I have been making this pulled pork for quite some time. It is one of our favorite preparations and, if there is a healthier way to make a pork sandwich, then this is it. But, the real star of this dish is the potato herb rolls that I can customize with with any herbs that will complement whatever fillings will be in the sandwich. In this case the pork is made with garlic and lemon so I used thyme, rosemary, dried parsley and onion powder to flavor the rolls.
The pulled pork could not be easier, in fact I hesitate to call this a recipe. I take a 4-5 pound pork shoulder and trim off any excess fat. It goes into a slower cooker and I add several garlic cloves, 1 large lemon cut into quarters or two smaller lemons halved. To ensure the pork is not dry I add about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch of low sodium chicken stock. Thats it! It cooks on low for 8 hours or until it falls apart.
Near the end of the cooking process, I remove the lemons and garlic and reserve the latter for the sandwich. The garlic is perfectly roasted and spreads easily on the roll if you are interested in doing so-and I always do!
Of course, rolls form scratch do take a little more time and effort but are so worth it.
I use a 6 quart stand mixer with a dough hook attachment for these rolls. You can use a small mixer but note that the final dough will be about 4 1/2 pounds in weight. Most 4 quart mixers will be fine with that, but you could half the recipe if needed. I made 24, 3 oz sandwich rolls from that amount of dough, which would yield about 35, 2 oz dinner rolls. These rolls freeze very well and you could store the extra for several weeks and then refresh as needed.
You will begin by combining all the ingredients, minus the herbs into the mixing bowl and adding temperature controlled water (not shown). In my kitchen I use water at 100°F but anywhere from 80-100°F will work. Mix on low to incorporate then turn to medium to knead for 7-9 minutes. What you are looking for is what is called a “window pane”. This lets you know when the dough has reached its correct gluten development. There is no real mystery about this step. After ~about 7 minutes, turn off the mixer and pull out a small amount of the dough, it will be slightly sticky. Stretch the dough between your thumbs and forefingers into the shape of a rectangle. If the dough breaks it is not ready, the gluten strands are too short. Continue kneading. The dough temperature should be rising as well, and it will be near 77°F to 80°F when the dough is fully developed. Keep checking these two parameters. Eventually, your window pane will be strong, and transparent. Light should be able to show through the dough, without ripping or tearing, as it will be so thin it appears to be a “window”.
Add whatever freshly chopped or dried herbs you want and mix just until the additions are incorporated and evenly distributed.
Cover the dough and allow it to ferment until doubled (about an hour).
Now you can punch it down to degas and divide into the portion size you desire. Shape and place on a parchment lined sheet to proof until 70-80% larger in size.
Once proofed they need an egg wash and a sprinkle of sea salt. Since I was not adding salt to the pork, I was generous with this!
Bake, without steam, at 375°F for ~20 minutes or until golden brown.
These are wonderful on their own or with any type of sandwich you wish to build. The smaller dinner roll version is great with soups and stews as well.
Of course, we had pulled pork in the slow cooker! I shredded the pork and we built our sandwiches. We went with arugula and a grilled pineapple relish with candied peppers! An outstanding combination!
Let me know if you try either of these recipes!
Pulled Pork with Lemon and Garlic
This Pulled Pork has no added salt or sugar. The lemon and garlic add wonderful flavor
-4 to 5 pound pork shoulder or pork butt, trimmed of excess fat
-5 to 6 whole garlic cloves, peeled
-2 small lemons, halved
-low sodium chicken broth or water
-grilled pineapple salsa
-potato herb rolls (recipe below)
- Place the pork shoulder, garlic and lemon halves into a slow cooker. Add broth or water to about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch on the bottom. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
- Near the end of the cooking time, remove the lemons and reserve the garlic for the sandwich build. Continue cooking the pork until if falls apart easily. Shred the meat with two forks and keep the meat warm in the slow cooker.
- Build the sandwich with a potato herb roll spread with the reserved garlic (if using), add the grilled pineapple relish, pulled pork and arugula.
Potato Herb Rolls
These Potato herb rolls can be customized with any herbs you would like to use to complement your meal.
-2 lb 2 oz. Bread flour
-3 oz. Potato flour
-1 oz. Instant yeast
-21 fl. oz. Water, temperature controlled 80°F to 100°F
-1.5 oz. Dry milk powder
-2.5 oz. Granulated sugar
-3/4 oz. Salt
-3 fl. oz. Olive oil
-1 oz. Fresh Parsley, finely chopped or 1/2 oz. dried
-2 teaspoons Fresh Rosemary, finely chopped or 1 teaspoon dried
-2 teaspoons of Fresh Thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
-1 teaspoon onion powder
-1 teaspoon garlic powder
-1 teaspoon Black pepper
-Egg wash, as needed
-Kosher salt or fleur de sel, as needed
- Place flours, yeast, water, eggs, milk powder, sugar, salt, and oil in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on low speed to combine then knead on medium speed until a window pane is achieved and the dough is 77°F (about 7-9 min.). Add in the herbs and mix until the herbs are well distributed throughout the dough.
- Cover the dough and ferment until doubled in size (~1 hour).
- Punch down the dough and portion into 3 oz pieces. Shape and place on a parchment lined sheet pan.
- Proof until the rolls are 70-80% in volume.
- Carefully brush the proofed rolls with the egg wash and sprinkle with the salt.
- Bake without steam at 375°F for ~20 minutes until golden brown.