Last week I was in Bergerac with some friends, one of which really is the king of the barbecue! The first night we had 3 côte de boeuf, the next he cooked the most magnificent shoulder of pork which could feed at least 16 hungry people!
Although it takes a long time to cook there really is very little work to be done and it is a great thing to do if you have lots of people over.
5-6 kgs Pork Shoulder
Handful Chopped Sage and Rosemary
2-3 Crushed and Chopped Garlic Cloves
1/2 Skinned Peel of an Orange, Finely Chopped
1.5 tsp Ground Fennel Seeds (the fresher the better!)
Score the skin of the pork criss cross diagonally with very sharp (stanley) knife. Make sure you penetrate into the fat.
First rub all over with the olive oil, then rub in plenty of maldon sea salt and black peppercorns crushed together in pestle (adding extra salt to the skin helps!).
Next mix the sage, rosemary, garlic, orange peel, and fennel seeds in bowl with good dollop of olive oil.
Then rub in the mixture all over the pork, making sure it penetrates into the slashed skin.
Place joint onto the rack of a roasting dish and put into a pre-heated oven at 200-220c for twenty minutes, then turn down temperature to 160C and cook for two and a half hours.
To finish off cooking on a charcoal BBQ, you ideally need the large 97cm Ranch Kettle, though the 57cm width Weber Kettle will do but for a smaller sized joint.
Using the finest, and largest pieces of charcoal you can buy (ie restaurant quality), get the fire well lit and spread the charcoal equally to both sides leaving empty section in middle. Make sure that the two opening sections of the grill coincide with the sides the charcoal is on – and leave these folded open – so that you can feed in more charcoal as and when required to keep heat going. The thermometer on the lid should read around 450-500F at this stage when closed.
Then place the oven tray on top of grill, throwing on hickory or mesquite wood chips onto the coals before closing lid again. Then, half close the vents on the lid to reduce temperature to around 350F. If after a while the temperature drops too much, open vents, or add more charcoal which will need to be done as fire burns down after an hour or so.
Cook for at least a further 90 – 120 mins or until meat thermometer says it is done.
Open lid to check every 20 mins or so that all is well, and to add more wood chips. There is no need to turn the meat, and the aim should be to have a really crispy (not burnt) crackling.
If you have no BBQ, continue to cook pork for similar time in oven.
Cook for a further one and a half to two hours, or until meat thermometer says it is done.
And voilá! Succulent, perfect pork and crackling with really very little effort!