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Pulled Pork Buns with Fermented Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

Prep time: 1 hours plus brining and marinating

Cook time: 4 hours

Serves 8

Pulled pork is now a favourite for home cooks and restaurants alike and it's no wonder why! Meltingly tender spiced pork cooked slow, traditionally in underground pits known as "pig pickins” in the southern states of America, but nowadays cooked in ovens and on barbecues, it's certainly a crown pleaser due to its succulent texture and rich smokey flavours.

You don’t necessarily need to brine the pork. This recipe will still be delicious, but it adds extra juiciness. If you aren’t using it then skip to number 2 in the instructions. The addition of fermented rhubarb or fruit is also completely optional but it does add another flavour dimension to the barbecue sauce.


1kg pork shoulder, bone out skin off


1 tsp fennel seeds

2 sticks of rosemary

1 red chilli

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 garlic cloves

1 tsp mustard seeds

3 Bay leaves

1 tsp whole peppercorns

75g dark brown muscovado sugar

125g pink himalayan salt

1.5l water


1/2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp black peppercorns

1 tsp coriander seeds

2 tsp yellow mustard seeds

40g soft light brown sugar

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

2 tbsp runny honey

Barbecue sauce

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

1 white onion, finely diced

250ml ketchup

70g brown sugar

30g black treacle

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

180ml orange juice

2.5 tsp sweet smoked paprika

5-8 sticks fermented rhubarb (or other fermented fruit) optional

8 brioche buns

1 red onion, cut into rings

100g bag herb salad

200g drained sliced burger pickles

  1. For the brine, put the salt, sugar, vinegar, spices, and herbs into a pan with 1 litre of water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Add the salt and sugar, stir to dissolve, and then add another 500ml of water. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely before adding the pork. Weight the pork down by placing a small bowl or plate on it. Cover the pan with a lid and place it in the refrigerator to brine overnight. The next day, remove the pork from the brine, rinse and pat dry. Slice it in half across the widest part.

  2. Toast the whole spices in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add these to a mini blender along with the other spices and blend to a fine powder. Add in the remaining ingredients, plus 2 tbsp hot water and blend again to a paste.

  3. Massage the rub generously all over the pork and let it marinade for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

  4. Preheat the oven to 160C. Using two large pieces of parchment paper, line a deep roasting dish with parchment paper and place the pork inside. Wrap both pieces of parchment around the pork and scrunch the edges to seal it in a tight parcel. Cover the dish with two layers of foil and secure it firmly around the edges and cook it in the preheated oven for 3 hours. By doing this, you will ensure that the moisture from the pork will be retained, and the pork will then remain meltingly moist once it has been cooked.

  5. For the barbecue sauce, heat the rapeseed oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat and add the onion. Cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring regularly, until softened but not coloured. Add the remaining ingredients, except the rhubarb if using, and cook for 10 minutes before blending into a smooth thick sauce.

  6. Once the pork has cooked, unwrap it and shred it using two forks. Add half of the barbecue sauce and mix well to combine. Rewrap the dish and put it back in the oven until ready to serve.

  7. Place a large frying pan over a medium heat. If you are adding the fruit, roughly chop it and crush it with the back of a knife and add it to the remaining sauce. Put the sauce in a bowl and serve alongside the buns.

  8. Slice the brioche buns in half and put them, cut side down in the hot frying pan. Toast for a couple of minutes until golden. You will need to do this in batches.

  9. To assemble the buns, top the brioche buns with around 2 heaped tbsp of the pork and finish with the red onion, salad leaves and gherkins.



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