Sunday, July 3, 2011

Italian Style Pulled Pork Sliders

For one of the main courses for my mom's birthday party, we made fennel and garlic pulled pork sliders. W. & K. shared their recipe and came over to help us prepare it on Saturday. We have such great friends! We bought a 9.7 lb pork shoulder butt from the Farms on Montana in morning. I've never bought much from the Farms, but it is known for great meat. It's so great to live less than 4 blocks from such a good butcher; we'll definitely be back for more meat. It's strange; the other offerings, like the produce section aren't great and overall selection is limited, but the meat is excellent.

The pulled pork recipe, originally from the Los Angeles Times, is relatively straight forward with simple ingredients. The key is to cook it low and slow overnight and its helpful to have multiple cooks for the first few steps as the pork shoulder is quite heavy. To prep, pre-heat oven to 450 degrees and mash 15 cloves of garlic with about 3/4 cups of fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle. Then add about 3 TB of coarse salt, freshly ground pepper and about 3 TB of dried chili flakes to mixture for the rub. Pierce slits about 2 inches deep and 1 inch wide into the pork shoulder on all sides against the grain all over and generously stuff the holes with the rub.
9.7 lb of pork goodness
Heat up a large Le Creuset (at least 7 quarts) on medium / medium low heat with a few TB of olive oil and sear the pork shoulder on all six sides (top bottom and 4 sides) for 2 minutes each side. This is where having at least 2 people is really helpful because it's really hard to turn the pork, particularly onto the sides. Remove the shoulder when all the sides have been seared onto a plate and deglaze the Le Creuset with 1/2 cup of chicken stock, scraping all the browned bits. Place a small rack onto the bottom of the pot and put the pork shoulder back into the pot, fatty side up, and roast in the oven uncovered for 30 minutes.
Searing the pork is definitely a two person job with large utensils
Post-searing. It was quite a feat to get the pork out of the pot onto the baking sheet in one piece.
Remove the pot from the oven and lower the heat to 250 degrees. Pour about 1/3 cup of lemon juice (juice from 2 lemons) and 1 1/4 cups of chicken broth over the pork shoulder. Cover the pot and roast for 8 hours. The best is to do this overnight so that the pork is ready in the morning, and 8 hours should be enough for a good night's rest, but we decided to go out for drinks after putting the pork into the oven at 10:00pm, making the 6:00am alarm a little painful.
6am in the morning, exactly 8 hours later, done! The roast is beyond fork tender bathing in its roasting juices. The pot is about 1/2 filled with the delicious roasting juices.
Pork shoulder is done when it falls apart when barely prodded with a fork. Remove onto a platter and use two forks to pull the pork apart. Skim the fat off the roasting juices in the Le Creuset pot, then bring to a boil and add about 1/2 cup of white wine and 1 cup of chicken stock. Boil for a couple of minutes until reduced and pour over the platter of pork. Serve with Hawaiian bread sweet rolls, cole slaw and sliced sweet bread and butter pickles.  The pork is incredibly tender and moist with great Italian sausage-like flavors with the fennel, garlic and chili flakes, and the soft and sweet buns are perfect for cradling the pulled pork and sopping up all the juices with a nice crunch and tang from the cole slaw and pickles. For the cole slaw, I basically followed a Bobby Flay recipe, but used low-fat mayo and added some cumin and lime. It was a huge hit at the party, thanks again W. & K., we couldn't have done it without you!
Lots of happy people


  1. E - you want to sear the meat on medium heat and don't forget to deglaze the dutch oven after you take the pork out of the le creuset the first time (after searing, before putting in the oven the first time). Everything else looks great!

  2. Good point, thank you! I will make the changes. We couldn't have done it without you and k!



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