I bet we are the last food blog in the Earth to blog about pulled pork, but we’ve done many similar dishes before, such as oxtail stew – rabo de toro, so it wasn’t on our priority list. However, over the last year pulled pork have became so popular in Finland that there are even convenience food versions available! So we decided to give it a try, but rather than mixing BBQ sauce with pork meat shreds, we wanted something more exciting.
A fellow Finnish blogger Under The Andalusian Sun had a nice pulled pork recipe with an Oriental twist. Since we are fond of Oriental cousine this was the way to go with minor tweaks. We can assure this recipe is worth to try even if you’ve done the BBQ version before!
Ingredients for Pulled Pork for 12 Pitas
- 1,5 kg (3 1/2 lbs.) of pork neck – cuello de cerdo
- 4 tablespoons of Chinese five-spice powder – polvo de cinco especias
- 4 teaspoons of sea salt – sal marina
- 4 star anises – anis estrella
- 2 onions – cebollas
- 2 cinnamon sticks – ramitas de canela
- 20 black peppers – pimientas negras
- 5 garlic cloves – dientes de ajo
- 2 chili peppers – pimientos picantes
- 4 cm piece (2″) piece of ginger – jengibre
- 6 lime leaves – hojas de lima
If the pork cut contains skin, fat and/or bones, don’t remove them. They bring rich flavor into the sauce and they are also much easier to remove after the meat is cooked. Our cut was from a local butcher and it had neck bones and skin with nice fat on.
Rub the five-spice powder and salt on the pork and let it marinate in the fridge overnight. Remove the pork from the fridge a couple of hours before cooking to bring it to room temperature. Heat the oven to to 130 ºC (270 ºF).
Use a large cast iron made Dutch oven. Place halved onions on the bottom and the meat with the rest of the ingredients on top of them. Pour water to cover the pork.
Put a lid on the Dutch oven and cook in the oven for 6 hours. You can check the meat every 2 hours and scoop some of the cooking liquid on the pork to prevent it from drying. When the meat is almost falling apart remove the Dutch oven from the oven. Place the meat to the serving plate, cover the plate with aluminium foil and let it rest while making the sauce.
Ingredients for the Pulled Pork Sauce
- 8 dl (4 cups) of the cooking liquid – líquido de cocción
- 1 dl (1/2 cup) of soy sauce – salsa soja
- 1 dl (1/2 cup) of liquid honey – miel líquida
- 4 dl (2 cups) of tomato sauce – tomate frito
- 1/2 dl (1/4 cups) of red wine vinegar – vinagre vino tinto
- 2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper – pimienta negra
Place all the ingredients in a saucepan bring to boil. Let it simmer on medium heat for about half an hour in order to reduce the sauce.
When the sauce is reducing, you can shred the pork. First remove the skin and bones, if necessary. Then use two forks to shred. When the sauce is thickened, pour 3/4 of it on top. Mix well and see if the mixture is too dry. Add more sauce, if needed. You can spare some of the sauce for dipping.
You can use the pulled pork to fill hamburger buns, but we preferred to make grilled pita breads. Check it out, they are awesome!
You can also chop some fresh vegetables for the filling of the pitas or hamburger buns. You can choose your favorite veges to give the dish some crunch, but we had some lettuce, fresh tomatoes, cucumber and spring onions. Fresh coriander would work as seasoning, too!