Pork shoulder on sale again
I've started seeing large chunks of pork shoulder on sale again and remembered all the droolworthy posts about slow cooked shoulder from a few months ago. Anyone care to refresh my memory about this? Season well, put in pan, bake at 250o for 8 hours? Covered? Uncovered? What next? Thanks!
A different, unique, way...
I learned from a Cuban friend who claimed that the Jamaican way was to marinate the shoulder (aka Boston-butt) in cola, preferably Dr. Pepper (coke, gingerale). I have done this many times and I must say the results are great. After an over-night in the soda (I add mire-poix, rosemary, jerk spices, tomato, soy sauce- really whatever to your taste) the carbonation seems to tenderize the meat. I then braise the meat in the marinade (cover the butt halfway with the liquid, leave the veg in) rolling it over every-so-often until it's done. Crisp-up the outside if you want. I then remove the fat from the remaining juices, reduce (add tomato to thicken if you want) to create a sweet-spicy BBQ sauce. Pull it apart, add the sauce, done.
I like to serve it w/ what I call a Dominican Cassoulet, which is another story all together.
Goldfish, as far as authenticity and pernil go, every hispanic household has their own variation on preparation, and each household considers their version "authentic". Our preparation is very basic using simple ingredients, but the outcome is a superbly moist and flavorful meat that quickly disappears at dinner parties. As much as we try, we have never been able to make enough to keep for leftovers. As for a recipe, I can share the ingredients we use at our home with you, but I strongly recommend that you use your judgment when it comes to measurements. Here's the prep:
Marinate on evening before you plan to cook.
First, we usually purchase 2 of the smaller cuts of pork because they seem to marinate quicker than the larger ones.
For 2 pernils of approximately 4 to 5 lbs. each, we use about 3 complete heads of fresh garlic. You can easily make 1 and, of course, cut the garlic quantity in half.
Ground Cumin (comino)
Any wine that you would drink
Soy or terriyaki sauce (low sodium)
With a sharp knife (please be very careful), loosen the hard skin and separate from the meat. This skin will act as a covering (optional). I've prepared pernil with the skin and without. It all depends on whether you want chicharron (crackling). I honestly don't think it affects the flavor or texture.
Rinse the meat well and pat dry.
In a food processor, add the peeled garlic cloves, soy or terriyaki sauce, wine, orange juice, cumin powder, salt and pepper. (Even though you add the liquids to the processor, you will still need some wine and juice to add directly to the pork).
Pulse the ingredients until you achieve a texture similar to cooked farina. It should not be too thick. Add more liquid to thin if necessary.
Place the pork onto your roasting pan and make slits throughout. This will help the marinade to penetrate the pork during cooking. Drizzle some wine and orange juice over it. Add the pureed mixture from the processor making sure that all the meat is properly covered. Drizzle with a light touch of cooking oil. If you like, you can also lightly sprinkle some extra salt to the altready marinated pork. Be careful though because the soy or terriyaki sauce also contain salt.
Cover with heavy duty aluminum foil and place the marinated pork sitting in its roasting pan in a large enough plastic bag that can be tied. If you skip this step, your fridge may reek of fresh garlic for days. Refrigerate overnight.
The day of roasting, uncover the pork and just baste with whatever drippings are on the pan. Make a tent with the foil and place it over the pork. Preheat your oven for approximately 15 to 20 minutes at 350. Roast at 350, covered for approximately 1 hour and then remove the foil to start browning the pork. Baste every hour until fully cooked. If the meat is browning too quickly, you can cover again with the foil.
When we prepare the 2 small pernils (appox. 4 to 5 lbs. each), they take approximately 4 to 4 1/2 hours to cook. We don't use thermometers or anything fancy. We just cut to the bone and check that the bone is white and the liquids run clear. The meat is very juicy and tender, and best of all, flavorfull.
Allow the cooked pork to rest for at least 30 minutes before carving.
We usually serve it up with "salsa de cebolla encurtida". Just do a quick search. I recently saw a recipe posted. If you can't find one, here's what we do.
We use about 3 large red onions thinly sliced
Fresh lemon juice
Chopped fresh cilantro
Rinse the onions well a few times in running water
Add the juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste
A drizzle of olive oil
and the chopped cilantro
Let the onions sit for a while.
Serve over the pork.
WORD OF WARNING: This recipe will fill your home with the wonderful aroma of a roasting pernil.
I sure hope you do try it and enjoy it as much as we do.
Eight hours on a rack at 250 degrees. Salt and pepper (plenty of both) only. For some reason, I don't get a lot of drippings this way, but the meat is out of this world. And I get to indulge my secret vice - as the roast cooks and a lovely brown crust forms on the fat, I pull the crust off and eat it, then reseason and do it again an hour later, until there isn't any more to take.
Go to your Video store and rent the DVD for "Once Upon A Time In Mexico" (Antonio Banderas/ Johnnie Depp).
Pass on the movie, or just watch the scenes with Johnny Depp in them as the rest is crap. In the Special Features section is a tasty morsel titled "10 Minute Cooking School" In it, Robert Rodrigues shows you how to make the Cochinita (Puerco) Pibil that was so good it caused Agent Sands to kill the Chef. It involves tequila, banana leaves and some great technique.
I cannot recommend a better recipe that doesn't involve a smoke pit BBQ (actually I frequently cook this in my smoker, sealed tight in foil, as the gentle heat is perfect for this dish).
Mr Rodrigues goes on to promise a "10 minute Fucking School" on a later DVD but I haven't found that one yet.
Thanks to your post, and the links provided, there's a 4/12 pounder roasting in the oven now. I used high heat for a short bit, now it's on low and will cook for a long time. This house smells so good that I think I must change my plans for the day. There's no way I can stay here without eating all day long, my mouth is already watering. Seriously. It'd all be wasted calories because I'd never be satisfied. Nothing here will taste as good as that smells.
Can't wait for supper tonight. Thank you!
It was so delicious that day that I did it again this weekend. Used lots of fennel seed, garlic, sage. Cooked it at 450 for 45 min, then 250 all day. The meat was moist and delicious and just fell off the bone. WIll be doing this one often. Hope it goes on sale at your store soon!