Dublin goes DFW part five. Slow roasted, pulled shoulder of pork. – “Did ya pull?”

Pulled pork and chili plum sauce (5 of 15)Here in Dublin, after a night on the town, us young lads, boasting of our nocturnal conquests might ask each other “Did ya’ pull?”. No matter what private mortification occurred the evening before, the answer was always in the affirmative. “Course I did. Wasn’t I beating them off?” “I would have landed both but they were fighting over me.” and other such testosterone-fuelled nonsense was, of course, obligatory. However, that was all back in the day.

Now, when I’m asked whether I pulled or not, my thoughts immediately go to those fine trail hardened folk over in Dallas Fort Worth and their culinary habits. Yes, my pulling is done with forks these days. That’s why for part five of my Dublin Goes DFW series, I bring you that Texas favourite (with a Dublin kitchen twist) of Pulled Pork with Dublin / DFW Chili Plum Sauce. The sauce is in no way traditional. It’s my own idea and I suspect they will crash their pick up trucks into a dry gulch when they read of this in Texas.

Short on ingredients, long on flavour. Yeeeee Haaaa, as they say in Texas

Short on ingredients, long on flavour. Yeeeee Haaaa, as they say in Texas

The ingredients for the pork include:

  • 2 kg pork shoulder joint
  • 2 tablespoons of sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of cumin seeds
  • black pepper to taste
  • 4 onions
  • 1 glass of white wine

For the Dublin / DFW Chili Plum Sauce

  • half a kilo of plums
  • 1 Hatch chili
  • 1 Ancho chili
  • 1 New Mexico Sandia (hot)
  • 3 tablespoons of cider vinegar or wine vinegar
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 200 grammes of sugar (brown or white)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • A splash of Worcestershire Sauce

First, soak the chilis in hot water to reconstitute them.

The chilis gain a lovely colour while they plump up after the long dry spell.

The chilis gain a lovely colour while they plump up after the long dry spell.

While this is going on, Fry the cumin seeds in a dry pan. Bash them with a pestle, in a mortar until they are a fine powder.

Just before I get a workout, pummelling them into dust. Tasty dust all the same.

Just before I get a workout, pummeling them into dust. Tasty dust all the same.

Mix this powder with the paprika and rub it all over the outside of the pork joint.

Lovely colour and flavour added by the cumin and paprika.

Lovely colour and flavour added by the cumin and paprika.

Chop the onions roughly and put most of them into the bottom of a casserole dish (Dutch Oven) and add the joint. Sprinkle the remaining onion over the top. Pour in the glass of wine. Place it in a 130ºC oven for 6 hours. Yes, 6 hours.

Drain the chilis and chop them.

My new knife made short work of these hot opponents.

My new knife made short work of these hot opponents.

Half the plums (Ignore the stones as they will be sieved out later).

The plums make for a half decent food shot. They also make for a very decent sauce.

The plums make for a half decent food shot. They also make for a very decent sauce.

Finely chop the onion with the garlic and carmelise it in a pan with some olive oil. Put the ingredients for the sauce into a nice big saucepan.

Pouring shot number one - The cider vinegar gets added.

Pouring shot number one – The cider vinegar gets added.

Pouring shot number two - The sugar goes in too.

Pouring shot number two – The sugar goes in too.

A gratuitous sauce ingredients shot if ever there was one. I just like the colours.

A gratuitous sauce ingredients shot if ever there was one. I just like the colours.

Bring this to a boil and cook until the plums have broken down and the sauce is quite thick.

There are some lovely colours and flavours going on in this sauce.

There are some lovely colours and flavours going on in this sauce.

Pass the sauce through a sieve to remove all the lumpy bits. Reduce the sauce some more. Adjust the sugar / salt balance to your taste.

At this stage, you can go and listen to your teenage children boasting about their pulling power. You have plenty of time, that pork won’t be ready for another five hours or so.

When the buzzer on the oven finally goes “bing”, take the pork out and lift it gently from casserole to chopping board, being sure to prevent it from falling apart.

It looks excellent and smells even better.

It looks excellent and smells even better.

It will be very delicate. Let it rest for ten minutes before attacking it with the forks.

This bit takes all of two minutes as the pork simply falls apart.

This bit takes all of two minutes as the pork simply falls apart.

Spoon on the onions from the casserole. I served it with some delicious saffron rice. That’s an excuse for the photo of the saffron water before it was added to the rice.

A pretty delicate ingredient. I have to bring some quality to the proceedings.

