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What I cook best: Barbacoa pulled pork


 Chef Elaine Kamau shows us how to prepare Barbacoa pulled pork (Photo courtesy)

Elaine Kamau is a professional chef who runs Cha Kula Tayari together with her business partner: Christopher Oduor. Cha Kula Tayari serves organic fast foods that leans towards a fusion of Kenyan and Mexican cuisine.

Today, Elaine shows us how to make her star recipe, barbacoa pulled pork. Here is what you will need:

1kg pork shoulder/pork butt. Fun fact: Pork shoulder is also referred to as pork butt

1/4kg brown sugar

2tbsps tomato paste

2tsps garlic powder

1tsp paprika 

To make the mirepoix, which is a mixture of sautéed chopped veggies, you will need:

1 red onion

1 carrot

3 cloves of garlic 

Knub of ginger

Small bunch of thyme

For pork marination:

2tsp yellow mustard 

2tsp Worcestershire

2tsp lemon juice

1/4cup dark soy sauce

4tsp light soy sauce

1/4cup corn / vegetable oil

1tsp garlic & ginger paste 

1tsp salt & pepper mix


Begin by cleaning your pork shoulder of any hairs and excessive fat using a knife. Do not trim all the fat as this is what helps in the braising process of softening the meat.

Combine all items of your marinade in a bowl, mix it well and store it in an airtight bottle or container. You will require 1/4 cup of the marinade for the pork butt.

Combine the garlic powder, paprika, tomato paste and brown sugar and set aside. Place the pork butt in a bowl and pour in 1/4 cup of the marinade, gradually making sure not to pour an excessive amount. Pour just enough to coat the pork butt. Allow this to sit for at least 30 minutes in the fridge. 

Meanwhile, sautee the mirepoix in a deep pot. Add the veggies in the order listed on ingredients list, allowing each vegetable to sweat, then set aside.

Put the pot back on the fire when the pork is ready. Finish the pork by rubbing the brown sugar mix then placing it into a hot pot so as to seal its pores and contain the meat’s moisture.

Allow to brown on both sides then add a pre-made stock or water just enough to cover the pork butt. Cover the pot and let this come to a boil then place in an oven preheated at 176 degrees Celsius. This should cook for 4 to 5 hours.

When done, take the pork out and watch it pull apart from the bone with ease. Enjoy the barbacoa pulled pork with any preferred starch, such as a sandwich or simply with a delicious summer salad. 

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