The Koala asked me if I had any plans for the weekend. I replied “pulled pork” which he thought it was code and I that was feeling frisky.
To be fair, he wasn’t disappointed with what I had in mind.
I frequent blogs and forums with US inhabitants and I often suffer from major food envy. Pulled pork has been the object of my affection. Pulled pork is not a common dish in New Zealand though this is slowly changing. There are American-Mexican joints in Auckland now who all serve slow cooked pork in tortillas.
This recipe is incredibly easy to make and could be doubled or even tripled if you are feeding a larger group. This recipe fed five adults for dinner but judging by how quickly it disappeared, it would be better suited for four. Pork has this annoying habit of shrinking which is a good reason to buy slightly more than you think you need. No one ever complained about pulled pork leftovers!
Hoisin means “seafood”
I added a Chinese touch by using Hoisin sauce as the major component of the marinade. Hoisin is a sweet paste-like sauce made of fermented soy beans, sugar and spices. Basically a Cantonese BBQ style sauce, so if you like BBQ sauce, you’ll probably like Hoisin.
If you don’t already have Hoisin sauce, invest in a jar. It will cost you a few dollars and the sweet salty paste is phenomenal with pork or duck and great in noodle and stir fry dishes.
Hoisin (prononouced hoy-seen in Cantonese) literally means “seafood” in Cantonese. Contrary to some sources online Hoisin it is not used with seafood, nor is it made with any seafood. My Dad, a Cantonese foodie, usually knows obscure Asian cuisine trivia so I asked my parents: Why is seafood sauce (Hoisin) called seafood sauce? They thought it was a funny question but they couldn’t come up with an answer, so the mystery remains!
You will need a large container with lid to marinade the pork. Feel free to replace this with a ziplock bag if you are tight for fridge space, or if you have loads of fridge space, you could use the ceramic bowl and lid from your slow cooker. Both these options would save on washing dishes.
Hoisin Pulled Pork
- 1kg (approx 2lb) boneless pork shoulder
- 4 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 tablespoon soft brown sugar
- Using a sharp knife, carefully remove the skin and most of the fat. A little fat is good for flavour. Save the skin for another use (e.g. crackling)
- Mix the other 4 ingredients together in a large plastic container that will be able to fit the pork shoulder. Add the trimmed pork and give it a good mush about, coating all sides of the pork. Pop on the lid and let it marinate in the refrigerator overnight or all day (8-12 hours).
- Take the pork out of the fridge for 20 minutes before cooking. Transfer pork and marinade to the slow cooker and cook for 8-12 hours on low. Turn pork once during the cooking process if possible for even cooking.
- Once pork is cooked, using 2 forks, shred the meat right inside the slow cooker by pulling the meat apart. Mix the shredded pork into the juices at the bottom of the slow cooker. Taste and add salt and pepper to your own preference.
Serve with fresh bread rolls or floury baps, a piquant coleslaw, hot sauce on the side and your favourite beer.
- For lunch on Saturday: Start marinating the pork on Friday morning. Start slow cooker on Friday night. Pork will be ready to pull on Saturday morning.
- For dinner on Sunday: Start marinating the pork on Saturday night. Start slow cooker on Sunday morning. Pork will be ready to pull on Sunday evening.
This recipe was so easy and delicious, I’m already thinking up excuses to make it again. We shared this with friends but The Koala has requested that we make a big batch for just the two of us and eat it all week. I’ll take that compliment as a win.