12 Hour Pork

Serves: 8 – 10

My mother first made this dish for the family when I was about 21. It was a revelation!

I had never had such slow cooked meat (remember, this was 15 years ago when slow cooking wasn’t a thing in Australia) and rather than being dry or inedible, it is incredibly moist and succulent.

And unlike all of the pulled porks and beefs out there, this one isn’t just a slab of slow cooked meat. Not at all; the fennel and garlic and chilli transform it into the most unique and extraordinary flavor, unlike anything you have ever tasted.

On one occasion that I cooked it for my flatmate Aaron and our friend Nilhan, we agreed not to eat all day and even spent a few hours in the sun playing tennis (in between bastings) to build up our hunger. I served it with a truffle mash and sauteed beans and I swear to God, it was the most unbelievable eating moment of my life as we stuffed it down with our fingers, eyes closed, heart rates at 110.

It is a bit of a ritual cooking this because you have to start early in the morning and keep basting all day.

Though a few hours in and the house smells amazing. The excitement starts.

People ask to peek the meat at around 8 hours. Start your truffle mash and pour a wine at hour 10 and the excitement is palpable. People refuse cheese and snacks in order to have as much room for the pork when it is served.

It is a long runway but it is worth it. Oh, only use a pork shoulder. Pork neck – as experience told me earlier this year – just will not cut it.


3 – 4kg Pork Shoulder Roast, no bone
4 tbs fennel seeds
5 tbs chopped garlic
3 tbs dried chili pepper flaked
1 tsp sea salt
¾ tsp pepper
Juice of 6 lemons
3 tbs olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 250 celcius.
  2. Mix the together fennel seeds, chopped garlic, chili pepper and salt and pepper and set aside. Mix lemon juice and olive oil and set aside.
  3. Stab the Pork Shoulder deeply all over; around 7 times on east side including edges.
  4. Massage the fennel seed mixture into all sides of the roast and place it in a roasting pan. Roast for 30 minutes.
  5. Turn the oven down to 120 celcius.
  6. Take the Pork Shoulder out of the oven and loosen from the bottom of the pan. Pour half the lemon mixture over the roast, loosely cover with foil and out back in oven.
  7. Roast for 12 hours or so, adding the rest of the lemon mixture after 6 hours and basting the pork every hour.

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