Spring is here! Teeny buds are showing on the trees and microscopic green sprouts are peeking out from the ground. How we wish, here in the locavore kitchen, that those little shoots were full-fledged fruits and vegetables, but those won’t really be here for a while yet. So here is a lovely pulled pork recipe for you to make up in a big batch, and keep in the fridge or freezer to enjoy with cornbread now, and asparagus in just a few more weeks.
Keep growing little sprouts! We are so ready for you!
Apple Cider Braised Pulled Pork
The most important ingredient in this tender, juicy and gently spicy pulled pork is time. Make sure to plan ahead, and make a big batch to last a while.
Bone-in pork shoulder, 5-7 lbs. total weight. Do not trim fat.
2 cups diced yellow or white onion
10 cloves fresh garlic
¼ cup cider vinegar
1 liter fresh-pressed apple cider
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon of your favorite hot sauce. We use Alex’s Ugly Sauce Original.
Dry rub spice mix. We use fresh ground chipotle and dried guajillo peppers, Maine sea salt, ground cumin, Mexican oregano, smoked paprika and maple sugar.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Rub pork shoulder liberally with spice rub mixture until totally coated. Transfer to a large roasting pan.
Add diced onions and garlic.
Cover with apple cider and cider vinegar. Meat should be covered about three-quarters of the way. If you need more liquid, add some water, not too much, or better yet, a favorite beer or ale.
Place in the oven, uncovered to start, for a total of four to five hours.
Check each hour, turning the pork shoulder in the liquid as necessary, allowing all surfaces of the meat to brown and partially caramelize. After about three hours, cover the pan and continue cooking.
After four or so hours, the meat should be fall-off-the-bone tender. Gently pull the meat off of the bone, and transfer to a serving platter with a slotted spoon, leaving excess liquid and fat in the roasting pan. With two forks, gently pull the pork apart into long shreds, adding some liquid from the roasting pan as necessary.
Roughly chop the cilantro, including the flavorful stems, and stir into the pulled pork.
Serve with a salad of fresh greens, or on fresh bread or slider rolls.
It’s also a good idea to save and freeze any excess braising liquid from the cooking process for future use.
P.S. Want to enjoy amazing local food like this springtime pulled pork without dirtying a pot or pan? Join Cuisine en Locale (156 Highland Ave.) for brunch on Saturday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. to enjoy an all-local menu, creative cocktails and live music!
Images courtesy of Cuisine en Locale.