Jerk Pulled Pork Flatbreads
A few notes on this post before we jump into it:
1) This was one of the best things I’ve made in months, in my opinion.
2) It looks complicated, but you can do it. A lot of the work can be done in advance and, if you want, you can take a few shortcuts which I’ll note.
3) I shouldn’t be allowed to even try to take high quality food photos after I’ve had a few beers. If I can’t drive, I can’t photograph. I need to get one of those blow-tester things.
These were some incredibly frustrating photos to edit because no single photo encompassed the deliciousness of this meal.
Just trust me (and the ten or so people I fed this to) when I tell you that it’s a very good meal of food.
Jerked Pulled Pork
Yield: Serves 15-20.
1 10-14 pound pork butt, bone in if possible.
2 cups apple cider vinegar, for basting
Jerk Seasoning Rub:
1/2 cup whole allspice berries, ground
1/2 cup brown sugar
6 cloves garlic, mashed
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and minced
5-6 habanero peppers, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
1 bunch scallions, minced
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons soy sauce or Braggs liquid aminos
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
Pinch of fresh nutmeg
2 cups sugar
1 cup white vinegar
5 mangos, diced
1/2 white onion, diced
1/2 cup raisins
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Pinch of salt
Flatbread: (Adapted from a Bobby Flay recipe)
Makes 6 flatbreads.
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
Extra olive oil, sea or kosher salt, and black pepper for grilling
To make the Jerk seasoning:
1) Grind the allspice berries or get ground allspice but make sure it is fresh. Roughly dice the scallions, garlic, and ginger. Add them to a food processor. Seed the habanero peppers (wear gloves if you can) and hten mince them finely. Add them also.
2) Add all the other ingredients to the food processor and pulse until a dark, rough paste is formed.
Set this aside until needed. You can make this days in advance.
To make the Mango Chutney:
1) Dice the mangoes and onions.
2) Add vinegar and sugar to a large pot and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Then add onions and mangos. Bring to a simmer and cook for a few minutes.
3) Add all the other ingredients and continue to simmer until the chutney thickens substantially and reduces by about a third. This will take about 35-40 minutes over medium-low heat. Stir it regularly to make sure it isn't sticking.
4) Once the chutney is cooked down, remove from the heat and let cool completely. It will thicken more as it cools.
This is best to make the day before if possible.
For Pulled Pork:
1) Rub pork butt thoroughly with the jerk rub. You should use all of the rub. Wrap the pork butt tightly in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for 24 hours.
2) Remove pork butt from fridge an hour before grilling it.
3) Place pork butt on a grill and try to keep the temperature right around 240-250 degrees. I do this on my gas grill by turning off all but one of the three burners and then turning that burner to medium low. You'll have to play with it though to get the right settings for your grill.
4) Grill at 250 degrees, rotating the pork every two hours and basting with apple cider vinegar.
5) The pork is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 190 degrees. This will probably take around 12 hours so if you want to eat this at night, start it really early in the morning!
6) Once the pork is done, pull it off the grill and wrap it tightly in foil. Let it rest for an hour.
7) You can either pull all the pork off the bone at this point or let people pull it off as they make the sandwiches.
8) You can keep the pork warm in a 200 degree oven if needed and store leftovers for up to a week.
TO make flatbreads:
1) Mix water and yeast in a large bowl. Let sit for five minutes. Add two cups of flour and stir together to form a loose sponge. Let sit for an hour. It should foam and double in size.
2) Once sponge is ready, add oil and salt to it and start adding more flour in half cup increments. You can either use a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment on medium to incorporate the dough, or just stir it with a wooden spoon in a large bowl until it comes together.
3) Once the dough comes together, turn it out on a floured surface and knead it for 8-10 minutes until it is soft, but not sticky at all.
4) Divide the dough into six equal portions and roll the dough into a tight ball, rub each portion with olive oil and store in the fridge.
5) Remove dough at least an hour before you want to grill it.
6) To grill the dough, roll the dough ball into a flat round. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea (or kosher) salt and pepper.
7) Add dough to a clean, very hot grill and cook for about 90 seconds per side. Depending on the size of your grill you can probably cook more than one at a time.
Serve the flatbreads with a few handfuls of pulled pork and slather on some mango chutney.
A few weeks ago I got a voicemail from a good friend (I never actually answer the phone when he calls – inside joke). Anyway, the voicemail was basically a rant on how I killed his taste buds the last time I posted a jerk recipe (jerk tempeh).
I think that habanero peppers must vary in heat substantially because I find this jerk seasoning to be pretty mild. The only way I can think to solve this, from a recipe perspective, is to tell you to start with one or two, add them, and then see how it tastes.
