Over the past few years, pulled pork has become an increasingly popular meal in Australia.
With its simple but delicious combo of tender, pulled pieces of pork in a sweet barbecue-style sauce - often matched with coleslaw - nestled on a sandwich or burger bun, pulled pork has proved a hit with many Australians; particularly those with a love for American food.
The American connection
With its significant smoked barbecue origins, it's not that much of a surprise that pulled pork comes from the Southeastern state of North Carolina, USA. Depending on where in the state you go, they prefer different styles. The western side of North Carolina, for example, where pulled pork began, typically uses the shoulder, which is cooked slowly over the coals until it’s ready to be pulled into shreds and dressed - this dressing is often comprised of a thin vinegar, pepper and tomato sauce. On the east side of North Carolina, though, they prefer using various cuts of pork, and tomato sauce is usually absent from the dressing.
In Australia, pulled pork recipes similarly vary, from the cuts of pork used to the how the dressing is created. More often than not, pulled pork in Australia tends to have a combined sweet and smoky barbecue-style dressing. Coleslaw is often added, though this is popular in the US, too.
Pulled pork in Australia
If you were to go back five years, chances are finding pulled pork dishes in Australia would've been extremely difficult - if not essentially impossible. Now, however, it's a very different story. While you won't see it being served in every single café or restaurant, it's certainly managed to become a far more popular dish.
Part of this is the increasing popularity of American/Canadian-style eating joints (e.g Bread and Meat Co. in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley), and the other part is the simple fact that Australia's general interest in international foods continues to grow with each passing year. That American cuisine has been a relatively untapped market for some time until now only adds to this popularity.
For the time being, many of the places that do offer pulled pork on their menus are sticking relatively close to the source recipes from the USA. Over time, however, it's a safe assumption that certain Aussie twists will come to the fore. While this does always present the concern of what makes a dish appealing in the first place being lost, there's the comfort in knowing that many of the places serving this American dish love it for what it is, not what they can "turn" it into.
Making pulled pork
If you want to enjoy pulled pork at home, it's luckily not that difficult to achieve. It's mostly a matter of choosing the right cut of pork (pork shoulder or pork butt - despite its name, "butt" is still part of the shoulder), and then allowing it slowly cook for several hours. It doesn't matter whether you get pork with bone or boneless pork. The only difference is that pork on the bone will have a slightly longer cooking time.
To cook, you'll want to use a Dutch oven or similarly heavy pot capable of holding the pork. You set the pork in, partially submerge it in liquid (broth, beer, etc.), place the lid on, and turn it on for cooking. The key here is low temperatures. Pork shoulder/butt is quite tough on its own, but when slowly heated through and cooked, the gelatin in the pork melts and bastes the meat. After several hours of this, the pork becomes incredibly tender and should flake off at the light touch of a fork.
While it cooks, make sure you leave it alone - just let it keep cooking and it should work a treat. In terms of sauces, that's ultimately your choice. Look around online and see what type of sauce recipes are out there and go for the one that feels the most appetising to you.
To check out more delicious pork recipes, click here.
Have you had the opportunity to try out pulled pork? Are you a fan of it? Let us know in the comments below.