Slow Cooked Spiced Pork
Much as I love cooking, I’m less inclined when the weather is warm. My kitchen is quite small and my hair can’t take standing next to a hot oven or over a sink of steamy suds without expanding to an enormous size. I make a lot of salads and sandwiches and usually rediscover the George Forman grill for cooking summer veg without heat or hassle.
This year though I have a new trick up my sleeve: the slow cooker. Sitting quietly in the corner, just getting on with things, it’s a great way to whip up proper food without heating the house up or having to be indoors when the garden looks so inviting in the brief flashes of sunshine. I had such good results with cooking ribs in the slow cooker recently, I decided to do my take on the pulled pork craze sweeping street food circles at the moment.
My local butcher had a piece of pork shoulder for around £4.50 a kilo and I knew that slow cooking would render it something special. It cried out for lots of spicing and a bit of chilli spiked heat and after marinading for 24 hours, it went into the slow cooker for 8 hours for a no effort meal. I ate the leftovers for several days afterwards, piled high on tortillas with shredded cabbage and salad like a homemade kebab, dotted through rice and packed into a sandwich and slathered with homemade salsa.
Slow Cooked Spiced Pork
- 1 shoulder or hand of pork
- I tablespoon smoked paprika
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 1 tablespoon coriander seed
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper or 2 dried red chillies
- 2 limes juiced and zested
Make your marinade by blitzing together the all ingredients above, adding enough lime juice to make a spreadable paste. Poke small holes in your piece of pork with a skewer and then while wearing latex or nitrile gloves, rub the marinade into it well. The gloves are vital if you use the scotch bonnet and don’t want a comedy ‘and then I touched…’ anecdote. Allow the marinade to do its job for up to 24 hours in the fridge.
When you’re ready to cook the pork, preheat your slow cooker and take the pork out of the fridge at the same time so it’s not cooking from cold. Pop into the slow cooker on a low heat and put the lid on. Do not add any liquid. Leave to cook for 6-7 hours, leaving well alone.
After this length of time, lift the pork out and place on a plate. Carefully pour the surprisingly large amount of fat and liquid out of the ceramic insert into a jug and allow to cool. Put the pork back in and turn the heat up. Allow to cook for another hour or two or until you’re too hungry to wait any longer. Take the pork out and shred with two forks.
You could turn this into pulled pork with a barbecue sauce and shredding the meat finely. I kept mine fresher with some of my homemade hot sauce stirred into roasted baby plum tomatoes for a quick salsa, but really the only limit with this dish is your imagination! (I also did one with fresh coriander and chilli as above.) It’s simple food at its very best. Just try not to eat all leftovers out of the fridge and keep some to do your several days at a time!
Hi Miss South – thanks for another lovely recipe. One of my favourite dishes is slow cooked belly of pork – I usually do it with a rub of olive oil, loads of garlic, chopped fresh thyme, a bit of rosemary and coarse sea salt. I’ve never used a slow cooker – just the oven – but am aware that it is probably wasteful to heat a whole oven for three or four hours. A slow cooker is a good idea – which one do you use?
Perfect timing – our slow cooker arrives tomorrow! Looking forward to trying this out, it looks and sounds delicious.
Sandie: that sounds lovely. I don’t think it’s wasteful to heat an oven if it warms the house and you could do some other stuff in there, but the slow cooker is great because it keeps the kitchen cool in summer! Plus very little washing up. I’ve got a Russell Hobbs but I hear good things about the Morphy Richards Sear and Stew version where you can seal the meat in the same inner for less faffing. Let me know if you join the slow cooker cult!
Alan: have fun experimenting!
Read this blog, went to our local, fabulous, butcher, bought a piece of pork I would never normally buy, followed your instructions (almost) to the letter and the result was gorgeous. I tweaked a bit by finishing it off in a very hot oven to get some crackling (I was having a day of cooking so the oven was on anyway). Can’t wait to try some more of your recipes.
Kate: that’s super useful to know the recipe finishes nicely in the oven. I’ve never tried it but I felt wasteful not making something of the skin so thank you for the tip. Hopefully you’ve got lovely cold cuts for hot days so you can spend more time soaking up some sun! If you liked the pork this way, I also did some short ribs in the slow cooker recently that were lovely!