Tuesday 23 May 2017

Pulled Pork Doughnuts

Bit of a high concept one here. I'm not entirely sure when I started thinking about it, but it's been bouncing round in the back of my head for a while now. It's a pretty simple idea...take your traditional pulled pork bun (or if you're a fan of the Asian side of things Cha Siu Bao), and then rather than steaming of baking them, deep-fry them ala a doughnut. Simples?

The logistics are a little more involved...I've never made pulled pork before, and after a bit of digging found a recipe, only to find it takes 5 hours in the oven! This was definitely not one that was going to be done in a single evening. I also decided to make my own barbecue sauce, and again spent some time looking this up. I ended up doing the pork and the sauce on a Sunday, then the dough, assembly and frying on the Monday evening. Fortunately it a a pleasant, warm day, and the dough proved quickly (though I helped the second prove with a "proving draw" oven set-up)

The volume here provide waaay more pulled pork (I did the entire 2½kg pork shoulder joint...my local supermarket had almost exactly the cut the recipe called for, and it's not like it won't get eaten!) and barbecue sauce than you need...no bad thing! The dough volume makes 12 buns, though with the pulled pork and sauce volumes you could probably make 30'ish.

Pulled Pork Doughnuts - Recipe

Pulled Pork - Recipe

I used this recipe from the BBC Good Food website, and won't worry about writing it out again. There were a lot of new flavours in there for me (liquid smoke? I now have a bottle of it). I struggled to find the onion salt...you can also get onion granules which can be mixed with plain salt (1 parts granules, 3 parts salt) for the same effect.

Searing the pork was...interesting. The joint was bigger than my largest frying pan, so there was some delicate balancing going on. The next challenge was that my roasting tin is wide than my tin foil, so there was a bit of ad-hoc origami going on to join 2 sheets together...I realised this was pretty important, as otherwise over the 5 hour cooking time the meat would go dry if the moisture could escape, so a good seal was vital.

It actually came out really well, and was just falling apart when I was attacking it with a fork. I stored it in 2 large tubs in the fridge, and 12 doughnuts used less than half.

Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Again, I headed to the trustworthy BBC Good Food website. I wanted something sweet and sticky, but with a good flavour, as I was unsure how much of it I'd be able to get into the buns. This recipe certainly has a kick to it!

Again, the ingredients list was a bit of a learning experience. I had no idea what Passata was, I didn't have some of the spices, and chipotle paste is new to me as well (and I also butcher the pronunciation). Actually making it, once I had all the ingredients assembled, was pretty simple, and I did it in the extremely long time I had spare while the pork was cooking. Once it was cooked, I let it cool, and then decanted into small kilner jars to store...I ended up using under half the recipe for the 12 buns, and I was also using it on some meals to add some depth.

Dough Recipe


  • 500g strong white flour
  • 10g salt
  • 15g fast action yeast
  • 200ml full-fat milk
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 60g butter (room temperature)
1) Warm the milk in a microwave to ~40'C (tepid)

2) Place the flour, salt, yeast and eggs in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment

3) Begin to mix, and slowly add the milk to form a dough

4) Mix for 4-5 minutes, until the dough begins to smooth

5) Add the butter to the bowl

6) Mix for another 8-10 minutes, until you have a smooth, glossy and stretchy dough

7) Place in a slightly oiled container, and leave to prove somewhere warm for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.


(this is where it gets a little fiddly!)

1) While the dough is proving, make 12 balls of pulled pork. These want to be approximately 3 - 3½cm in diameter.

2) Pull the balls apart, and add ½tsp of barbecue sauce into them, gently then reforming them

3) Leave the balls to chill in the fridge to firm up

4) Take the proved dough, and knock back

5) Split into 12 equal parts by weight (my dough weighed 880g, so each part was 70-75g)

6) Roll each dough part out into an oval approximately 10cm across

7) Take a chilled meat ball, and wrap the dough around it. Pinch the edge shut, ensuring there is as little air as possible.

You want to be quite diligent pinching the dough together, so ensure the meat is fully encapsulated, and as even as possible all the way round the meat ball. Smooth it off gently.

8) Place the balls on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Brush them with a little oil if you are worried that they may touch when proving again.

9) Leave to prove for 30-45 minutes (I used an oven with a temperature probe at ~40'C for this). They should expand a bit, but not double their size.

10) Set up your deep fat fryer, with sunflower or vegetable oil. You want the temperature at 180'C.

11) Prepare a "landing zone" for your cooked doughnuts. I had a cooling rack with a kitchen cloth underneath to catch errant oil and flour. You'll also want a flour sprinkler, and some heatproof tools.

12) Fry the doughnuts 2 at a time. You don't want more than that, or the oil will get too cool, and you'll get greasy doughnuts. I was carefully fine-tuning the shape before they went in, but didn't have any splits.

The cooking time is 3 minutes, and I was flipping them at 1 minute, 2 minutes and 2½ minutes.

13) Remove the doughnuts from the fryer to the landing zone, and sprinkle with flour to finish.

These are delicious warm...