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This little piggy

Nothing beats great local Blythburgh free range pork for Jonathan Nicholson, chef-owner of The Sail Loft in Southwold. If you venture up the A12 near us in Southwold and explore the lovely coastal landscape, you can’t help but come across fields of very happy pigs, rooting around, wallowing and sunbathing.

These are the great-tasting, well-fed, well-bred herds of the dedicated farming family, the Butlers of Blythburgh Free Range Pork, up there with Adnams, Aspall and other great foodie icons in the county with a claim on being Suffolk’s best export. As a chef, I firmly believe you can’t beat it, the succulence, flavour, texture of Blythburgh pork once cooked, it’s nothing like cheap supermarket meat. Just get down to your local independent butcher and look out for their name, proudly stamped on the joints. And if you find any on display, ask them to get it in for you. You’re guaranteed to find their pork at Creaseys of Peasenhall, Emmerdale Farm Shop at Yoxford or Clarke’s of Bramfield, owned by another good friend, Jeremy Thickitt, our butcher for the Sail Loft and The Bell At Sax’.

Here is a lovely easy-to-serve weekday supper pork dish, perfect for piggy appetites, big and small. It takes all day to cook but is worth the effort, great for a hog-roast style bap or on top of granary toast – in the picture, it’s on a char-grilled bruschetta with buttered kale, chunky ratatouille and a soft poached egg. There will be lots of leftovers, they reheat well in a microwave or readily transformed into a hearty stew or pie filling.


1.5 – 2kg pork shoulder on bone

2 tbsp soft brown sugar

2 tbsp salt

1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika

Pre-heat the oven to 220c. Line a baking tin with enough foil to cover over pork. Lay pork in but do not cover. Bake for 45 minutes. Turn down oven to 130c. Remove pork and fold foil into a sealed loose tent around pork. Cook for another 6 – 8 hours until soft enough to yield to the back of a fork. Remove and open foil out. Carefully drain off juices into a container and reserve. Turn oven up to 220c and cook for 10 – 15 minutes until well-browned. Cover again with foil and leave for an hour to rest. Remove pork and shred well, pulling apart with two forks whilst warm. Return juices to shredded meat and fold in. Refrigerate overnight.

Enjoy! Jonny

The Sail Loft, Ferry Road, Southwold IP18 6HQ Our beachside café-bar-restaurant, proudly using local, seasonal, Suffolk ingredients – find us near the campsite and lifeboat station. W: www.sailloftsouthwold.uk T: 01502 725713