Mango Pulled Pork

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

When I think of pulled pork, I think of Memphis.  Back in the year 2010, Aaron was to be in the wedding of his two dear friends and the two of us road tripped all the way there from Houston.  We had a fabulous time and made a whole vacation of it.  We stopped at the Clinton Presidential museum in Little Rock, went to Graceland, the whole nine yards!  My most memorable meals though, were the barbecue we ate on Beale Street, in Memphis.  

Those Tennesseans know how to cook a pig, I tell you what.  Texans are big on beef barbecue, so we do brisket and ribs, maybe a chicken if you are watching your cholesterol.  Not much pork to be found.  It only took one Memphis pulled pork sandwich to steal my heart forever.  Brisket who?
Needless to say, I was eager to try Aarti's take on pulled pork.  I make it a point to roast a pork shoulder in my crockpot at least a few times during the current hatch chile season, and the other times my heart hearkens back to our Indiana road trip, so this should be a breeze.  

Aarti's recipe was flawless as usual, and this mango pulled pork turned out beautifully.  It only caused a slight kitchen nightmare for me, but overall I'd say it was worthwhile all the same.

So let me tell you.  I usually cook a recipe each night when I come home from work.  Well you can't do that with a several pounds roast.  Those puppies take hours.  So my thought was, I will put this boneless roast in the oven when I get home on Monday, it can cook until right before bed, and I will just refrigerate it.  It will be good to go Tuesday night for dinner.  God laughs when you make a plan, yes?  So I got home Monday, and threw together a simple dinner.  Then after all the chopping and prep work it was almost 8pm (and my bed time is 10 pm sharp!).  And also I bought a bone-in pork shoulder, so that was going to add even more cooking time.  I was going to be up until midnight, I thought.  This cannot stand.  Well Miss Bright Idea over here thought I could just use the crockpot and cook the whole roast overnight.  Easy.  Well the roast just barely fits in my crockpot, and I have the family sized one.  I get the pork and the mango filling all in the pot, set it on low and off to dreamland I go.  

When I awake, it smells like success.  I go check on the roast.  It is in the crockpot, boiling away, and just so tender that it fell apart just with gentle prodding from my fork.  This is all great, except for the fact that about half of the liquid contents had boiled over outside of the crockpot and onto my counter!  Ugh, yes, I know.  And it wasn't really liquid anymore, as it was all congealed in solidified pork fat down the entire stretch of my countertop.  So that was a joy to clean up.  Lesson learned, I will gladly be the cautionary tale and never over-fill a crockpot again.  Yeesh. 

So anyway, make sure when you make this shoot for an afternoon start time so you won't be repeating my mistake. This pork was juicy and flavorful, and made the most adorable little sliders, as seen below.  All I did was add the dill pickle slices and butter the slider buns before toasting and it was restaurant caliber dinner.  Love it!

You will need:
(for the pork rub)
2 TBSP dark brown sugar
1 TBSP paprika
2 TSP kosher salt
1 boneless pork shoulder (Boston Butt; about 3 pounds) excess fat trimmed

(for the barbecue sauce)
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1/2 TSP cumin seeds
1/2 TSP fennel seeds
2 TBSP minced and peeled fresh ginger
1 yellow onion, finely minced
1 serrano chile, seeded, thinly sliced
kosher salt
2 cups mango puree*
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 TBSP molasses
freshly ground black pepper

*you can use fresh or frozen mango, just pop in the blender :)

Brioche rolls and bread & butter pickles are recommended by Aarti.  I used regular slider buns because they were easy to find, and dill pickle slices because I am not a monster.

In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, paprika and salt for the rub.  Stir until all combined.  You want to coat your pork roast all over with this rub.  You can do this up to a day prior to cooking.  I did it a mere 30 minutes before cooking and it turned out delicious, so your call.

Next on to the BBQ sauce.  Heat the oil in a large skillet.  When the oil is hot and shimmery, add both the cumin and fennel seeds.  They will instantly begin to pop and dance about.  Quickly add in the onion, ginger and serrano.  You also will add salt to taste.  Cook until the vegetables soften but don't turn any color - about 3-4 minutes.  Next goes in the mango puree, lime juice, vinegar, Worcestershire, and molasses.  Heat and simmer for 5 more minutes.  Taste for seasoning.

Add the seasoned pork roast to the pan with the sauce.  Turn several times to coat the meat with the sauce.  You will next cover the pan and cook over low heat.  You want to stir and turn the pork on different sides every 30 minutes.  In around three hours you will have a perfectly cooked and tender pork roast.  

Remove the pork from the sauce (or the mango spa treatment, as Aarti puts it! (lol, I love her.)) and shred.  The best way to do this is just take two forks and use them to pull the meat into shreds.  Add the shreds back into the sauce and stir to coat.

Now fill your bun full of your mango pulled pork, top with the pickles of your liking and dig in.  I hope you like this as much as I did. 

1 comment:

  1. I love mango and I love pulled pork!! I'd have to try this for real!!!