I love the intense flavour of smoked meats, but I don’t have the space (or the patience) for a great big meat smoker in my yard. The solution? Liquid smoke. What is that, you ask? Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like. All-natural hickory-smoke flavour, concentrated and bottled for everyday kitchen use. It can be found in most specialty grocery stores – you just didn’t know to look for it until now! Liquid smoke is ideal for helping make the less glamorous, cheaper cuts of meat like pork shoulder taste out of this world. It’s powerful stuff, so you only need a little to give your pork some awesome smoky flavour.
Smoky Slow-cooker Pulled Pork with Parsnip Purée
1 free-farmed, bone-in pork shoulder (about 2 kg)
2 cups Chicken Stock (page 154)
¼ cup blackstrap molasses
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp liquid smoke
3 shallots, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
50 g butter
500 g parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
2 cups Chicken Stock (page 154) or vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
Place pork shoulder, stock, molasses, garlic and liquid smoke in a slow-cooker. Cook on the low setting for 8–10 hours until meat is falling apart.
To make the Parsnip Purée, gently fry shallots and garlic in butter until soft. Add parsnips and cook for 5 minutes. Add stock, bring to a boil and simmer until the parsnips are soft. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid, and purée in a blender or food processor, adding some of the reserved liquid a little at a time to get a creamy texture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Use two forks to shred the meat.
Place the cooking liquid from the pork in a saucepan and simmer until slightly thickened.
Serve pork alongside the Parsnip Purée and spoon over cooking liquid to serve.
This can also be done in a conventional oven. Simply place all ingredients in a large, heavy casserole with a well-fitting lid – I use a Dutch oven, which is specially designed for slow cooking – cover and cook in a 140°C oven for 3–4 hours until tender.
Reproduced with permission from Primal Kitchen by Sarah Dueweke. Published by Penguin Random House NZ. RRP $40.00. Photography Elizabeth Clarkson.