Monday, August 27, 2012
Roasted Pork with Brine and Rub
I mentioned in a previous post that I plan to make Cuban sandwiches later this week to make use of my Quick Sweet Pickles. Cuban sandwiches typically have roast pork in the sandwiches, along with ham, Swiss cheese, mustard and pickles. I defrosted a couple pork shoulders last night in preparation for today. I am a firm believer in brines for pork, since it can dry out quickly and sometimes be a little flavorless. So, this roasted pork was done a la Alton Brown. This is his recipe for the brine and the rub. The cooking method was done a la Julia Child - a slow, braising in the oven in a bath of chicken broth and sauteed onions. The result is a moist, flavorful, beautiful cut of meat that will really bring the party to my Cuban Sandwiches later this week.
Here's how I did it:
Brine for Pork:
8 ounces or 3/4 cup molasses
12 ounces pickling salt
2 quarts bottled water
6 to 8 pound Boston butt
1. Combine molasses, pickling salt, and water in 6 quart container.
2. Add pork making sure it is completely submerged in brine, cover, and let sit in refrigerator for a minimum of 8 hours. 12 hours is ideal.
Mine brined away happily in the fridge all day while I was at work.
Rub for Pork:
1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
1 teaspoon whole fennel seed
1 teaspoon whole coriander
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1. Put all ingredients in a mortar and pestle (or a spice grinder) and crush until all the seeds are cracked and releasing their goodness.
2. Pull pork out of brine. Dry with paper towels. Pat with rub all over the pork until generously covered.
1 sliced onion
Brined, rubbed pork
Extra virgin olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. Put a heavy bottomed pot on a medium-high burner. (I used a Dutch oven.) When hot, add 1-2 tbs olive oil.
3. Sear the pork on both sides. Remove the pork.
4. Add one sliced onion to the pot. (If you use the rub above, you may need to wash out the pot before adding the onion as some of the spices tend to burn.) Add more olive oil or butter, if needed, to give the onions a quick saute. Add salt and a small amount of thyme. When the onion have just begun to soften, return the pork to the pot. Add enough chicken broth to just come up about 1/3 of the way up the sides of the pork.
5. Knock your heat to high and bring to a boil. When it boils, put the lid on, cut the heat and remove the pot to the lower third of your preheated oven. Braise for 1-2 hours (if you want your meat to fall apart, you could do closer to 2 hours - due to the braising liquid, it's almost impossible to overcook the pork this way; however, if you want your meat to be cut in slices, just cook until the pork is around 160 degrees). Remove from the oven and remove the pork to a platter. Cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 15 minutes.
6. If you wanted slices, like I did, remove the foil, slice to your desired thickness. If you went with the meat that falls apart, return your cooking liquid to the stove on high heat. Mash the onions into the liquid and bring to a boil. Cook until the liquid is reduced in half. Add 1 tbs. butter and stir until sauce is shimmering (30 seconds or so). Serve with pork