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Yucatan-Style Slow-Cooked Pork Shoulder


This recipe comes from an extremely talented woman. Tanya was my amazing cookbook photographer and stylist; she is also a blogger (when given time in amongst her hectic schedule), and a fellow paleo-style enthusiast. I’ve been bugging her for a while now to share a recipe with you all, as we’ve had many discussions about food, flavours and her family recipes. Finding a photographer with the right style I was looking for was a challenge, but the blog on her website sealed the deal. Her recipes always look incredible! Just check out her blog! So as a huge lover of Mexican food myself, it was only appropriate that I share Tanya’s incredible pulled pork shoulder recipe. Enjoy!

Gluten free. Dairy free. Grain free. Paleo. 

Tanya says: “Please note that if you can’t find annatto seeds, the recipe will still work without them. The annatto seeds turn the sauce an amazingly rich red and add a subtle authentic flavour to what is a traditional Yucatan dish. However without them, you’ll still have an amazing pulled pork. I do however, highly insist that you do try to source them, but if you get stuck, try the wonderful Ian Hemphill of Herbie’s Spices. He’ll sort you out.”

Serves 4-6 as a main meal. Prep time 1 hour, cooking time 4 hours.

The pork.


2 kilo (4.5 pounds) piece of boneless pork shoulder, skin and excess fat trimmed off (in my house the skin doesn’t get wasted and I always make crackling separately with it)
6-8 cloves garlic
4 coriander roots
2 eschallots or half a Spanish onion
2 jalapeño chillies (or 1 if you prefer a milder dish)
3 bay leaves
1/4 cup red wine vinegar or orange juice
1/4 cup macadamia oil
2 tablespoons annatto seeds, soaked for 30 minutes in hot water, then pounded to a paste in a mortar and pestle
1 tablespoon ground coriander seed
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
salt to taste
fresh coriander leaves to garnish


1. Place the pork in a heavy based enamelled pan, salt it well.

2. Place the rest of the ingredients except the bay leaves, in a small food processor and blend until smooth. Pour the marinade over the pork and massage into the meat. Roll the meat up, tuck the bay leaves in and around, place foil over the top, then cover with lid. Place the pan into the fridge overnight (the acid in the vinegar/juice will make the meat incredibly soft and flavoursome).

3. Preheat your oven to 150 degrees. Place the pan in the oven and cook for the first three hours at this temperature. At the three hour mark remove the foil and roast a further hour at 200 degrees, basting every 10-15 minutes. The sauce will reduce down significantly and the meat will caramelise.

4. Remove from oven, let meat rest covered for 15-30 minutes then shred with two forks and mix the sauce through. Serve with whichever accompaniments you like. I eat it atop fresh cos lettuce leaves with plenty of guacamole, pickled Spanish onion and lime juice (as pictured). Finely sliced radishes work well too.


The guacamole.

Let me briefly tell you about this guacamole. For years I thought that guacamole always tasted better in restaurants than how I made it at home. Seemingly simple, I just couldn’t work out how to get it to sing, and I refused to use those packet mixes you buy at the supermarket. My friend Aline, who is a wonderful cook, taught me to use her secret ingredient: a small amount of very finely chopped eschallot. I then worked out that garlic powder worked better than fresh garlic, and bam, I had an amazingly tasty guac. Make it to accompany your pork, or just to gorge yourself on the guacamole with crackers and a tequila with lime.


3 medium to large avocados, mashed with a fork
1 small eschallot, chopped very finely
1 small red chilli, with seeds, chopped very finely
1 small bunch coriander, both leaves and stems, chopped finely
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
juice of 1-2 limes
salt to taste


1. Combine the mashed avocado with the rest of the ingredients and let sit for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavours to develop.

The pickled onions.

These onions are a must and they are the easiest thing in the world to make. Simply finely slice one small to medium Spanish onion, salt it, then drizzle with cider or white vinegar. Stir and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes to “pickle”.

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