The most flavoursome and delicious way to cook a pork shoulder is to smoke in a reverse flow wood-fired smoker, simply rubbed with salt and pepper and cooked with a mix of dry plum and green apple woods. This will take you around 18 hours and you’ll need a large outdoor space for your smoker. As a winter alternative, I would suggest:
Combine equal quantities of smoked paprika, chipotle chillies, salt, dried onion flakes and English mustard powder.
Rub mix into a carefully chosen, well cared for 2.5kg shoulder of pork, making sure to cover it completely. Seal pork in a heavy plastic bag and refrigerate overnight.
Set a charcoal grill or barbecue for indirect smoking (that is the fire on one side, the pork on the other). If using charcoal, add wood chips to get a healthy smoke injection to the pork. Close the lid and allow pork to smoke for 45 minutes. The intention of this method is not to cook the meat but to build up a healthy smoke deposit on the outside.
Preheat oven to 100°C and bake pork shoulder for 5 hours. (Add an extra 1 hour of cooking time per 500g of pork If yours is later than 2.5kg.)
Remove pork from oven (the internal temperature should be 85°C) and allow to rest. Crank oven up to maximum. Draw off liquid from pork and reserve. When oven reaches top heat, return pork and cook uncovered for a 20-minute sear.
Once cooked, lift aside the skin layer and, wearing thick rubber gloves, pull the pork apart with your fingers. You can also use forks. Be sure to thoroughly mix the outer crust with the moist, steamy interior.
Heap onto a bog standard soft white bun and top with coleslaw.
The magic liquid you saved from the pan, de-fatted if you so wish (not my preference) contains not only the ingredients of a rich sauce but all the juices that would be lost in a traditional barbecue. Treasure it. Add only a healthy squirt of commercial ketchup or hot sauce for the vital hit of MSG before pouring it back over your bun. Do not, I repeat do not, make the mistake of adding any kind of commercial barbecue sauce. You will miss the whole point if you do.
Consume in a folding chair with an ice-cold can of Three Boys Pils.
Wine match: 2016 Waipara Hills Waipara Valley Pinot Gris
Aromas: Crisp red apple, quince and a hint of nougat.
Palate: Flavours of apple, pear and nougat with a touch of ginger and crisp acidity.
The lively aromatics in our award winning 2016 Pinot Gris will be the perfect match for this succulent pulled pork.