Three years ago I was introduced to barbecue – yes with a c. I thought sausages and steak made up a barbeque, but not in the South. Barbecue in the South is all about slow-roasted swine. Whole swine, shredded, served with coleslaw on a soft white bread roll.
Three years on and pulled pork is what everyone’s talking about here is Aus’. We’ve had roast pork rolls with gravy for years, but call it pulled and you can slap on an extra $10 bucks. Remove the ‘cole’ from ‘coleslaw,’ slap it on a brioche bun and you’ve practically got fine dining. Who would have thought there was such a bright future for the humble porky pig.
Last night I served up pulled pork to my dear friends here in Camden. I like to think it’s about passing on the love. Dear friends introduced pulled pork East Carolina style, so I did the same – after a bit go googling and 8 hours, the last hour a little more anxious than the others (i had hungry guests to feed!) i served up some pulled pork. It wasn’t authentic, I didn’t have the right kind pieces of equipment but we got as close to authentic East Carolina style as this Aussie could do.
Early reports were a little unsure, “Mel, that smells awful” — dear sister Laura. But after a few mouthfuls, the reports were resoundingly positive. The flavour a little different to what they’d had before, but appreciative none the less. But that’s the thing about pulled pork turning up on Australia’s shore, you never know what kind of pulled pork you’re going to get. Barbecue is practically a discourse in the United States because it is so hotly contested. What is true barbecue? What constitutes barbecue? How do you cook barbecue?
Still trying to work it all out myself, I did some research and here it is, thanks to some helpful maps:
The United States and it’s regions
The South (as determined by those states that succeeded during the Civil War to form the Confederate of the United States).
Now barbecue differs vastly depending on where in the South you’re in and then again when you arrive in Texas (who will boast they are the home of true barbecue). More than which state you’re in, but where in each state – hence ‘East Carolina barbecue.’
Barbecue in the South
Now, after travelling through some of these Southern regions and trying different kinds of barbecue, but also appreciating the huge variety in it, I order pulled pork with some hesitation. Australia is quite removed from the discourse of barbecue, so you have no idea what kind of pulled pork you’re going to get. Will it be sweet? Will it be tomato-y? Will it be vinegar-y? Will it have a sauce? What kind of sauce?
Alas, the mystery will remain.
For now, here’s the recipe I roughly stuck to from Spicy Southern Kitchen: