'Ultimate BLT' – stuffed barbecue pork buns with lettuce and tomato

Makes approx. 12 buns, with leftover pork
1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

Pork

  • 1kg pork shoulder, bone in and skin removed
  • 2 tbsp of barbecue sauce, Richard uses his own elderflower barbecue sauce which is available to buy from his restaurant
  • 1 tbsp of cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar

Spice rub

  • 120g of light brown sugar
  • 25g of paprika, ideally a mixture of smoked and sweet
  • 60g of sea salt
  • 1 tbsp of chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp of onion powder
  • 3 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
  • 1 tbsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp of ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper

Bun batter

  • 160g of egg white
  • 85g of egg yolk
  • 120g of double cream
  • 125g of plain flour
  • 70g of salted butter, melted
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground white pepper
  • vegetable oil, for greasing

Dried tomato

  • 1 large tomato, very finely sliced
  • 100ml of water
  • 50g of caster sugar
  • 50g of sea salt

To garnish

  • 1 baby gem lettuce, shredded
  • barbecue sauce

Method

1
Begin cooking the pork earlier on in the day, as it takes around 5 hours to cook. Take the pork out of the fridge and leave to come to room temperature for around 1 hour and preheat an oven to 120°C/gas mark ½. If you have a lidded barbecue suited for indirect cooking that you can control the temperature with, you could also of course use this – if so, light it and wait for it to come to 120°C
  • 1kg pork shoulder, bone in and skin removed
2
Mix together all the ingredients for the spice rub. Pack most of the spice mix all over the meat, ensuring it is liberally coated all over, then (if cooking in the oven) place a large sheet of foil on a work surface. Mix together the vinegar and barbecue sauce, then spoon half of it onto the centre of the foil. Place the pork on top, fat-side up, then pour over the rest of the barbecue sauce mixture
  • 120g of light brown sugar
  • 25g of paprika, ideally a mixture of smoked and sweet
  • 60g of sea salt
  • 1 tbsp of chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp of onion powder
  • 3 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
  • 1 tbsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp of ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp of barbecue sauce, Richard uses his own elderflower barbecue sauce which is available to buy from his restaurant
  • 1 tbsp of cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar
3
Wrap the pork tightly in foil, place in a deep-sided roasting tray and add a cupful of water (or beer). Place in the oven and cook for 4 hours. If cooking on a barbecue, spoon the sauce over the pork and place it into the barbecue (there's no need for foil). Close the lid, keep an eye on the temperature and cook for 4 hours
4
Once the pork is in, prepare the tomato slices. Place the water, sugar and salt in a pan and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the salt and sugar have dissolved to create a savoury stock syrup. Dip the slices of tomato in the syrup, then place on a tray lined with baking paper. Put them in the oven along with the pork. Cook until dry and crisp (around 2 hours)
  • 100ml of water
  • 50g of caster sugar
  • 50g of sea salt
  • 1 large tomato, very finely sliced
5
While the pork cooks, make the batter. Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks using a stand mixer or electric whisk. While they’re whisking, place the egg yolks, flour, cream and melted butter in a bowl and season with a pinch of salt, some white pepper and Old Bay seasoning. Fold together to form a thick paste
  • 160g of egg white
  • 85g of egg yolk
  • 120g of double cream
  • 125g of plain flour
  • 70g of salted butter, melted
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground white pepper
6
Once the whites have formed stiff peaks, incorporate them into the batter paste a spoonful at a time. Beat in the first few spoonfuls, then gently fold in the last few spoonfuls. You should have a batter that resembles a Yorkshire pudding or cake batter. Cover and set aside to rest at room temperature until the pork is ready
7
Once the pork is cooked and very soft to the touch, it’s ready. If you’ve used an oven to cook it, unwrap the pork, increase the heat to 220°C/gas mark 7 and cook for a further 20-30 minutes to caramelise the exterior. Allow to rest for around 10 minutes until cool enough to handle, then remove the bone and shred the meat down using your hands
8
Roll the pork into dense balls weighing approx. 20g each. You will have more pork than you need, but it freezes well and can be used in all sorts of other dishes
9
Give the rested batter another quick whisk, preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3 and place an aebleskiver pan over a medium heat (you could also use a Yorkshire pudding tin). Oil the dimples in the pan well, then add a spoonful of the batter into each one
  • vegetable oil, for greasing
10
As the batter begins to set, start turning them on their sides to start forming a sphere. Add a small teaspoon more of mixture to each one, then nestle a ball of pork into the centre. Continue to cook until there is cooked batter all the way around the pork
11
Transfer the buns to the oven and cook for 4 minutes, turning halfway through, to finish cooking, then dust with a little extra Old Bay seasoning
12
To serve, place a dot of barbecue sauce on the plate, then top with a nest of shredded lettuce. Place a pork bun on top, add another dot of barbecue sauce and finish with a slice of dried tomato
  • barbecue sauce
  • 1 baby gem lettuce, shredded