Andy was joined by catering suppliers and butchers at five venues including Young’s pub the Ship in Wandsworth, London, for demonstrations on how to make the most out of pork on the barbecue.
Lower the temperature, cook for longer
Andy demonstrated that fast cooking is not always the best practice, but instead lowering the temperature of the barbecue and slow cooking the meat will ensure great results.
He recommended slow cooking ribs for six hours and rather than laying the meat flat on the grill, rolling the meat and sticking a skewer through it to keep it upright. Adopting this method will mean you will have room for multiple racks of ribs rather than just one or two.
Slow cooking pork shoulder for 10 to 14 hours is ideal for creating a succulent pulled pork shoulder, in which the bone should lift away from the meat rather than the meat being pulled off the bone, as is usually done.
Leaving the lid down on the barbecue is crucial to the cooking process, as Andy stressed: “You wouldn’t turn your oven on, put a chicken in and leave the door open. So why do it when you’re barbecuing?”
Create your own rub
Andy recommends having fun by creating your own ‘rub’ which will allow you to experiment with different ingredients.
To demonstrate, Andy used his own rub containing salt, pepper and paprika, which formed a ‘dry rub.’ The rub was roughly coated over the meat to form a dark crust once cooked, known as bark.
This technique works very well with pork shoulder and the rub can also be worked into the meat more vigorously to create a fuller flavour.
He also used a specially made brush of various herbs to mop a hoisin marinade over the pork. The brush had been created by Andy using ingredients such as rosemary and basil attached to a small wooden handle. This technique not only coats the meat in marinade but adds in the flavours attached to the herb brush.
Keep the meat moist
Keeping pork moist on the barbecue is vital and Andy showed that by directly injecting and spraying meat you not only retain moisture but add flavour too.
Andy used water bottles with pumps and injector guns filled with various ingredients such as apple juice and bourbon to spray the meat but encouraged experimenting with different flavour combinations.
Beer is another good source of moisture and will flavour the pork according to the type of beer used. Dark ales will give a strong, woody flavour whilst lighter, blonde beers will provide a zesty, citrus infusion.
Andy stressed that using briquettes and lighter fluids is something to avoid and that barbecues should be fuelled on coals alone. Using lighter fluids is an unnatural form of heating the barbecue and along with briquettes contains chemicals that will rise up into the meat.
The briquettes burn smaller and smaller, increasing the need to keep re-adding more and more, whereas coals will hold their form and burn for longer.
He demonstrated a technique where he placed pork loins straight onto the coals, giving the meat an intense, smoky flavour and then placed fruits such as oranges and lemons in with the coals to infuse the loins with subtle hints of citrus.
Use good quality meat
Andy worked on a number of cuts of pork including ribs, shoulder, loin and collar and stressed the importance of sourcing the best quality pork available.
“Great tasting pork starts with good quality pork meat from a source you know and trust. Work with your butcher - get to know where his pork comes from and how it has been reared. If you can, find out who the farmer is,” said Andy.
BPEX has produced a collection of five films and ‘The Expert’s Guide to Barbecuing Pork’, highlighting simple ways to make the most of pork on the barbecue. They are available to view at http://porkforcaterers.bpex.org.uk/