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Pull out all the porky stops... Pulled pork is having a moment right now. KEELEY BOLGER follows Tom Kerridge's tips for creating the juicy favourite at home.

Byline: KEELEY BOLGER

AFFORDABLE, tasty and versatile, our appetite for pulled pork shows no sign of waning.

Everywhere you look, from fast-food chains and highstreet favourites, all the way up to high-end restaurants, it seems some version of the American barbecue classic will be on the menu.

While our craving for this flaky delight is well catered for out and about, TV chef Tom Kerridge thinks it's a doddle to recreate at home too.

Cooked at a low temperature for a long time, there's limited faff required, and the slow cook time means you can get away with using a cheap cut of meat like pork shoulder.

"A dish like pulled pork really could be the answer for busy families who still want to enjoy a Sunday meal together," says Wiltshire-born Tom, who is behind Love Pork's new pulled pork campaign.

"All you need to do is apply a rub to the pork, stick it in the oven and then go enjoy your Sunday, while the oven does all the hard work. It's much less fiddly than a roast, and pulling it apart with two forks at the end is easier than carving."

But is "easy" for a Michelinstarred chef "impossible" for me, an enthusiastic but hit-and-miss foodie, who hasn't cooked meat at home for three years? To put Tom's claim to the test, I assemble my ingredients and in a moment of misplaced confidence, invite two of my friends round for lunch to help me and my husband chow our way through a big juicy batch.

With a six-hour cook time ahead, I heave the meat, which I marinaded overnight, into a casserole dish and bung it into the oven - and then leave for a morning yoga class, slightly fearful that my house might burn down while I'm gone.

Fortunately, when I open the front door an hour-and-ahalf later, a welcoming porky aroma greets me, suggesting that the meat is bubbling along just nicely.

With so few steps involved in making pulled pork though, I can't help worrying that I've left something crucial out of the process, and compensate by making a complicated home-made coleslaw, potato salads and slicing a ridiculous number of bread rolls.

After a single check at the four-hour mark, I resist urges to peak again until it's cooked for six hours, and then take the pork out of the oven.

Carving is one of my least favourite meatbased tasks, so I enjoy the process of shredding the shoulder to smithereens with two forks. Simply speaking, you can't make a pig's ear out of a dish which is supposed to look as 'undone' as pulled pork is, so there's no chance of ruining the fruits of my labour at this late stage.

To serve, we leave the juicy shreds in the casserole dish and then load up our buns, adding mounds of coleslaw and washing it all down with plenty of cold beer.

To my surprise, it's actually pretty good, and we duly pig out and demolish a whopping 1kg of pork between four of us (which is disgusting or impressive, depending where you sit on the diet spectrum).

Easy to pull off (no pun intended!), affordable and crowd-pleasing, I'd definitely plump for pulled pork again.

Fancy having a go? Here | are three of Tom Kerridge's recipes. Find more at www.lovepork.co.uk/campaigns/pulled-pork-tom-kerridge TOM KERRIDGE'S PERFECT PULLED PORK (serves 6-8) INGREDIENTS 1.5kg pork shoulder 1ltr chicken stock To make the spice rub, mix together: 50g table salt 75g muscovado sugar 1tbsp dried sage 1tbsp English mustard powder 1tsp dried thyme 1tbsp cracked black pepper 1tbsp cumin seeds, toasted 3 star anise, toasted and crushed 1tsp garlic powder METHOD LAY the pork shoulder in a roasting dish and with a sharp knife, score 10 or so deep holes into the flesh.

Rub the combined spice mix all over the meat and into the grooves you've made, making sure the mix is fully rubbed in.

Wrap the joint completely in cling film and place in the fridge overnight.

The following day, remove the pork from the fridge and take off the cling film. Place in a casserole dish and pour over the chicken stock.

Cover with a lid and place into a pre-heated oven at 150degC for five-six hours - at the four-hour mark, remove the lid for a crispy crust.

Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to rest for half hour or so before pulling the meat apart with a fork.

TOM KERRIDGE'S BLACK PEPPER PULLED PORK SLOPPY JOE (serves 6) INGREDIENTS 2 white onions, sliced 1tbsp garlic powder 3 cloves of garlic, grated 2tsp cracked black pepper 1tbsp tomato puree 1pt chicken stock 400g pulled pork (follow Perfect Pulled Pork recipe to prepare this) 2 green peppers, diced 1 green chilli, sliced 1tbsp American mustard Zest of 1 lime A pinch of cayenne pepper 1tbsp smoked paprika 1tsp marjoram To serve: 6 glazed hot dog buns 1tbsp pickled green chillies 2 banana shallots, sliced into rings 1tsp toasted yellow mustard seeds 3tbsp sour cream (in a squeezy bottle) 3tbsp American mustard (in a squeezy bottle) METHOD IN A heavy based sauce pan, heat a little oil and fry off the onions until golden. Add the garlic powder, fresh garlic, paprika, marjoram and black pepper and sweat down for a few minutes to release the flavour.

Add the puree and chicken stock and bring up to the boil. Once boiling, add the pulled pork and simmer for one hour.

Ten minutes from the end, add the green pepper and green chilli and allow to soften slightly. To finish, add the mustard, lime zest and cayenne pepper.

To serve, spoon the mixture into the glazed hotdog buns, scatter over the pickled chillies, shallot rings and mustard seeds.

Then pipe over the sour cream and mustard.

TOM KERRIDGE'S SCRUMPY AND APPLE PULLED PORK PIE WITH CLOTTED CREAM MASH (serves 6) INGREDIENTS 1 onion, diced 550ml dry cider 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced 1tsp English mustard 200ml chicken stock 400g pulled pork (follow Perfect Pulled Pork recipe to prepare this) 1tbsp brown sauce 1tsp sage 2tbsp chopped dried apple 200g caul fat (available from the butcher) For the pastry: 125g wholemeal flour 125g bread flour 50g semolina Pinch of mustard powder 90ml water 75g lard Egg yolks to glaze 1tsp picked thyme Pinch of sea salt For the clotted cream mash: 100g double cream 30g butter 300g dry mashed potatoes Salt and white pepper 100g clotted cream METHOD FRY the onion until soft, then add the cider, all the apples, mustard and stock.

Bring to the boil, then add the pulled pork. Simmer until the mixture has reduced by two thirds, and then remove from the heat.

Leave the mix to cool and then add the brown sauce and sage. Work the mix into 100g balls then put them in the fridge to set.

Once set, wrap each one in a single layer of the caul fat, and then put back in the fridge for the fat to dry a little.

While this is happening, make the pastry.

Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl. Combine the fat and water in a saucepan, bring to the boil and stir this into the dry mix with a wooden spoon.

Once the mix is fully combined, work with your hands and then divide into six.

Roll out and wrap the balls of meat (now out of the fridge) individually.

Repeat until you have six lovely round pies, prick a hole in each one and brush with the egg yolk. Season with a little sea salt and thyme.

Bake at 185degC for 16 minutes, turning each pie once.

To make the mash, bring the double cream and butter to the boil. Stir this in to warm the dry mash, then season with salt and white pepper.

To finish, stir in the clotted cream.

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Chef |TOM KERRIDGE
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jul 11, 2015
Words:1323
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