Here is a recipe to feed a large party! The slow cooking time means you get tender pork every time and not chewy meat. Pair it off with my Crisp Cabbage and Carrot Coleslaw and you have yourself party food for your next entertainment event. Maybe the upcoming Wimbledon or World Cup finals? This is the recipe I turn to when I am too tired to make anything more elaborate. It is always a crowd pleaser.  Just remember the potato chips!

Garlic cloves embedded in pork
You could also serve this as part of a roast dinner with some homemade apple sauce, gravy, creamy garlic mashed potatoes…

Slow Cooked Pork Sandwiches

Prep: 15 minutes 
Cook: 30 minutes plus 7 hours roasting (last 7 hours left largely unattended) – and quite possibly less time. Every oven’s internal temperature is different. Check your meat after 2 and 1/2 hours of roasting to determine how far it has cooked.  I have had a cut of roast cooked at 2 and 1/2 hours.
Inactive: Brining pork, 24 hours and up to 48 hours in refrigerator. 
Level: Easy
Serves: 8 generously
Oven Temperature: 450F (225C) initial 30 minutes, 240F (120C) thereafter. 
Can recipe be doubled? Yes, adjust roasting time.
Make ahead? Yes, if you like cold sliced pork. I do! Of course, it warms up well too. I put it on my ramen and it makes me very happy.

Ingredients

Brining ingredients
4 and 1/2 lbs (2kg) pork shoulder
3 dried bay leaves crumbled
8 garlic cloves, skins removed
1 tsp dried rosemary
3/4 teaspoons black pepper powder
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup salt
4 cups water
Everything else
2 big onions sliced in half
3 – 4 cups boiling water enough to cover the bottom of baking tray with 1″ (2.5cm) of water
To assemble
Good quality Hamburger Buns
Butter
House Special Pork Sandwich Sauce
Coleslaw
Potato chips

Method

Brining
1. Combine all brining ingredients except pork. Stir to dissolve sugar and salt.
2. Place pork shoulder in a container large enough to hold all brining ingredients. Pour the brining ingredients over pork. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours or up to 48 hours. Any longer and the pork will become too salty.

Preparing for roasting
1. When you are ready to cook pork, drain pork, reserve garlic cloves and some of the brining herbs. Let pork come to room temperature.
2. Turn oven on to 450F (220C).  Adjust oven rack to bottom half of oven.
3. Choose a baking tray that is large enough to hold pork.  Line with aluminium to make clean up easier. Sit an oven rack over the baking tray. Set aside.
4. With a sharp knife create little pockets and insert the 8 garlic cloves into pork. If the garlic cloves are too large, cut in half lengthwise as I did.
5. Take some of the brining herbs and distribute on pork.
6. Get the onions and boiling water ready.

Roasting
1. When oven is hot enough, put the onions and boiling water (to come up 1″ (2.5cm)) into the baking tray.
2. Place pork on the oven rack and roast in oven for 30 minutes at 450F (220C). This blast of high heat will kill the surface bacteria and allow you to slow roast the pork at a lower temperature.
3. After 30 minutes, you will notice that the tops of the garlic might be tinged a little black.  That is fine.
4. Reduce oven to 340F (120C) and leave in oven for 7 hours (quite possibly less time) or until a skewer inserted into thickest part of pork comes out with clear and not bloody juices.
5. If using a thermometer, which I highly recommend, an internal temperature of 145F (65C) indicates cooked pork.  Every oven’s internal temperature varies so roasting time can vary. Check your meat after 2 and 1/2 hours of roasting to determine how far it has cooked.  I have had a cut of roast cooked in that time.
6. Do not be tempted to increase the temperature to speed up cooking. It is better to work on putting the pork in the oven earlier. Give yourself a 2 hour head start. You can always keep the pork warm in the oven. Refer to Tip 2 below.
7. Remove pork when it is cooked through and tent loosely with aluminium foil. Leave alone for at least 20 minutes to let the meat rest.

This promises to be delicious.

To serve
1. Slice the pork. Sometimes I pull the pork out in strips and toss the meat with meat juices that has collected in oven tray.
2. Cover with aluminium foil until ready to eat.
3. Best served with good quality hamburger buns. Cheaper buns tend to soak up the juices from the pork worse than a sponge and you end up eating soggy buns. The alternative would be to be extra generous when buttering the buns. Remember the coleslaw and chips.

Tips

Double up recipe
This recipe can be doubled up easily. You still need to blast the pork for 30 minutes at 450F (220C). Roasting times would depend on whether you have 2 cuts of pork roasting at the same time or one larger piece of roast.

Roasting in advance
To help make this recipe fool proof, when serving this for dinner, I would roast the meat at 9am or earlier if I have 2 cuts or a larger cut of meat going into the oven. If it is cooked before my guests arrive, I would return the sliced meat covered in foil back into a 100F (50C) oven to keep warm. It would not dry up as you would have coated it earlier in the meat roasting juices. I have also made this recipe a day in advance. It keeps very well. You can choose to serve it cold or warm it up in the oven or microwave. Cooking it in advance for large crowds of over 20 can be very liberating as you know you have the food ready to serve and will be able to spend time with your guests instead of bending over the kitchen stove.

Leftovers are wonderful!
If your guests don’t pry the leftovers from you first. I use it on salads, on my ramen, for simple cold pork finger sandwiches, … I love pork.

WHAT’S COMING UP?

Look out for the ‘Crisp Cabbage and Carrot Coleslaw‘ recipe in my upcoming post. It stays fresh tasting and crisp for well over a day. Soon to be posted too is the ‘House Special Pork Sandwich Sauce.’ In our house, we do not serve pork sandwiches without it. It has the right amount of heat with a slight refreshing tangy taste to it. Hint: it has green apples in it. And, scroll down below to look at my lovely homemade Hamburger Buns.

 

Try baking these Hamburger Buns. The  recipe is so versatile, you could also  bake an interesting variety of savoury/sweet  buns with it.
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