What can I do with pig cheeks? The question was asked on Twitter, Pulled Pork I suggested. “What’s that?” the questioner responded. Well, as 140 characters is too short to describe the brilliance of Pulled Pork, and especially for Saffron, here’s my easy recipe, make enough for 4, eat between 2 and spend the rest of the evening a very contented bloater:
• Pig Cheeks (about half a kilo, boneless shoulder will do if you can’t find the cheeks)
• Red wine, fruit or cider vinegar – 3 tbsp
• Ketchup – 1 tbsp
• Mustard (not seeded) – 1 tbsp
• Soy Sauce – 2 tbsp
• Brown Sugar – 2 tbsp
• Paprika (smoked works really well) – 1 tsp
Pre-heat an oven to 150°/130° Fan, oil and liberally salt the pig cheeks and place on a rack in a roasting pan. Cover with foil to create a sealed tent/chamber and chuck in the oven for 6 to 7 hours.
At some point, make the barbecue sauce – combine all the ingredients above, bring to a simmer, stir for a few minutes and let cool.
Once the pork’s done (meltingly soft and tender), remove from the oven and let cool till you can handle it; using your hands or forks, pull the meat apart, shredding it into bite-sized pieces and removing fat/sinew/skin or anything else you don’t like the look of.
Mix the meat and the sauce in a large pan, warm through and serve.
I like serving this with Pita bread and some lightly pickled veg (julienned carrot/daikon/cabbage tossed in vinegar, salt & sugar and left for an hour), our American cousins (whose technique this is) serve it in a soft roll with fries on the side, Daniel Boulud uses it as a topping for his famous “Piggy Burger”, the uses are endless – only it’s so tasty it doesn’t last long enough to experiment too much.