Meat so soft that it melts like butter? A roll so luscious you’d swear it was the perfect meal? Come on, that’s a big sell. I’d have to be telling porkies, right?
Actually, ‘porkies’ is right on the money.
It was the cantinas of Texas that first concocted the little piece of pure joy we have come to know as the ‘pulled pork roll’. The local cooks took their lead from Mexican pork burritos, shredding slow-roasted pork shoulder into the finest of strips, before mixing it with a spicy salsa and slathering it all between crisp buns.
The idea sound simple enough, but experience proves that it’s all too easy to get very wrong. For starters, it means learning how to tame the fickle eccentricities of the pork itself. If you want to get really tender pork, then you’ve got to get the process under control.
You’ll need to start by choosing the right cut, and nothing is as tender as good pork shoulder. But to transform its chewier parts into meltingly unctuous morsels, you do need a bit of technique. Score the skin in fine parallel lines, then place the the meat on a wire rack and set it over the skink. Pour a couple of kettles of boiling water over the top – this causes the skin to shrink back, which allows better crackling and more even roasting. Then get the pork really dry, then rub it with oil, salt and pepper.
To cook your pork, nothing beats a spit. Slowly turning over a low charcoal fire, pork is gently teased into some thing extraordinary. The sinews and connective tissues lose their toughness as they are broken down into collagen and gelatine, giving the meat that soft sticky quality that everyone loves.
After a few hours, when the meat will simply fall off the bone, grab a couple of forks and, using a scraping action, you literally pull the pork apart. While it’s still warm, mix it with a spicy sauce (I go for a chipotle mayonnaise) and pile it high between the cheeks of a soft and loving bap roll.
Pulled pork rolls