I am not one to follow fashion in food and am quite happy to be very classic and even old fashioned. But I cannot resist the crazy trend of “pulled pork”.
Following the great advice from a fellow instagrammer @homecookedheston, I subscribed to Phaidon’s newsletter and after a few months received the long awaited email: -75% on some of their famous cookbooks.
I bought 12… Among those, I bought “The Family meal” by one of the most successful chefs in the World: Ferran Adrià. The brain behind El Bulli. This book was initially written for restaurant owners to help them plan and make their staff meals. It is full of great recipes, very simple and delicious. The book is organised by meals. Each one of them is described in photos, step by step. I love it and highly recommend it.
This is where I found my favourite Mexican pulled pork recipe.
What makes this dish different from the pulled pork you’ll get in cool restaurants and food trucks is the achiote paste. Achiote is a tree from South-America which has been used to as a dye stuff for a long time. It is used for example to dye chorizo. We sell it at Tricotin.com to dye wool. It is a little packet of 100g which I found in Wollongong at the Leisure Coast fruit market and deli.
I adapted Ferran Adrià recipe my way. I put a lot less Achiote paste because I think 100g is already very strong for a roast. I used mandarins because I didn’t have oranges… I preferred Cider vinegar because it tastes better than the white wine vinegar I had in my pantry. I used fresh oregano because my garden is full of it.
It’s better to stab the pork for the sauce to penetrate the meat.
Place the pork in a Dutch oven or a simple oven dish. In the second case place a very long sheet of foil one way and the other way. Then place the already stabbed pork in the middle and wrap it in foil pinching the seams to create a makeshift Dutch oven.
Mix the sauce using a hand held mixer or a food processor.
Pour the marinade on the pork.
Then it’s massage time! I like this step :) If you don’t want to have orange nails, put gloves on.
Leave the pork to marinade for 1 hour to overnight. I left it 1 hour only because I wanted to serve it the same day.
Because most Dutch ovens do not like temperature shocks, I put mine in a cold oven and let it go up to 160°C. I leave it there for 6 hours.
After all these hours of cooking I recommend to take off the lid and to raise the temperature to the maximum you pot can handle. Mine can bear up to 200°C so I put it on 195°C for another 20 mins to give it a last caramelised touch.
This is what it looks like. It is very tasty, very mildly spicy with a distinct flavour of achiote.
Pulled pork is delicious in bread buns with red onion, fresh chilli in lime juice. This time we bought “French brioche” buns.
I hope you like this Mexican pulled pork. Let me know in the comments below :)
- 150 ml mandarin juice (or orange)
- 3 twigs of fresh oregano
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 4 tbs cider vinegar
- 100g achiote paste
- Boned and tied pork shoulder joint or leg
- 3 big red onions (2 for the pot, 1 for serving)
- A little fresh lemon thyme or fresh oregano to serve (optional)
- Small fresh chillies (habanero)
- 1 lime
- Good quality soft and moist bread buns
- In a bowl mix mandarin, oregano leaves, cumin, vinegar, achiote and oil. With a fork separate the achiote paste in more manageable lumps. With a hand held mixer or in a food processor, mix to a smooth marinade.
- On a board, prick pork with a sharp knife.
- Place meat in a Dutch Oven or in an oven dish covered with extra long sheets of foil.
- Pour marinade and massage the meat (with gloves if you don't want to temporarily dye your nails).
- Chop 2 red onions and pour over the meat.
- Place the lid on or if using a dish with foil, fold the foil over the meat and seal the edges to make a sort of Dutch oven and steam the meat later.
- Leave it to rest in the fridge for an hour to overnight.
- Place in cold oven and select 160°C. Bake it for 5 to 6 hours.
- Open the lid/foil, scoop out a bit of intact fat from the top and discard.
- Put back in the oven and raise the temperature to your Dutch oven limit. I chose 195°C for 20 mins to caramelise a bit.
- Chop the one onion left and chilli. Place in a small serving dish and juice lime over it.
- Take the meat out of the oven. Cut the ties and discard then using a fork "pull the pork" :)
- Serve with the pulled pork in the buns with the onion, chilli and lime. Add a touch of fresh oregano or lemon thyme if you want.