The good news is that when you are rubbing this seasoning on a 12 pound pork butt, it can be really spicy (too spicy to eat) and the end product will be just fine.
It’s also possible that my friend is a wuss. (Yes. You Dan.)
Anyway, this jerk seasoning is pretty straightforward to make assuming you have a food processor and a spice grinder. Just roughly chop all the veggies and pulse them in a food processor. Mince the habanero peppers though and make sure you remove the seeds. I also recommend wearing gloves if possible.
Then grind up the allspice berries and add all of those (yes 1/2 cup is right) to the mix and pulse it up. You should have a really thick, dark paste as a final product.
If you don’t have a spice grinder, just buy ground allspice. If you don’t have a food processor, I think you could just mince everything very finely and stir it together and have a pretty good result.
The Pork Butt
Pork butts (actually shoulder) are pretty common these days and you should be able to find one without too much issue. If at all possible, try to get one with the bone-in as it will add some flavor to the pork while it cooks.
There’s nothing you need to do to the pork really besides rubbing it with all the rub you just made.
Use all of it even though it will look like too much.
Wrap this whole thing in plastic wrap and let it rest for 24 hours.
Yes. This requires some planning, but it’s worth it. This isn’t a recipe you can make on a whim, but your patience will be rewarded.
This was my pork butt after a 24 hour rest in the fridge. I also recommend taking it out of the fridge about an hour before you actually stick it on the grill.
Grilling the Pork
One big fat note: You do not need to grill this. If you don’t have a grill, just stick the thing in a 250 degree oven and come back 10 hours later. Done deal.
I like the grill though. I think it gives it some extra character and also means you don’t have to have the oven on all day.
The thing about the grill though is that temperature control can be tricky. Whatever you do, don’t rely on the thermometer that’s probably on your grill lid. It sucks. While I was cooking this pork butt, my grill thermometer was anywhere from 50-75 degrees off.
Get a cheap oven thermometer and stick it right next to the pork so you know what your temperature actually is.
Also, you’ll need a good probe thermometer to make sure the pork is done. The pork will look basically the same at 170 degrees or 190 degrees. I don’t believe people who say they can feel when their pork butt is ready unless they have cooked hundreds of these.
You’ll want to grill this bad boy at 250 degrees for 10-12 hours. Every two hours or so rotate the pork butt and baste it liberally with apple cider vinegar.
You’ll have to play around with your grill settings to find out how to reach the magic 250 degree mark. For me, I turn off all of my burners except one and turn that one on medium low and it’s about perfect.
You can do this on charcoal (I did for this wedding I catered last year), but it will probably drive you insane. Just a heads up.
After 12 hours or so your pork butt should reach 190 degrees internally which means it’s done and will be fall-off-the-bone tender. Once it comes off the grill, wrap it in foil for an hour or so to let the meat rest.
This post is getting long, so I’ll try to keep this short.
I made coleslaw. It was not really worthy of even noting the recipe. I just bought some bagged coleslaw mix and mixed in some mayo and greek yogurt until it looked like coleslaw. Then I seasoned it with some apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, and Sriracha.
The mango chutney is a different story. Many people commented that this was the highlight of the meal.
It’s shockingly easy to make but you do need to do it a day in advance so it has time to set up correctly. You can check out the printed recipe for exact directions, but basically you just add all the ingredients to a pot and simmer it for about 45 minutes.
If you don’t want to make the chutney, you can actually buy pretty decent jarred mango chutney these days. I recommend Patak’s brand if you can find it. It’s way cheaper to make though if you have time.
Same story with the flatbreads. You can buy pre-made naan breads in the stores these days that are pretty decent, but you can also make them a day in advance and have them ready to go for party time.
Bobby says you get four flatbreads out of the recipe, but I tripled the recipe and got about 18 out of it. So I would say a single batch will get you six flatbreads – each being a little over four ounces.
These are very similar to grilling pizza. Basically, just roll them out and drizzle them with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Then toss them on a clean, very hot grill for about 90 seconds per side.
They should be lightly charred and crispy.
I just kind of let people pull their own pork and then slather the flatbread with mango chutney.
I cannot stress enough how delicious these were.
It was pretty solidly decided that I could open a successful food cart that just sold these.
I won’t though because that seems like a lot of work.
If you make a pork butt and don’t have leftovers, you are a better planner than me.
I had about 5 pounds of pulled pork leftover from this meal.
In true Cornerstone fashion, I made some nachos the next day that were stellar. Pulled pork, pepper jack cheese, red onion, fresh corn, avocado.
This was a long post, but I want you to bookmark it if you are a pulled pork fan.
Most of the work can be done in advance. It was honestly one of the easiest meals I’ve prepared for more than ten people. I didn’t even break a sweat which is rare for me…
Let me know if you try this! I want some confirmation on how good it was.