A pretty delicate ingredient. I have to bring some quality to the proceedings.

Over in Texas, they would probably add all the sauce and eat it in sliders or in bigger burger buns. Whatever way you eat this, it is fantastic. The chili plum sauce has heat, smokiness, sweetness and a nice sour edge too. It is beautiful with this very Texan pulled pork.

Pulled pork, saffron rice and chili plum sauce. Very tasty.

Pulled pork, saffron rice and chili plum sauce. Very tasty.

While you are eating this with your family, you may be asked “Did ‘ya pull?”. You can, for once in your life, tell the truth on this particular subject.

See the other posts in this fine Texas Irish series:

It’s time for me to hang up my Texas Irish spurs. For the moment, I’m  settling into my bed roll and throwing the end of my metaphorical coffee on the campfire of this mini series. I might lasso some other recipes and add them later. But for now, it’s back to more local fare. I hope you enjoyed traveling with me. Happy trails, pardner. See ya’ all at the square dance.

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Latest comments
  • Oh my gosh Mr Bofin. You just made pulled pork even better than I thought it could be! I love the idea of the plum sauce with all of that gorgeous chilli pork goodness. Though… I do have to laugh… I initially thought you served it with mashed potatoes to be a ‘very Irish Texan’. The saffron rice is an homage to multiculturalism too, yes? India, meet Texas… uh, Ireland… meet deliciousness! I LOVE it.

    • Thanks Laura, mash would be a bit different all right. It was fun to do and very toothsome.
      Best,
      Conor

  • haha, I guess some things are universal, no matter the slang used. I’ve always wanted to make plum sauce. This is a tempting recipe. And of course that pulled pork… is there something better to eat?! Braised pork absolutely rocks!

    • There is so much of it I left some for the kids to have when they got home, whether they puller or not.

  • Hi Conor,

    And the rest of the pulled pork can be bottled with a layer of pork or duck fat on top, it will last for months in the fridge and as it ages will only get better, we call it then Pork Rillettes. Love the plum sauce it sounds delectable!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Regards,

    Willie

    • Thanks Willie,
      Great idea indeed. However, it got devoured in two sessions and no chance of leftovers.

  • Ah the confidence of youth! Of course the opposite conversation across the land would be: “Did anyone try to pull you? Cor, I was beating them back, wasn’t I? Wouldn’t take no for an answer!” I don’t miss those days, when we were all bumbling about. 🙂

    I need to try some pulled pork, yours looks amazing.

    • Thanks, they are far off days now. I suspect I might look a bit incongruous in a night club at this stage of the game.

      • Yes. I do remember a few guys here and there standing out as they were old enough to be our dad!

  • Texas-Irish.
    You should start your own restaurant.

    • Yes, it would be easy on the chef too. 5 mains to choose from.

  • You’d fit in just fine here in the Lone Star State. That pulled pork would be oh-so-good wrapped in a soft warm corn tortilla. P.S. – The copper pan shot(s) are outstanding.

    • Thanks Adam, I love the thought of it in a tortilla. I love those copper pans, even if I keep burning my hands on the brass handles.

  • That looks amazing, I must try that dish. I love pulled pork and the sauce sounds great with it! Don’t worry, at least your pulling power in the culinary domain remain intact!

    • It’s the only pulling power left to me. I might bring a shoulder of pork down Lesson Street one of these Friday nights.

  • Great post as ever, Conor.

    • Thanks Adam. It was tasty too. That helps.

  • So you did the slow cook in a normal Dutch Oven with just a glass of wine and it worked. I was wondering about that because all the other posts about pulled pork use a slow cooker, of which i have one but there was some….unfortunateness… with it and it will remain under the stairs and unloved.

    • …unfortunateness.. I had to laugh and can only imagine what went on. It worked really well. Though, I know how slow you would be to pour the white into anything other than your gullet.

  • Wow what a beautiful pulled pork. I love that you used plums. It’s so cool to see seasonal ingredients being used in unique ways. Saffron is like gold to me. This dish is just superb!

    • Thanks Amanda, in truth, the flavour was overwhelmed by the pork and the sauce. It did elevate the post a little all the same.

  • You know it’s good when you can cut it with a fork! Thanks for a great post, I really love pulled pork.

    • Thanks Evan, I love any dish that I can leave cooking for a few hours.

  • it looks delicious )

  • Your plum chili sauce is wonderful! I love this pulled pork recipe. I think I can do it! Five hours or so….the house would smell divine!

    • Ours certainly did and the sauce is sweet, sour, hot and tasty all at once. Delicious.

