This is definitely a lazy weekend dinner.
As you can see from the fading light in my photos, it does take a while to make, but if you’re prepared, you can just leave it in the oven and (kind of) forget about it, with the delicious smell of roasting meat filling your kitchen reminding you what you’re in for later on.
You probably think, as I did, why in the hell would you want to dry out a fresh and delicious piece of pork by cooking it for 7 hours? Well, my friend, I asked Google the very same question. Apparently, pork becomes ‘slice-able’ at around 170 degrees C, which would normally take about 1-2 hrs for the size of joint we’re talking here. But, to make it ‘pull-able’, you want to raise the temperature to around 220 degrees C. However, just blasting it at such a high temp will totally dry it out, so we keep it really low for really long, to keep the moisture inside, still keeping it lovely and succulent. Yay, science!
The BBQ rub is so good: sweet and sugary, with a lovely smokey spicy kick from the paprika to see you through. You could add some dried chilli flakes too if you’re into that kind of thing. I put the rest of mine in a jar for another time, but if you fancy, you can sprinkle a bit over the pork just after you’ve pulled it apart and toss it through for some extra flavour.
As I’ve mentioned before, it’s nearly bikini season, so I served ours with some relatively-low-carb-but-still-delicious sweet potato and rosemary chips, plus some crunchy apple and red cabbage coleslaw. Sorry for the lack of photos of the chips but the sun had well and truly disappeared by then. Serve any left overs in soft buns with loads of BBQ sauce (what a hangover cure that would be).
Adapted from Tex-Mex from Scratch by Jonas Cramby
To serve 4, you will need:
For the Pork:
100g Demerara sugar
100g granulated sugar
5 tbsp paprika
1 1/2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp onion seeds (slightly crushed in a pestle and mortar)
About 1.2kg pork collar (neck) on the bone
For the Apple coleslaw:
juice of 1/2 lime
3 tbsp mayonnaise
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1 green apple
1 red cabbage
salt and pepper
For the sweet potato chips:
4 sweet potatoes
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
flaked sea salt
Preheat your oven to 220 degrees C.
Start by combining the ingredients for the BBQ rub: all of the sugars and spices, and mix through to ensure everything is thoroughly combined.
Take two large sheets of tin foil and place in a cross shape in the roasting tin. The tin foil should be enough to cover the meat once it’s in the tin. Lay the meat in the centre and generously sprinkle the rub over each side of the meat, massaging it in as you go. Once it’s completely covered, place the meat into the hot oven and IMMEDIATELY turn the temperature down to 115 degrees C. Leave the meat to cook for 5 hours, basting the meat every hour or so with it’s juices. After about 3 and a half hours, fold the tin foil over the meat to help keep the moisture in. When the 5 hours is up, turn off the oven completely and leave the meat to cool inside the oven for about 2 hours.
To pull the meat apart, use two forks to gently break it up so that it’s nice and thready. Add a bit more of the BBQ rub if desired and toss through.
To make the coleslaw, whisk together the lime, mayo, oil and vinegar in a bowl. Chop the apple into sticks and either finely chop the cabbage or grate it. Add to the dressing and toss to combine. Season and sprinkle with the poppy seeds.
For the sweet potato chips, scrub the skins of the sweet potatoes, dry and chop into sixths. Lay in a single layer on a baking tray and sprinkle with the salt, rosemary and olive oil. Bake in a hot oven for about 30-40 mins, until crispy.