So what’s in a name, anyway?
‘What’s in a name?’ wrote Shakespeare, on behalf of Juliet, many moons ago…. More recently I started pondering the same question, but in relation to something much more contemporary – pulled pork. When pork got pulled it became cool, after years in the culinary wilderness - it's become a foodie phenomenon that appeared out of nowhere, and arrived faster than most cars go from 0- 60. Suddenly pulled pork was everywhere, but those mythical connotations of the Deep South (USA, not Croydon), of smoke and carefully-tended, industrial-sized barbeques, of secret spice rubs and hours of marinading, mean that few people I know try creating it at home.
The myths are all smoke and mirrors. There is an exceptionally easy way to create flavoursome smoky barbeque pulled pork at home, without a bbq, that you simply throw in the oven several hours before you need it, almost completely ignore while you are doing other things, and hey presto, with perfect timing, it’s ready to impress your dinner guests!
I discovered this completely by accident when my hubby Gus was struck down with a dangerous (but not infectious) form of man-flu, and was unable to leave the sofa for an entire weekend. I researched pulled pork on internet blog sites and recipe sites for hours, and then got bored and gave up because I would have needed to start marinading the pork in the secret spice mix at least a week beforehand…. Or so it seemed. I went to the supermarket to buy something else for dinner, and saw a DIY kit that just required smothering the pork shoulder joint in the pre-mix sauce and throwing it in the oven. It worked a treat, but it felt like cheating. As a qualified chef pre-mix sauces are against my culinary religion. I had made an exception because he was really, really ill, but I knew I could do better. So next time I made the marinade sauce myself – using two parts smoky barbeque sauce (I went for the most expensive brand I could find) mixed with one part good old-fashioned apple-cider vinegar. I smothered a ready, willing and able pork shoulder joint in my new concoction, and several hours later it emerged from the oven and it was sensational.
So what’s in a name, anyway? While researching pulled pork I also discovered that recipes for slaw outnumber traditional coleslaw, yet they are essentially the same thing – and in the same way that pork sounds old-school, yet pulled pork is obviously - achingly - right-now, coleslaw seems desperately old-fashioned yet slaw adorns more contemporary restaurant menus than I care to name.
So of course, my new exceptionally easy smoky BBQ pulled-pork recipe needed a hip and happening slaw to hang out with – and what better than a Granny Smith apple and cabbage slaw, to complement both the pork and the apple-cider vinegar in the marinade, and to provide a fresh, sharp, juicy crunch to complement the rich, saucy, morsels of pulled pork. A modern-day match made in heaven that sits beautifully in a brioche bun, or gets wrapped together perfectly in a flour tortilla. Shakespeare would be proud.