Cherry Smoked Pork Collar

_MG_3858Hold the press! We’ve got a brand new winner tonight! In search of the best pork dishes I can muster up I came across a 2.1 kg pork collar at the butcher that only cost $17. With that scored I decided to make our legendary pulled pork in only 1/3 of the time. Normally pulled pork sandwiches at our place are reserved for New Year’s Eve only. Well now that I know I can get these pork collars at a fraction of the price (and the same, if not better taste) we’ll be making up this recipe a few more times a year as it’s a huge crowd pleaser if nothing else.

So what you’ll need to do is first prepare your rub. I’ve borrowed Meathead Goldwyn’s “Memphis Dust” recipe for this pulled pork:

  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons rosemary powder (take your dried rosemary and run it through the spice grinder to get the fine powder!)

Now, rinse off the pork collar under cold water. Pat it dry with some kitchen roll and set it in a shallow dish. Now take some vegetable oil and make sure you slather the collar all over, especially in the nooks and crannies if you’ve not tied it up yet. You’ll truss it the next day before smoking. Now give the collar a great big helping of the Memphis Dust rub and don’t be shy. Make sure you’ve covered every square centimetre of this pork. Once done, get your trusty cling film and wrap it up nice and tight and put in in the fridge (in a shallow dish) overnight.

Fast forward to grilling day. Remove the collar, unwrapping carefully to preserve the rub. Now truss the collar with some butcher’s twine which will ensure even cooking. Sprinkle a bit more rub on top and get it moving to the smoker! We had guests coming over for an early dinner at 4:00 pm. I wanted to serve the pulled pork at 5:00-ish so I figured the rule of 1.5 hours per pound. 2.1 kg is 4.6 lbs so then you roughly come up with 7 hours at 225 F. The result was closer to 8.5 due to the stall that took place at 170F internal temperature. More on that later. Set up your grill/smoker for indirect heat with a good helping of cherry wood chips scattered throughout the full compliment of hard wood charcoal. Add a drip pan with a good 4″ of hot water/or chicken stock like I did. Once you’ve stabilised the ambient temperature on the grill at a cool 225, add your collar (with temperature probe inserted) onto a rack and place it over the drip pan. Shut the dome and go do something productive for a half a day or so.

You’ll inevitably hit the stall temperature and it’ll stay there for a good few hours. This can be frustrating for some people not used to cooking pork butt, collar or beef brisket. It’s perfectly normal and it’s part of the magic really. You’ll want to aim for an internal temperature of exactly 203F. That’s the magic number. If you’ve stalled at 170F like I did for a long time, you can gently start to increase the ambient temperature by opening your bottom and top vents a little bit. Once the temperature hit 325F, the collar started to respond instantly, climbing steadily to the magic number 203F.

OK, when the magic number is attained, rest that collar for about 10 minutes with no foil, you want the bark to be nice and crunchy. When you’re ready to pull your pork (ahem) – take two forks, insert, twist and pull. Keep going until you’ve got a dish full of pork lovin’! We served these “sammiches” with a homemade slaw made of red cabbage, apple, cranberries and beetroot on a fresh bun, hollowed out, topped with homemade KC barbecue sauce.

So what was the final result? Silly, cray-cray, awesome goodness!

 

PS – Thanks to the Cowan family for coming over and test driving pork collar “sammiches!” Also, a BIG congrats to Dayne for finally getting his license converted!  Keep off the sidewalks Singapore!!!!

And a final PPSS… Hunny Lee-Ryan… let me know how this goes!

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Overall Rating: 10/10

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