“You’re gonna cook pork in Cherry Coke?”, my brother exclaimed. “Why would you do that?” Well, my little well-meaning bro, because it’s gonna taste great! As you may have gathered, I’m a big brisket fan and I get quite excited at the prospect of cooking large pieces of meat over long periods of time. I usually build up to these moments. I’ll spend a few weeks just cooking regular meals and pottering around with sauces, cakes, bread and other recipes. Then, I begin to get an idea in my head about the next slow-cooked meat dish and I think through all of the details and ingredients. When it’s all clear in my head, I set a date, and that, my friends, is when I know that I won’t rest until that dish is cooked. Today is that day.
When my dear brother comes round to visit (and therefore, to eat), I cook meat. G is a big food fan, but has a special place in his stomach for meat. He keeps his emotions well hidden for the most part, but meat can move him. I’ve been planning to make some pulled pork and when I had a look online, I saw what could be the most comforting pulled pork recipe ever. It won’t surprise you to learn that it came from The Pioneer Woman. Being a southern girl, her recipe calls for Dr. Pepper, but I’ve always been a Cherry Coke kinda fella. I figured that a good glug of Cherry Cola would be just the ticket for a big shoulder of pork.
So then, got my three-month old boy in his car seat, windows down and we drove over the hill towards the butcher’s with The Goonies chase theme playing just loud enough that he could sleep and daddy could feel giddy. I got 1.5kg of pork, a bottle of Cherry Coke and hopped back in the car with a huge grin on my face. Back home, it was less than five minutes before a lot of pork and plenty of flavour was in the oven for the long haul.
Once it was done, I decided to use it in a rather unexpected way. I made little filo rolls! I reckon these could be made in miniature and served as a starter.
So with a nod to The Pioneer Woman, I present one of the tastiest ways to enjoy pork shoulder. I have a feeling that I’ll be posting another recipe or two this week using the pulled pork, unless I eat it all in one night, that is!
Cherry chipotle pulled pork rolls (pulled pork adapted from The Pioneer Woman)
1.5kg pork shoulder
500ml Cherry Coke
2 onions (quartered)
200g chipotles in adobo sauce
The meat needs to cook for six hours, so start early! Spread the onions on the bottom of a casserole and place the meat on top. Rub plenty of salt onto the pork and then pour the chipotles over it. Rub the sauce over the pork with the back of a spoon and then tip all of the Cherry Coke over it. That bad boy is ready for the oven; 150 degrees Celsius for six hours. It’s a good idea to turn the meat every hour or so to let all of that flavourful loveliness get into it.
When the pork is done, remove it from the gravy and use two forks to shred the soft meat. Put all of the meat back in gravy and mix well. I found that there was enough meat to soak up the gravy and my butcher had trimmed most of the fat of the pork. This meant that I didn’t have to skim off excess fat from the gravy. You may have to, depending on how fatty the cut of meat is.
Obviously, it’s gonna be hard to resist eating some of the pork, but once you’ve done that, move onto preparing the rolls. Place a sheet of filo on a dry work top and gently score down the middle using a plastic spatula. This will create two lengths that you can roll up. Brush melted butter over the entire piece of filo and then spoon a generous amount of the pork at one end of the pastry. Begin to roll the pastry up and gently tuck in the sides as you go. Place the rolls gently onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and brush with more melted butter. Cook them for thirty minutes at 190 degrees Celsius on the middle shelf until golden.
It’s up to you how many you make. With 1.5kg of boneless pork shoulder, you could make one heck of a lot! I made six good-sized rolls with a generous amount of pork inside. That’s because I’ve got plans for the remaining pulled pork and filo pastry. I served the rolls with a little salad and a cool dollop of mayo. My word, I was a happy lad. Don’t worry, I saved a few for my little brother. He ain’t heavy…but a he will be after a few of these beauties!