Pulled Meat Sandwiches
Pulled meat is one of the best things to have in the fridge, ready for a midday sandwich or snack. A speciality of the American Deep South, it normally takes a minimum of 7 hours’ smoking, rather than the 45-60 minutes achievable in the pressure cooker. The meat (usually pork shoulder, which the Americans call ‘butt’, or brisket if you prefer beef) is coated in a spice rub then slowly smoked, before being shredded and served with barbecue sauce in a bun, with lots of garnishes, such as coleslaw, melted cheese, or a punchy salsa.
For my recipe I decided against using a rub and instead put all the flavours into a cooking sauce. Chipotle (smoked jalapeno) and Liquid Smoke (a common US ingredient, sold by some online UK stockists) give all the smokiness you need. This doesn’t have a hard-hitting chilli flavour, it’s more a slowly encroaching warmth. If you want more heat, add either more chipotle or some cayenne pepper to the paste, and feel free to add chilli to the salsa.
|1 tbsp||vegetable oil|
|1.5kg||pork shoulder or beef brisket (I have also used pig cheeks or beef shin)|
|200g||tin of chopped tomatoes|
|100ml||beer or water|
|¼ tsp||Liquid Smoke (see above)|
|For the paste:|
|1||medium onion, finely chopped|
|4||garlic cloves, chopped|
|1||dried chipotle, roughly chopped, or 1 tbsp dried chipotle powder|
|1 tbsp||soft light brown sugar|
|1 tbsp||cider vinegar|
|1 tsp||dried oregano|
|2 tsp||ground cumin|
|1 tsp||white pepper|
|¼ tsp||ground cinnamon|
|For the salsa:|
|6||tomatillos or tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped|
|1||red onion, finely chopped|
|A small bunch||of coriander, leaves only, finely chopped|
|Juice of 1 lime|
|1 tsp||sherry vinegar (optional)|
|Salt and freshly ground pepper|
You will need a pressure cooker and a food processor.
First make the salsa. Combine all the ingredients together and allow to stand so that the flavours have a chance to meld. This will keep for a couple of days in the fridge but is best served at room temperature.
Put all the paste ingredients into a food processor and blitz until fairly smooth. If you find that they are sticking a little, add some water until they mix together properly.
Put the oil in the pressure cooker over a medium heat. Add the meat and brown thoroughly on all sides, allowing it to release as much fat as possible. Remove the meat from the cooker and set aside. Add the paste to the cooker, fry for a couple of minutes, then add the tomatoes, beer or water and the Liquid Smoke, and season with salt.
Return the meat to the cooker, close the lid and bring to high pressure. The cooking time depends on the cut of meat you are using. If you are using pig cheeks, cook for 30 minutes. For a large piece of brisket or pork shoulder, cook for a full hour. Remove the pressure cooker from the heat and allow to release pressure naturally.
Remove the meat and simmer the remaining liquid in the cooker for a minute or two, but do not let it reduce too much - it needs to be wet but not too watery. Taste - if you think it needs more Liquid Smoke, add it now, but be sparing, as even very little can overwhelm the other flavours. While the sauce is simmering, shred the meat with two forks, removing any pieces of fat. Return the meat to the sauce and combine. It is now ready to serve with the salsa, or can be stored in the fridge and reheated any time you fancy a sandwich. I do this by frying it quickly in a frying pan until some of the meat shreds brown and crisp up a little.