Spicy Citrus Pulled Pork

This seasoned pork sandwich takes time to slow-cook—which actually makes it a good choice to serve the gang for a casual dinner (the recipe is easily doubled for a larger crowd).

It’s not a difficult dish, but you really must do most of the work ahead of time: marinate the roast the day before, and set it in a slow cooker in the morning for a long, leisurely braising. When it’s time to serve, the slow cooker keeps the shredded meat warm while guests assemble their own sandwiches.

Serves: 8


Spicy Pulled Pork on a Bun

  • 3 lbs pork roast (shoulder, picnic, or butt end, bone-in or boneless) (1 1/2 kg)
  • Spicy Citrus Sauce (recipe below)
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar (30 ml)
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar (30 ml)
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (125 ml)
  • 8 crusty rolls
  • 8 radacchio leaves
  • 2 avocados, pitted and sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Spicy Citrus Sauce

  • 1/4 cup cup olive oil (60 ml)
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (60 ml)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (60 ml)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin (15 ml)
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar (30 ml)
  • 1 tsp hot or sweet paprika (5 ml)
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (2 ml)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (2 ml)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg (2 ml)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger (5 ml)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (2 ml)
  • 1 tsp kosher or sea salt (5 ml)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (2 ml)

Preparation of spicy pulled pork

  1. Trim excess fat from pork. Marinate meat in Spicy Citrus Sauce, covered in the fridge, overnight.
  2. Cook, covered, in slow cooker at low heat for about 8 hours, or in a covered casserole dish in a 325°F (160°C) oven for 3–4 hours, until pork is very tender and pulls apart easily into shreds. Remove pork to a platter; set aside, covered with foil, until meat is just cool enough to handle.
  3. Meanwhile, carefully pour juices from pot into a large glass measuring cup. Refrigerate until cool and fat has risen to the top. Remove excess fat.
  4. In a shallow saucepan, combine skimmed pork juices, sugar, vinegar, and orange juice. Place pan over medium heat and reduce for about 10 minutes, to make approximately 1 cup (250 ml) of sauce. Season to taste.
  5. Pull pork apart with a fork until it’s all shredded. Combine shredded pork (approximately 4 cups) and juice mixture.
  6. Serve pork warm (reheat if needed). Cut each crusty roll in half horizontally. Toast rolls lightly on the barbecue or under broiler for a couple of minutes. Place a radicchio leaf on the bottom half of roll. Pile on about 1/2 cup (125 ml) of pulled pork and garnish with one or two slices of avocado and a few slices of red onion. Cover with top of roll.

If you double the recipe, using a 6-lb (3-kg) roast, cut the roast into two pieces: The marinade will flavour more surface area and the meat will cook more evenly.

To prepare the spicy citrus sauce, combine paste ingredients in a bowl (makes about 1 cup).