  • oh, my, that looks so good! the plum sauce sounds like a very nice alternative to our BBQ sauces here. You should give the sliders a chance, maybe topped with some slaw? 😉

    • I promise to give the slider a fair shake of the stick one of these days. I just need to perfect my baking skills to do so. Therein lies the problem…

  • A wonderful post, Conor, and I bet that rub really work wonders. That plum sauce of yours is such a great idea and a fantastic alternative to barbecue sauce. I just cooked a goat shoulder this past weekend and plums weren’t involved. I kinda wish I’d waited a couple of days. 🙂

    • Too kind John. I have tried to get goat here in Ireland and failed. This not withstanding my regularly going eye to evil red eye with them while I cycle through one of the mountain passes in Wicklow. Maybe I’ll lasso one Texas style…

  • OMG that looks amazing. We must be living in parallel food universes. I’ve just been writing about pork and plums for a soon-to-be-posted piece – but yours takes first prize.

    • Thanks Linda, I have a duck and plum sauce written and waiting to post. A different sauce but also very tasty. I have to put some distance between the two in case you all think I have gone plum mad. I promise I haven’t. Not yet anyway.

  • Looks delicious Conor, I get a houseful when I make this. This dish is why God invented pigs/pig evolved (delete as applicable…)

    • There is a couple of posts could be written from your comment Phil. I like the idea of extending the thought of the deletion to a whole post. Could be fun.

  • Well, you really pulled it off Conor. Not that I had any doubts, but you’d make yerself a might fine Texan, if I do say so myself. I’m gonna miss these posts, but cowboys (even fake ones) don’t cry. Instead, I’ll curl up with a nice hot plate of pulled pork shoulder.

    • Happy trails Tommy, happy trails. I’ve enjoyed the dust in my throat and the sound of the steers on the drive. I will be back.

  • Looks fantastic Conor. I’m based in DunLaoghaire myself, born and raised. Love to give this a go but not always easy to source a nice shoulder of pork. Did you mention in a previous post that you are a John Meat co man?

    • Hi Jack,
      I am a regular with John’s Meat Co. in Monkstown Farm. Very helpful and great meat. I was born in St. Michael’s and have never lived anywhere outside the borough. Despite the deprivation of the town itself, it’s a great place to live.

  • Looks damn fine Conor… Damn fine.

  • That looks and sounds bloody amazing. I love pulled pork, but I’d not thought about doing it with a plum-based sauce before.

    A propos of pork, you seem like the kind of chap who might be able to tell me what to do with the pig’s trotters my father-in-law gave me and which are currently residing in my freezer. Beyond “cook them for a long time” I’m a bit stuck. Any ideas would be most appreciated!

    • My long late father loved them. They are best boiled for two and a half to three hours or so, depending on the amount of meat (modern industrial bred pigs tend to not have much meat around the foot). I would put a sliced onion or two, black peppercorns, a bay leaf and a couple of carrots in the water, to cover and simmer them until done. You will either love them and be a lifelong devotee or you will forever know that when asked, you lied to the father in law.
      Enjoy,
      Conor

  • That plum sauce sounds fabulous! I must give it a try. And the pulled pork… oh wow! Beautiful Conor!

    • Thanks Lidia, I owe them Texans a debt of gratitude.

  • Great pulled pork recipe! I like how you cook it low and slow. Must have been nice with the plums. Would work well with apricots as well.

    • I have a pork and apricot post racked and stacked. Very soon it will appear my friend.

  • A favourite, my uncle raised some pigs and I was a beneficiary… Deep fried buttermilk pickles were amazing with the one I did… Pardon me for adding link … http://oliveoilandlemon.ie/2012/07/22/slow-roast-pork/

  • Saffron rice + pulled pork + beer = happy tummy! I haven’t actually tasted plum-based sauce before and the only types of plum I’ve tasted were dried ones. I’m not really a fan of fruit-based sauces (except tomato sauce) but I would love to give it a try! Great pictures by the way!

    • Thanks for the kind comments and thanks for stopping by. We know the dried plums as prunes. Very different to the fresh. They are not without merit but, the fresh have a great bitter/sweet quality that make them great with anything hot. They work very well with the chilis.

  • And here I used to say that my tastebuds were from the Irish side and could not take things ‘hot’! I have an Irish friend here who makes THE hottest enchiladas in the world…her ‘mild’ ones burn my tongue.I will have to re-think my position on ‘hot’ Irish…(besides Liam Neeson and fellow actors.)

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