This is a brilliant pulled pork recipe showcasing the unsung hero of the pork community in my book, pork shoulder. I threw this in the pressure cooker for an hour and out it came, literally falling apart, ready to be paired with any Mexican style meal……taco’s, enchiladas, burritos. I decided after a big weekend that I felt like a big bowl of something unbelievably tasty but also fresh and zesty, with spice and crunch. These pulled pork bowls were just the ticket and all of my meal dreams came true.

This is such a versatile recipe because as I mentioned earlier, pulled pork can be used for the basis of loads of Mexican dishes. This will look like a super long recipe, however you can pair the pulled pork with ingredients of your choice and keep it as simple as you like. The beauty is, the rest of the meal can be made at your own leisure while the pork is cooking. You could even cook your pork days in advance and it will keep in the fridge or freezer. Pork shoulders are often quite large too so it will definitely make enough to feed 8-10 or else you can halve the pulled pork once cooked and use it for another meal.

I also removed the skin for this recipe but did not let it go to waste. I cooked it separately in a hot oven and used the crackling for texture, it was seriously good 🙂 However, feel free to discard the skin if that is your preference.

Because there are quite a few elements in this recipe, I have decided to publish it a little differently than normal. As the star of the show the pulled pork recipe will come first and all of the other elements will come after. That way, if you just want to do the pulled pork, you won’t have to keep scrolling down the page for the salsa’s and red rice etc.

Prep time: will vary depending on wether you cook all or part of this recipe. If cooking the lot, I would allow 1 hour, basically the amount of time it takes to cook the meat in the pressure cooker

Cooking time: Pressure Cooker 1 hour 10 Minutes

Slow Cooker 8 hours 10 minutes

Oven 4 – 5 hours @ 160°C – ovens vary but pork is ready when it falls apart

$$ Medium Budget

Serves 8

1.8kg Pork Shoulder, skin removed and set aside

1 brown onion, diced

6 garlic cloves

1 tbs of oregano

1 tbs of ground cumin

Juice of 1 orange

Juice of 2 limes

3 bay leaves

2 tbs of chipotle chillies in adobo sauce (you can find this in the Mexican section at the supermarket)

375ml of Coca Cola (I know, sounds weird but works a treat and I normally loathe coke)

Sea salt and pepper

For the Crackling:

1 tbs of Em’s Mexican Spice Blend

A drizzle of oil

1 tsp of sea salt

Pulled Pork Method:

To prepare the pork, use a sharp knife to remove the skin from the pork (in one piece) and remove as much excess fat as you can. Pork shoulder can be a little fatty but it is easy enough to trim.

To prepare the skin, slice the pork at 0.5cm intervals. I find a Stanley Knife to be really handy for cutting pork skin as it can be quite tough. Place the pork skin on a rack in the sink and pour over a cup of boiling water. Pat the skin dry with paper towel and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes (or as long as you like) to dry out, this will give you lovely crisp crackling.

Place your pressure cooker on browning mode or heat a large frypan and brown the pork until golden and caramelised. There should be enough residual fat in the pan to gently fry the onions until soft and then add the garlic and bay leaves. Fry for one minute or so and then add the chipotle chillies, cumin and oregano, stirring continuously before pouring in the orange juice, lime juice and coca cola. Stir to combine, season with sea salt and pepper and pop the pork, juices and all in the pressure cooker, slow cooker or an oven proof casserole and cook according to directions above.

To cook the skin, heat the oven to 220°C. Remove the pork skin from the fridge and drizzle over a little oil before sprinkling over the Em’s Mexican Spice Blend and sea salt. Give the skin a good rub to really coat it well and then bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes or until the skin is seriously crispy and crunchy.

To finish the pulled pork, remove it from the pressure cooker, slow cooker or oven and pour the sauce into a saucepan. The pork should literally fall apart as you are lifting it out. Place it in a shallow, oven proof casserole and use two forks to shred the pulled pork. Bring the sauce to the boil and allow to reduce by half (approximately 10 minutes) then pour the sauce over the pork. Cover the dish with foil and keep warm in the oven, or refrigerate once cooled and reheat when you are ready to use it.

To make the Mexican Red Rice:

1 tbs of olive oil for frying

1 cup of Basmati rice, very well rinsed until the water runs clear and drained

1 small brown onion, finely diced

1 clove of garlic, finely minced

1 long green chilli, finely diced (seeds removed if you like less heat)

1 1/2 cups of low sodium chicken stock

400gm tin of diced tomatoes

A couple of coriander stems and roots, well rinsed to remove any grit

To make the rice, heat a heavy based saucepan and add a little oil. Fry the onion until soft then add the garlic, chilli and rice. Stir for a minute or so until the rice is toasted and well coated in the oil. Pour in the stock and tomatoes and add the coriander stems, mix well and allow the mixture to come up to the boil. Once boiling, pop a lid on and reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn off the heat and allow the rice to rest for 5-10 minutes without removing the lid.

To make the Pico Di Gallo Salsa:

2 punnets of assorted cherry or grape tomatoes, cut into quarters, halves or diced (however you like… rules here)

1/2 a red onion, finely diced

1 green chilli, seeds removed and finely diced

1 cup of coriander leaves, roughly chopped

Juice of 1 lime

A good sprinkle of sea salt

Place all of the ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl and mix to combine.

For the Cucumber & Radish Pickle:

1 lebanese cucumber, thinly sliced on a mandolin

4 radishes, thinly sliced on a mandolin

2 tbs of white wine vinegar

1 tsp of sugar

Other Additions & Garnishes for the Pulled Pork Bowls:

2 large fresh corn cobs, halved and chargrilled

A couple of avocados, sliced

1 green chilli, sliced

Coriander leaves, for garnish

Lime wedges, to serve

This is another meal that is fabulous in the centre of the table where everyone can help themselves. Refer to the image above for plating but make sure the pulled pork sits centre stage. You could also serve this with tortillas or corn chips of your choice.

Pulled Pork