Spicy Pineapple Pulled Pork

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Pulled pork is having a bit of a moment at our house. I think the butcher is finding it quite amusing that we request a pork shoulder every week. I also think that might be the most ridiculous sentence I've ever written, forgive me. Though pulled pork is having a bit of a moment full stop. It's easy to see why - it's so juicy, tender and delicious and pork manages to carry the flavour of the sauce and accompaniments so well whilst maintaining a robust meatiness that can't be beaten. Usually pork is really not my bag - I find it tough and not really flavoursome enough alone. Stick it in the slow cooker for a few hours, however, and I just cannot get enough.

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This is a great dish for feeding a hungry crowd. It's so easy to pull together and you can forget about it until just before serving time. Throw it into a bowl and let people build their own plates - you can serve it with sides of 'slaw, corn on the cob, barbecue beans, or with this cheeky little pineapple salsa. It goes in wraps, on top of rice, in burgers, in sandwiches or just eaten straight from the bowl with a grin and no shame. It's just that good. The sweetness and acidity of the pineapple just does something magical. Trust me, you'll be reaching for this recipe come summer!

If you don't have a slow cooker, you could also do this dish in a casserole dish in the oven on a really low temperature (around 80°C) for the same amount of time. The results will be very similar, but trust me when I say that a slow cooker will change your life and it's worth the investment. I think ours was something stupidly cheap like £15 and it has served us well for almost three years with no signs of stopping. It's one of my favourite kitchen gadgets and I urge you to go and grab yourself one - if only for the sake of this dish!

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For the pork, you'll need:

  • 1.5kg pork shoulder
  • salt & pepper
  • cayenne pepper
  • smoked paprika
  • 200ml pineapple juice
  • splash (10ml-ish) soy sauce
  • 50ml chipotle sauce
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • juice of 1 lime

For the pineapple salsa, you'll need:

  • 1/2 small pineapple, diced
  • 3-4 spring onions
  • handful of cherry tomatoes (about 8)
  • 1 red chilli
  • generous pinch of salt
  • juice of 1 lime

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1. Cut the top layer of fat off the pork. You don't have to get it all - leaving some adds a bit of extra flavour - but too much and it just gets a bit greasy and ruins the sauce. I usually use scissors for this part as I find it easier to control, but a small sharp knife would work equally well.

2. Season your pork with salt, pepper, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper. Just shake it all on and pat the meat until it's covered.

3. Pop in the slow cooker (or in a casserole dish) and set aside.

4. In a bowl or jug, mix up your sauce: just pour together the pineapple juice, the chipotle sauce, the soy sauce, the sugar and the lime juice and mix it. It doesn't look pretty but is going to perform wonders to that pork.

5. Pour over the pork and cover. Cook on low for 6-8 hours (the longer, the better).

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6. Meanwhile, chop your salsa ingredients and mix together in a bowl. There's no art to it - just chop it fine, mix it together and squeeze over the lime. Set aside until you're ready to eat it!

7. Just before you're ready to serve, turn off the slow cooker and grab yourself a couple of forks. Shred the meat (it'll just fall apart at your touch) using both forks until there are no big chunks left. Mix it around in the remaining sauce before dishing up into a bowl ready to serve.

8. Serve whichever way you like (we just used tortilla wraps and piled it high) and let people dig in!

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