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The words ‘meal prep’ are pretty unsexy. The thought of a production line of plastic containers being filled with some soulless casserole to be microwaved throughout the week - no thanks. Chef Andy’s Pulled Pork, on the other hand, can (and we think should) be made in advance. Then it’s the work of mere moments to whip up some of the most sumptuous, satisfying and seductive mid-week meals.
A few action items spread across a weekend, then squirrel away portions to be brought out just before dinner time. In a burger-bun from our bakery with onion rings and coleslaw was a smash-hit special on our menu. Still, this pulled pork happily nestles inside a taco or amongst some corn chips for a Tex-Mex inspired nachos. The low-carbers amongst us will salivate at the sight of pulled pork lettuce cups, and when time is really against you, no one’s going to say no to a little pulled pork on toast! A long list of serving suggestions is down below.
It’s an economical cut of pork you want here. Basically, in the meat world, you either have to spend money or time. As this one takes quite a few hours to come to soft, juicy perfection, it’s thankfully easy on the wallet. Pork shoulder is ideal, the muscle fibres break down with the long cook time and pull apart beautifully.
We’re going to be doing a little at home sous vide-ing here. Don’t worry. It might be a new method of cooking for you, but it’s possible, easy and safe - even without any fancy equipment. Follow the steps below to create your own water bath, and you’ll unlock a whole world of sous vide recipes.
2kg boneless free-range pork shoulder
92g (1 jar) Lillie’s Q Carolina Dirt BBQ Rub
1 heaped tsp Olsson’s Red Gum Smoked Salt
250ml (about half a bottle) Lillie’s Q Carolina BBQ Sauce
On Saturday morning, pat your pork with a clean kitchen towel until thoroughly dry, then slice it into 5cm thick strips. In a large bowl, mix the BBQ seasoning and salt, add the pork strips and toss to make sure every face of pork is covered in seasoning. Put the pork into a large zip lock bag. You might want to split it between two if your bag is not big enough. With the top of the bag still open, dip it into a large bowl (or filled sink) of water, but don’t submerge! This will squeeze all the air out of the bag, then just seal the top. (Who needs to buy a fancy vacuum machine!?) Dry the sealed bag, then put it into another bag, just to be extra safe, and repeat the air-squeezing process. Put it into the fridge and leave it to marinate for 24 hours.
On Sunday morning, fill your largest pot ¾ full with water. Leave enough space so it won’t overflow when you add the pork. If you have a thermometer, bring the water to 80°C, then adjust the flame to keep the water at that temperature. If you don’t have a thermometer, just set barely above the lowest temperature. Near enough.
Put the sealed bags of pork into the water bath, put on the lid and leave it to cook for 12 hours. Lift the lid every few hours and add hot water from the tap if needed.
Remove the bags from the water, towel them dry then pour the pork into a large bowl. Using two spoons, break the pork apart into large shreds. Add the sauce and stir to coat. You can serve it right away, or it will keep in the fridge for seven days or in the freezer for six months. You can just put it back into the zip lock bags. When you need some, take out only what you plan to eat and warm it in a small pot, keep the rest of the pork well chilled.