the surface of the meat. Place the meat in a large roasting pan. The pan needs to be large enough to hold both the joint and the juice that will run off it while cooking – if you need one, buy it from Nisbets. Put the meat in the oven and turn it down immediately to a low temperature (roughly 100C/200F). Leave it to cook slowly and go to bed.
In the morning, it is time to check on the pork. It should have had more than enough time to cook, and the internal temperature is 70C/160F. You should also be left with a lot of juice (both fat and water) from the pork. Drain this off into a bowl … do not discard it!
Let it cool slightly while making the sauce.
Again, I can’t give out my real secrets, but I can give out the basics because it is based on a series of other recipes that I have learned over the years. More than anything else, making sauce is an art … the more that you practice, the better that you become.
- 2 parts – Vinegar
- 1 part – Catsup
- 1 part – Brown Sugar
- Black Pepper, to taste
- Crushed Red Pepper, to taste
- Other spices, to taste
(One very important note: using Crushed Red Pepper means that the sauce will get hotter over time. So, make sure that it is not too hot before when you make it or it will definitely become way too hot over time.)
To make the sauce, mix everything together in a pot over low heat until it comes together. Leave it to stand for an hour or two, while you finish the shoulder. The sauce can be bottled while hot and will keep without refrigeration, if tightly sealed.
Finally, time to take the pork apart … this has two purposes: to remove the fat and to shred it. If you don’t care about the fat, the you can skip or shorten this step greatly. Basically, all that you have to do is to pick through the entire shoulder, keeping the meat and discarding the fat. This process allows you to mix up the meat because it will have cooked slightly unevenly (not in a bad way).
Once it has been shredded (or pulled, in barbecue slang), then put it back in the roasting pan. Coat slightly in the juice (not the fat) that you drained from the roasting pan and some of the sauce. Don’t add too much juice or sauce … you just want to have a slight coating on the meat.
While it is best enjoyed warm from the oven, any leftovers can be frozen!
For more barbecue tips, try these books: