Try our Calabrian chilli pulled pork, then check out our pulled pork tacos, slow-cooker pulled pork and more pulled pork recipes.

Gurdeep Loyal is a food and drink trends specialist who built his career working at Harrods Food Halls, Innocent Drinks and M&S Food. He’s also a food writer and curator of online platform Mother Tongue. His first recipe book of the same name is out now. @gurd_loyal

What is Calabrian chilli paste?

Calabrian chilli paste, aka crema di peperoncino, is typically made with naso di cane chillies from the toe of Italy. They’re combined with vinegar, oil and salt to make the fiery paste, which has a tangy-fruity quality that’s wonderful on bruschetta, added to slow-cooked stews or served alongside cheese. It’s an ingredient found on the menus of restaurants, including Bocco Di Lupo and Lina Stores. I particularly like the brand Seggiano.


  • 1.2-1.4kg pork shoulder, bone removed
  • 2 tbsp Calabrian chilli paste (crema di peperoncino)
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp smoked sea salt
  • 3 tbsp soft dark brown sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 5 anchovies, drained
  • 300ml cider or apple juice
  • brioche buns and salad, to serve (optional)


  • STEP 1

    Carefully remove the outer rind of the pork shoulder leaving a good layer of fat for flavour, then score the top with a sharp knife in a cross-hatch. Next, carefully cut the pork horizontally through the middle – your butcher can do this step for you, if you prefer.

  • STEP 2

    Add the chilli paste, fennel seeds, salt, sugar, garlic cloves, vinegar, anchovies and 1 tsp of crushed black peppercorns to a grinder and whizz to a thick red paste.

  • STEP 3

    Using disposable gloves, rub half of the paste all over the bottom half of the pork shoulder, then put the top half on top. Smother the scored fat and outside of the pork shoulder with the remaining paste, put in a deep baking tray, cover with foil and leave in the fridge for at least 4-6 hrs, ideally overnight.

  • STEP 4

    Heat the oven to 205C/185C fan/gas 6. Pour the cider or apple juice into the baking tray, cover tightly with foil and cook for 2 hrs. Remove from the oven, skim off any excess fat, turn the pork shoulder onto its side and baste with the juices from the pan. Reduce the oven to 160C/ 140C fan/gas 3. Top up with more cider or apple juice if dry, cover with foil again and cook for another 1 hr 30 mins, checking regularly to ensure it doesn’t dry out. Skim off the excess fat again, baste with juices from the tray, increase the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and finish cooking, uncovered, for 10 mins. Remove from oven, leave to rest for 15 mins, shred with a fork and serve with brioche buns and salad, if you like.

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