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Smoky Pulled Pork

This is the best pulled pork recipe I have found so far. I love the smoky kick to it and sometimes I make two lots and borrow a second slow cooker, have it cooking all day ready for a feast in the middle of the table for a large fun gathering.
This was one of the main dishes for my husband’s 40th alongside the 7 hour lamb, and together they fed 30 people beautifully – all cooked in advance ready to go. Beautiful!
Based on a recipe by Steve Parle and Emma Grazette. 

Pictured: Smoky pulled pork

¼ shoulder free-range pork (about 2 kg/4½ lb) off the bone
250 ml/1 cup dry cider or apple juice
olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pork rub
2 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp black peppercorns 
1 dried chilli or 2 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 chipotle chillies in adobo sauce, chopped, plus a little of the sauce – or add a tbsp hot smoked paprika
2 garlic cloves
¼ tbsp coriander seeds
¼ tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp smoked paprika 
2 tbsp brown sugar 
Barbecue sauce
400 ml (14 fl oz) tomato passata 
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2¬–3 tbsp sugar
60 ml (2½ fl oz) cider vinegar (or sherry/white wine vinegar)

Preheat the oven to 220˚C (425˚F/Gas 7). 
Remove the skin from the pork – you can ask the butcher to do this in advance - and discard or use for crackling. I like to place it on a rack, sprinkle with salt and grill til crispy.
Blitz the pork rub ingredients in a blender. Sprinkle the pork generously with salt. 
In a deep, flameproof casserole (with lid), heat a good glug of oil and when hot, brown the pork on both sides. Remove from the casserole and cover with the rub, making sure you get into all the nooks and crannies.
Drain the excess fat from the casserole and return the pork to it. You could alternatively  use a slow cooker at this stage if you like and leave it to cook all the day. Pour the cider or apple juice over the pork. 
Bake in the oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven to 140˚C (275˚F/Gas 1), cover and cook for a further 3 ½–5 hours or until the meat is soft and pulls apart easily. Or cook in a slow cooker on high for 6 – 8 hours.
Take the pork out of the pot or slow cooker and place on a plate or board. 
If using the slow cooker place the liquid into the casserole for this step. Place the casserole over high heat and bring to the boil. Add the barbecue sauce ingredients and season to taste. Turn the heat down and leave it to bubble for 10–15 minutes, until it has thickened and reduced a little. 
Meanwhile, pull the pork apart with two forks so it is nicely shredded. Pour the barbecue sauce over the pork.
Serve alongside a fresh coleslaw of apples, cabbage, onions. herbs, radish, lime or lemon juice. Break up the crunchy crackling to serve as well as some warmed flat breads or crusty baguettes.

Serves 6 - 8
Pictured: Barbecue sauce reducing - for the smoky pulled pork