We’ve cooked many different versions of pulled pork pork shoulders, but I’ve been wanting to make a classic-but not so classic-served in its sauce and filleted for a while. This orange pulled pork shoulder has been a hit at home and we’ve given it the “would serve for Christmas and big occasions” category. The great thing about this dish is that it also works for you on a weekday, which is when we put it on our table.
It’s classic in presentation – filleted, dipped in a toasty sauce – but unclassic in flavour. It tastes of spiced orange, which cumin, fenugreek, cardamom, nutmeg, star anise and cinnamon don’t just happen to pass through here. Fenugreek is the spice you may have the hardest time finding. If you don’t have it or can’t find it, don’t use it. The others are more common on supermarket shelves and in bulk spice stores.
The time, as in all recipes, is approximate. It took me seven hours on LOW to get tender, juicy meat. The time is somewhat shorter than pulled pork, because in this recipe it is better that the meat does not fall apart, since cutting it into steaks would be very complicated if we reach the cooking point of pulled pork.
In this recipe it is not necessary that the shoulder has bone. Although I always recommend that you keep the bone when making pulled pork, because it protects the meat and makes it juicier, in this case filleting is more complicated if the piece has bone. What is non-negotiable is the skin: do not remove it under any circumstances, because it prevents the meat from drying out and keeps it juicier. Removing it is very easy once it is cooked.
How to make orange pork shoulder in slow cooker
Pork shoulder with orange Preparation:
- 30m + Marinade
- Cooking 7 h
- Total 7 h 20 m
- Function: LOW
- Cooking: Meats
- Servings: 6-8 Ingredients
- 1 pork shoulder of 2,5 kg approx
- 3 oranges
- 1 tablespoon cane sugar
- Cloves Thyme and fresh rosemary
- ½ dessert teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ dessert teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ dessert teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ dessert teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ dessert teaspoon ground fenugreek
- 2 green cardamom pods
- 3 stars star anise
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons potato starch thickener
Preparation Prick the cloves all over the surface of the skin of the shoulder as you can see in the picture below the recipe. You can make an incision with a sharp knife to make it easier to insert them, as the skin is very thick. If you wish, you can make a few shallow cuts in the skin creating squares as shown in the picture, but it is not strictly necessary. Open the cardamom pods and remove the seeds. Crush them in a mortar and pestle until they are like powder. Set aside. Chop the rosemary and thyme leaves until you have a tablespoon of chopped herb. Set aside. Squeeze the three oranges and mix the juice with the spices, herbs, cane sugar, two tablespoons of oil, a teaspoon of salt and the star anise. Put the paddle in a zip-lock bag of about 5 or 6 litres capacity, pour in the above mixture, remove as much air as possible from the bag and seal it. Leave to rest for a minimum of 8 hours and a maximum of 24 hours in the fridge. Turn the bag occasionally so that the marinade is evenly distributed. Remove the shoulder and reserve all the marinade in the fridge: you will use it to make the sauce at the end. Place the shoulder in the slow cooker. If you have an extendable steamer to separate it from the bottom, you can use it. Cook for 7 hours on LOW or until the meat is cooked and tender. Remove the paddle from the slow cooker and let it lose heat. Collect the juices from the bottom of the slow cooker and combine them in a pan with the orange marinade. Add the potato starch thickener and cook for a few minutes on a high heat until it has thickened slightly. Strain the sauce and set aside. Remove the thick skin from the shoulder* and cut the meat into steaks with a very sharp knife. Place the fillets in the sauce, allow to heat through over a low heat and serve with mashed potato or other garnishes of your choice.
You can toast the skin of the shoulder in the oven or in a frying pan to get some cracklings or a crispy skin