Juicy, tender and spiced just right, this slow-roasted pulled pork with a smoky barbecue sauce is a definite crowd-pleaser. Serve with your favourite coleslaw and be sure to have lots of napkins on hand!
1 tbsp. peppercorns
2 tbsp. fennel seeds
2 tbsp. coriander seeds
2 tbsp. salt
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. smoked paprika (sweet)
1 tbsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. cayenne
1 tbsp. oregano
Pulled Pork Sandwiches
1 boneless pork shoulder, about 5 pounds
2 (12-ounce) bottles of beer, such as amber ale or lager
8 to 12 Portuguese buns
2 tbsp. of olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup brandy
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. dry mustard
1 tbsp. peppercorns, crushed
1 tbsp. smoked paprika (sweet)
1 fresh pepperocino, diced or 1/2 tsp. dried chili flakes
1 tbsp. of spice rub
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1 (12 ounce) bottle beer, such as amber ale or red ale
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. molasses
1 cup ketchup
3 to 4 drops liquid smoke (optional)
To make the spice rub: add peppercorns, fennel seeds and coriander seeds to a spice grinder. Pulse until coarsely ground. (Alternatively grind with mortar and pestle.) Transfer to small bowl. Add salt, brown sugar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, cayenne and oregano. Stir to combine. (Set aside 1 tbsp. of spice rub for the barbecue sauce. The remaining rub will be used on the pork.)
Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Rub all but 1 tbsp. spice rub onto the pork shoulder. Let marinate, covered, in fridge, for at least 8 hours but up to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
Add seasoned pork shoulder to a large roasting pan. Add 2 bottles of beer. Cover with foil. Slow roast in oven, adding more beer if pan is dry. Roast until meat is tender and will shred easily with a fork, about 4 to 6 hours, depending on size of shoulder. Tent with foil and let pork rest for 15 minutes.
Shred pork with 2 forks and add to large bowl. Add barbecue sauce and mix to combine.
Slice buns and top with a generous portion of the pulled pork mixture.
Meanwhile, while the shoulder is roasting, make the barbecue sauce. Add olive oil to saucepan over medium heat. When oil is hot, sauté onion and garlic until golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Remove saucepan from heat. Add brandy. Transfer pan back to heat. Warm brandy and ignite with long match or barbecue lighter. Keep tight fitting lid close at hand to extinguish flame for safety. (Note: you can omit the flambé step and just add the brandy, if desired.)
When brandy has evaporated, stir in the brown sugar. Add dry mustard, peppercorns, smoked paprika, pepperocino, 1 tbsp. of the reserved spice rub, sherry vinegar, beer, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, ketchup and liquid smoke. Simmer, stirring frequently until thickened and flavours marry, about 30 minutes. Reduce further to concentrate flavours even more, if desired.
Yield: 8 to 12 servings.