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Finding pickled pork for red beans and rice in Boston (pref. Somerville/Cambridge)

So, I watched an episode of Good Eats on red beans and rice and found that pickled pork (butt) is an essential ingredient. Is this available to buy anywhere locally? Even the frozen packets that I think you can buy online would be fine for a first try, I guess. I'm willing to make my own if necessary.

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  1. You might give Lord Jeff's in Newmarket a call, although not certain how good they are over the phone (you might need to leave a message, but be persistant). They might have pickled hocks, I think butts would be less likely.

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    1. I say just make it yourself, the "pickle" is really just a brining, and IIRC Alton gives a recipe for this on that show. Moving into preserving meats, or if you prefer, brining or pickling, can change up your larder big time and I think it's worth doing. Can buy the butt at many ethnic and some regular groceries, Whole Foods always has it at a premium price.

      I made this recipe and loved it (I love red beans and rice and will eat it any day of the week!).

      2 Replies
      1. re: Zatan

        I've had good results as a first-timer with both carnitas and pulled pork formed from Somerville Market Basket pork butt offerings. The butt is a great cut of meat! So, in fact I'm quite enthusiastic about giving this a shot.

        1. re: chickendhansak

          Well, it's not "Boston area" but for those who may have been interested, I can now confirm that the pickling is incredibly easy and worked great.

      2. I'd just also throw out - pickled pork really isn't an essential ingredient. I grew up in southern Louisiana and no one in my family ever used it. We used andouille sausage as the meat. I saw that episode of Good Eats and was really surprised about the pickled pork but addition with sausage placed on top. I'm sure that must be how some people make it since it's Alton...

        For the acidic kick that's needed, we usually add hot pepper vinegar as a condiment.

        Good luck with your red beans and rice!

        1. john thorne has a pretty definitive treaty on red beans in his book "serious pig", he explains how to make the pickled pork, but his recipe (which is the best one i have ever found) uses a cracked ham bone ( which is removed at the end and stripped of the remaining meat) and andouille sausage. the book is worth getting, as i am unsure of the rights problems in reproducing recipes here.

          8 Replies
          1. re: hyde

            John Thorne is excellent reading on any (food) topic! You have reminded me that it's been too long since I took one of his books off the shelf and curled up with it...

            1. re: hyde

              <"i am unsure of the rights problems in reproducing recipes here.">

              Hyde:
              Direct copying of recipes is not allowed here but paraphrasing a recipe is acceptable. That's what we do on the COTM threads, and what I did on the Bon Apetit Y'All threads....

              BTW: Isn't ham hock sometimes used in red beans and rice??

              1. re: hyde

                I'm reading Serious Pig right now, thanks to a plug from Karl S. Awesome book, as was Mouth Wide Open. I can't wait to get to the red beans and rice chapter...I've already peeked a few pages ahead. I'd already recommend the book.

                1. re: bear

                  I dug through my collection and found I own four of Thorne's books, but not Serious Pig! I was able to read the entire chapter on Red Beans via Google Books however, and yesterday went off and made the recipe. Yumm.

                  That said, I had a hard time finding even smoked hocks. I tried Whole Foods, no dice (though they sometimes have them) and Shaws (the one on Beacon in Brookline has a pretty poor meat department). Found some at Stop and Shop. they had ham steaks there too, with bone in, but from producers I'd rather not buy from so I skipped that. TJ's Niman Ranch ham steak was my next option.

                  Also, Thorne mentions his hatred of kidney beans, and points to small red beans often found in Louisiana as the ideal for this dish. I did find dried, small red beans at Stop and Shop as well (and canned ones at Shaws), though I had already begun the dish with pintos. Next time....

                  1. re: Zatan

                    Zatan:
                    Karl's Sausage Kitchen on Rte, 1 North in Saugus sells smoked ham hocks.

                    www.karlssausage.com
                    142 Broadway
                    Saugus, MA 01906-1027
                    781-233-3099

                    1. re: Zatan

                      How did you make out with the Niman Ranch ham steak? I bought one from TJ's a couple of years ago, and if I'm remembering correctly it had a pretty strong clove taste, too heavy for us. That might not come through when used as a flavoring in a stewed dish, though.

                      1. re: bear

                        I've gotten it before and enjoyed it (I made a jambon persille out of it), but did not yesterday, I settled on the smoked hock and a couple of andouille that I did get at TJ's (pretty decent tasting).

                        I like the Niman ranch stuff when I can get it because I like their philosophy and farming techniques, glad the local TJ's carries it.

                        Karl's would be a great option but I'm car-less.....

                      2. re: Zatan

                        For ham hocks from an Artesan Southern ham, your choices are probably Savenor's or Formaggio and certainly call first. prosciutto hocks are a bit easier to get (Bob's, J Pace) and Karl's is a good idea. If you are ok with larger producers, as you found S&S has them, I know that the Somerville Demoula's often has them but not from dry cured hams. However, if you want ham hocks including from country ham, red hots, smoked turkey wings (can be used for greens in place of pork)... and a lot of Southern ingredients, Lord Jeff's in Newmarket is worth a visit. They cut country ham to order, but its from larger producers. Stores which sell to Latinos tend to have smoked ham hocks and other parts, the Save-a-Lot in Chelsea for instance has smoked pork jowls.