Sticky spiced mango pork shoulder with mango pickle

  • 4
  • 8 hours plus 6 days for fermenting pickle

Cooking pork low and slow on the barbecue is well worth the time investment it requires. Helen Graves here serves her mango-glazed pork with a homemade mango pickle and refreshing raita. This is the perfect meal for a sunny celebration.

This recipe is taken from Barbecue Days, Barbecue Nights by Helen Graves (Hardie Grant, £22), Photography by Robert Billington.

First published in 2024

Helen says: 'Mango chutney-glazed pork, a homemade mango pickle and a mango barbecue sauce – if you don’t like mango, I’d suggest choosing a different recipe. It’s all piled into buns with Bombay mix, a fresh raita and herbs and it’s the kind of pulled pork I’m here for – plenty of contrasting textures, lots of freshness to balance the sweet pork. The pickle here is based on classic Indian recipes, but I’ve used smaller pieces of slightly riper mango (rather than green) to speed up the pickling process. The best option, if you are cooking in a regular kettle barbecue, is to find really good-quality charcoal briquettes, which do now exist. If you use high-quality lumpwood charcoal you are going to go through an awful lot of it over 6 hours. And if you use poor-quality charcoal, well, it’s just going to taste awful. It’s nice to smoke the pork with some wood or chips, which you can buy online. Use a good all-rounder like oak, or try apple for something slightly more mellow. Really though, smoke is smoke.'

Lighting your barbecue

Place a natural wool fire lighter on the base of your barbecue (remove the grill first), then fill up your chimney starter with lump wood charcoal. Light the fire lighter, then place your full chimney on top of it and wait for 5–10 minutes before tipping the coals into the base of the kettle.

Barbecue setup

There’s really only one setup your need to know about, and that’s a two-zone setup for ‘indirect cooking’. This just means that the coals are banked to one side of the barbecue creating a hot zone and a cooler zone. The hot zone can be used for searing and quick cooking, while the cooler zone is used for cooking larger bits of meat, for example, cooking things through more slowly and gently, and serves as a safe place to put things when they’re cooking too fast and/or flames are flaring up due to dripping fat.

The only time I really deviate from this setup is when I’m cooking wings, when I arrange the coals in the centre of the barbecue with an empty ring around the outside. It’s the same principle as above, but there’s just extra room to cook more wings evenly at the same time.

On the occasions that I specify heat level in a recipe, 'medium hot’ simply means adding more coals, while ‘medium-low’ means adding – you’ve guessed it – fewer.




Mustard mango pickle


Mango barbecue sauce

  • 25ml of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of honey, or maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp of ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp hot paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp of soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

To serve



Toast the fenugreek seeds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat until they smell fragrant, then set aside

  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds

Combine the mustard and fenugreek seeds in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar and give them just a quick pulse – you don’t want a fine powder. Combine the mango, ground spices, crushed garlic, chilli powder, oil and salt in a bowl and mix well


Transfer to a sterilised jar, seal and set aside at room temperature for 24 hours. After this time, give it a stir, mixing every day for at least 5 days. After this time, any bitterness should subside, and it will start to taste incredible. Ensure everything is looking oily on top of the jar as this will keep the pickle fresh – add more oil if you need to


When you’re ready to cook, trim the fat on the pork shoulder to a thickness of about 1 cm (½ inch) and remove any fibrous silverskin from the underside of the shoulder


Combine the paprika, mango chutney, lime zest, onion and garlic powders, salt and oil – you just want to add enough for the mixture to form a paste – and rub all over the pork shoulder


Prepare a barbecue for two-zone cooking as described above, with the lit coals on one side (add a chunk of wood if you have one) and a tray to catch drips on the other. Check the charcoal now and then, topping up if needed. There’s no point adding more wood after a couple of hours – the pork is smoked. Close the lid and set both vents to a quarter open


The total cooking time is likely to be 6–8 hours. At some point, the temperature of the meat will stop rising – this is called a ‘stall’. It might happen at about 65–75°C (150–167°F). At this point, wrap it in layers of foil and return it to the barbecue


Continue cooking for another few hours until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 90°C (194°F) before removing from the heat, to ensure the connective tissue has melted down. Set the pork aside to rest, wrapped, for at least 30 minutes


To cook the pork indoors: Preheat the oven to 130°C (260°F/gas 2). Place the mango-coated pork on a rack in a roasting tin and pour 500 ml (17 fl oz/generous 2 cups) water into the bottom of the tray (avoiding the pork). Cover tightly with foil and cook for anything between 6 and 8 hours, or until falling apart


Toss the diced cucumber with a generous pinch of salt and place into a colander over a bowl to drain


In a small blender, combine all the barbecue sauce ingredients with 100g mustard mango pickle until smooth

  • 25ml of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of honey, or maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp of ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp hot paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp of soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Drain and rinse the cucumber and mix with the other raita ingredients. Season with salt and pepper


Once the meat has rested, pull it apart over a tray to catch any juices, taking care to remove any small, sharp bones. Don’t over-pull – you want to leave some nice big chunks of meat


Toss the meat with 50 ml (1¾ fl oz/3½ tablespoons) or so of the fatty juices and some salt, plus as much as the barbecue sauce as you like – it’s better to be a little cautious and serve the rest on the side. Serve the pork with buns, raita, mango pickle and garnishes

First published in 2024

Helen Graves is Head of Content at Great British Chefs. She's also the author of the cookbook LIVE FIRE: Seasonal Barbecue Recipes and Stories of Live Fire Traditions, Old and New, and the editor of Pit, an independent magazine with roots in live fire cooking.

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