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While tearing off and chewing meat through to the bone admittedly feels like a more dramatic and action-packed way to eat pork, a true carnivore knows the more understated sensory pleasures of gently prying apart slow-cooked, tender meat with a fork, and feeling those smoky, barbeque-soaked shreds of ‘pulled pork’ melt in your mouth.
This über-delicious American culinary invention is cast in various innovative avatars across restaurants in the city. Beer bar Independence Brewing Company, for instance, packs slow-roasted pulled pork (drenched in a southern style barbecue sauce and accompanied with piquant cajun seasoning) between two buns – their fluffy texture truly indicative of their freshness – to make for one scrumptious slider. The Brooklyn Shuffle bar has a slightly different take on the same concept – here, slightly stringy pulled pork is marinated with sweetish barbecue rub with a tinge of aniseed; with coleslaw and iceberg lettuce providing a green element to the mix.
And, if a mere slider does not cut it for you and you need nothing less than an ‘XL Burger’ to get your meat-and-bread fix, go for the ‘porky duet’ at The Little Door which celebrates the picture-perfect union of some fatty slivers of curried pulled pork with generous dollops of thick, salty-sweet bacon jam. This clever combination of two beloved forms of pork comes nestled between lightly toasted sesame buns here, along with a chunky slice of cheddar, pickled cucumber, tomato, mixed leaves and the ubiquitous side of crispy fries – quite the bounty, we must say. Or then, Euriska does its own fruity flavour bomb of a burger stuffed with barbecue-coated pulled pork and thin slices of caramelised apples.
The Ship offers barbecue pulled pork as a topping for poutine, the popular Canadian dish comprising French fries buried under squeaky cheese curd and hot gravy in a sloppy but delicious mess of flavours. The juicy meat also comes as a filling for their quesadillas and wraps, alongside apple coleslaw and chilli fries. Similarly, at Margarita Deck, you get pulled pork tacos and burritos – the former features a half moon-shaped hard-shell or corn tortilla crammed with pulled pork along with condiments such as salsa, guacamole and sour cream, while the latter has a cylindrical whole-wheat tortilla enclosing pulled pork plus typical Tex-Mex garnishes such as refried beans, Mexican rice, pico de galo and ranchera sauce.
Newly opened Playboy Beer Garden gives pulled pork an Italian spin by incorporating it into gnocchi – the meat is slow-cooked overnight until it involuntarily falls off the bone and is then enveloped in light potato dumplings, making for a substantial meal. Meanwhile, Café 1730 elevates those hard-earned meaty fruits of smoke and dedication to the status of an independent main course dish, by serving a heap of pulled pork marinated in fresh herbs with mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables – all drowned in a sauce of your choice.
And, if you are looking for something light, go for Portobello’s ingenious pulled pork salad that has these pork strands rubbing shoulders with wholesome elements such as celery, fennel and parsley – all tossed in balsamic – making for a meal that nourishes the system, while also being an absolute divinely ordained delight for the taste buds.