Sunday, July 10, 2011

Honey, It's Time We Have a Talk About Pork Shoulder

I made pernil today.  Okay, technichally it was yesterday and today but since it was finished today, let's just go with that.

And it was good.

And I promised I would post the recipe.  It doesn't look very pretty when it's ready but it tastes delicious.

And there's nothing sadder than how it looks after some time on the buffet table.

And yes, for those of you with magnifying glasses, that is a little piece of tortilla chip in the middle of the bowl.  Apparently, someone (no names mentioned but you know who you are) thought it would be a good idea to eat it like dip.

I promised I would post the recipe so here it is.

Step 1—Pick out a nice pork shoulder (also often called picnic).  Look for a nice big bone and about half (or more) of it covered with skin.  I have found that if you go to a market that caters to a Hispanic consumer, you’ll get a better roast and a much better price.  This is generally a pretty cheap cut of meat and often goes on sale for as low as 79 or 89 cents a pound. Full retail is generally $1.59 a pound.  If they try to charge you more than that, call the Better Business Bureau.

Step 2—Score the skin at about 1 ½ inch intervals with the sharpest knife you have.  The skin is really tough.  Use your kitchen scissors if you need to.

Step 3—Make a wet rub. 
                1 cup sliced garlic  (Please don’t be silly and slice it yourself.  Buy a jar of sliced garlic and include some of the juice.)
                ¼ cup olive oil
                ¼ cup cider vinegar
                2 tablespoons dry rubbed sage
                1 teaspoon salt
                ½ teaspoon pepper (about 20 grinds)

Dump all of this into the food processor and let it run until you have a really disgusting looking greyish green mess (that's the sage).

Step 4—Put the pork in a bowl that just barely fits it.  Pour the wet rub over it and rib it in.  Roll it around.  Give it some love.  Wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge until it’s almost bedtime.

Step 5—When you’re just about ready to go to bed, peel some onions and slice them about ½ inch thick.  I usually use one big red onion and one big yellow onion.   I can’t tell you how many onions your roast will need, you’ll have to use your own judgment here.    Lay the slices down on the bottom of your roasting pan in a platform big enough to hold your roast.

Step 6—Put the roast on the onions with the side with the most skin up.  Pour any leftover wet rub over the roast and then tightly cover your roasting pan with aluminum foil.  If your pan has a lid, put it on over the foil.  If it doesn’t have a lid, add a second layer of foil.  Turn your oven on to the lowest setting possible.  Mine has a warm setting and then starts at 220 degrees so warm is really 200.  Put the pan in the oven and  go to bed.   I use the warm setting.  (You may also want to make sure you have a good battery in your smoke detector but maybe I’m just a Nervous Nelly.)

Step 7—When you wake up in the morning, you can turn the temp up to 250.  Your house will smell amazing and, if you live in an apartment building, your neighbors will be banging on your door in their pajamas waving torches and clutching knives and forks.  Once the roast has been in for about 10 hours (11:30 bed time, 9:30 uncovering) take the pan out of the oven and remove the lid and the foil.  At this point it should be falling apart.  It will also look grey and gross and you will wonder what the hell you did wrong.  There will also be a lot of liquid in the pan.  Just keep following the directions.    Turn the heat up to 350 and return the uncovered (Naked! Shocking!) roast to the oven to crisp up the skin.   If you have a lot of skin on your roast, you can go as high as 425 with the temperature.

Step 8—After an hour the skin should be gorgeous and you are almost done.  If it takes a little bit longer, that's okay.  Take the roast out of the oven and put it back in that nice tight bowl that you marinated it in.  Pull out the bones and pull the skin off with your fingers.  It will be falling apart.  Use a fork to pull the meat apart (or really--you can just blow on it and it will collapse) and remove as much visible fat as you can.   The skin is actually really really good.  Use a fork to scrape the fat off the back and then tear up the skin and add it back to the meat.  Any skin that is too tough to tear is too tough to eat so throw it in the trash or give it to a really good dog to gnaw on.

Step 9—Last step!  Use a skimmer to pull the onions out of the liquid left in the pan and either eat them, add them to the meat or toss them.   Your choice.  I add them into the meat.  They melt.  Pour the liquid into a measuring cup and let it sit until the fat settles on the top.  Skim off as much fat as you can with a spoon then give it a good stir and pour it over the meat in the bowl. 
You can serve it warm, cold or room temp.  With rolls for sandwiches or rice and beans.  Or salad.  Or add it to black bean soup.    You can even just pop the bowl in the fridge and nibble on it at will.

The best part—it’s even better the next day!  If there's any left.

1 comment:

BadCatDesigns said...

I did not leave that corn chip in the bowl, but I did eat plenty and I loveed every bite!