Pulled Pork is a BBQ recipe from the Carolinas, recently featured on Putney Farm. I thought it would be nice to do a sous-vide version. When you hot-smoke meat for a brief time and then finish cooking the meat sous-vide, the meat will stay extremely moist and the smoky flavors will penetrate all the way through. I cooked the pork for 4 hours at 84C/183F, yielding meat that was juicy yet could be pulled apart with forks. This is slightly lower than the 88C/190F as mentioned by Putney Farm. I imagine at that temperature the meat would fall apart even more, but would also be slightly less juicy. Pork and fruit are a well-known combination, and in this case I served the pulled pork with a spiced apricot chutney. Putney Farm, thanks for the inspiration!
Note added in January 2017: I would now cook this 24 hours at 74C/165F to get pork that is more juicy, more tender, and more flaky than cooked for 4 hours at 84C/183F.
300 grams (.66 lbs) boneless pork shoulder
2 Tbsp smoking dust
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the spiced chutney
1 garlic glove
1 small dried chile pepper
1 star anise
1 tsp minced ginger
500 grams (1.1 lbs) apricots
1 Tbsp cooking oil
sugar (to taste)
Season the pork with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Put the pork in a hot smoker with the smoking dust.
Hot-smoke for 15 minutes.
Allow the meat to cool to room temperature.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold throughout. If you try to vacuum seal the meat before it’s cold, too much juice will be sucked out.
Cook sous-vide for 4 hours at 84C/183F.
Meanwhile, prepare the spiced apricot chutney. Wash and dry the apricots. Cut them in half around the kernel, and remove the kernel.
Roughly chop the apricots after removing all the kernels.
Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add garlic, ginger, chile pepper, and star anise. Sauté for a minute over medium heat. Do not allow the garlic to burn.
Add the apricots.
Cook, stirring, until the apricots have fallen apart and the sauce has a nice thick consistency.
Add sugar to taste. The amount of sugar needed depends on the ripeness of the apricots. The chutney should not be very sweet.
Stir in the sugar. Remove the star anise and the chile pepper.
After 4 hours in the water bath, the pork will be cooked.
Reserve the juices from the sous-vide pouch.
Pull the pork apart with two forks.
Pull it apart as much as you like.
Combine the pulled pork with the juices from the pouch and allow to cool. The meat will absorb some of the juices.
When it’s time to serve, gently heat the pulled pork.
Serve the pulled pork on warm plates with the spiced apricot chutney, rice, and stir-fried bok choy.