I read the Foodie With Family blog faithfully (really, love her!), and last week she posted this about Bo Ssäm (Korean Pork Roast Lettuce Wraps). It looked so luscious, and I’m all about the putting the meat on at a low temperature and letting it cook all day thing*, so I was hooked. I’ve also been thinking lately that I need to branch out from my usual pork meals:
- Grilled pork chops
- Smothered pork chops
- Pork loin roast
They’re good, mind you. In fact, the pork loin roast is practically heaven on earth when it’s cooked slowly, and the source of some pretty good pulled pork the next day. It’s just that they’ve become The Usual, and not all that interesting. I wanted something new.
I also had, once upon a time, a most delectable piece of pork at Smith & Wollensky (I think it was the one in Las Vegas). It was their Crackling Pork Shank, and it looked like a whole roast, served on a plate in front of just me. It was tender, flavorful and succulent.
I wanted to make something like that. So I looked for a pork shoulder at the grocery store.
By the greatest coincidence, Kroger had them on sale this past week for $1.49 a pound. That’s not outrageously cheap, judging from the price Foodie with Family Rebecca pays, but it’s pretty good. I cooked a 7+ lb roast for less than $11, and that’s going to end up being four meals for the two of us. I sprinkled it with sage, thyme, garlic powder, onion granules, fresh rosemary, salt and pepper, and rubbed it all in. I had planned on cooking it right then, but I realized that time had kind of gotten away from me, so I had to postpone it a day. Which meant, of course, that it sat in the fridge overnight, tightly covered, absorbing the herb flavors and getting better and better. I cooked it the next day, at 300°F, covered for about five hours, then uncovered for about another hour or so, until the internal temperature reached 190°. Then I let it rest while the kugel baked.**
I would have taken pictures of it, but after smelling it cooking for several hours I didn’t have that kind of time.
It was so good, I can’t even explain. This was without the Bo Ssäm crispy sweet-and-salty crust, just the crisped-up layer of fat and the flavorful juices. It was pull-apart tender, and so very, very good that we stuffed ourselves, then sliced off a few pieces for sandwiches. I’ll be pulling the rest of it apart in a few minutes to make pulled-pork sandwiches tonight. I make the post-pork-loin variety of pulled pork by simmering it in barbeque sauce, but with this I think I’ll just reduce the pan drippings and see what happens. Something good, I’ll wager.
Incidentally, Foodie with Family also has several informative entries (see, I really do read it faithfully) about grinding up pork shoulder, and using the resulting ground pork to make Italian sausage (nice enough to have around) and chorizo (one of the staples of life). Yes, you can buy ground pork, but this is $1.49 a pound. Plus I know for sure and certain exactly what’s gone into it.
I went back to Kroger and bought three more of the shoulders. I’ll let you know how it goes.
*Ever since I saw Adelle Davis on the Tonight Show, or some such thing, when I was a teenager, all the way to this very day. That’s another story, and it’s a little bit interesting. Remind me to tell you sometime.
**FYI, the rest of the menu was my own variation on Kugel von Túrós csusza, Alton Brown’s 10 Minute Apple Sauce, and sauerkraut (not homemade, but I have plans in that direction). It was good!