Every state in the South has its own style of barbecue. North Carolina claims it has the best: slow-cooked whole hog, meat shredded and mixed with the crackling before being dressed with a spicy, vinegary sauce – or ‘mop’.
North Carolina-style pulled pork and slaw
- Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus overnight dry-brining
- Cooking time: 4 hours 15 minutes
- Total time: 4 hours 25 minutes, plus overnight dry-brining
1.2kg pork shoulder (ideally with the skin)
1 tbsp salt
½ tbsp ground black pepper
VINEGAR PEPPER MOP
150ml cider vinegar
2 tsp brown sugar
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp chilli flakes
½ tsp Tabasco pepper sauce
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ white cabbage, cored and shredded
2 carrots, shredded
½ onion, finely sliced
75ml cider vinegar
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1½ tbsp olive oil
½ tsp crushed celery seeds
1 tsp English mustard powder
1. Rub the pork all over with the salt and pepper; lay in a roasting tin and cover tightly with foil. If you have time, chill to dry-brine overnight.
2. When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 160˚C, gas mark 2. Roast the pork for 2 hours, then uncover and baste in the juices. Cover again and roast for another 2 hours. Meanwhile, make the vinegar pepper mop; warm all the ingredients together in a pan until the sugar has dissolved; set aside.
3. Uncover the tray. Turn the oven up to its highest heat and cook the pork for 10-15 minutes so that the crackling crisps up. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 20 minutes.
4. Cut off the crackling and slice into shards; set aside. Lift the meat out of the pan and shred with 2 forks. There should be lots of lovely cooking juices in the pan – spoon off any fat, then return the meat to the pan to soak them up. Pour over the vinegar pepper mop and toss again; check the seasoning.
5. For the slaw, whisk all the dressing ingredients together. Toss with the vegetables and season. You can leave it to sit, chilled, for up to 6 hours.
6. Serve the pork with shards of crackling, topped with slaw, and piled into toasted buns, if liked.