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Donnie Brasco Pork Shoulder





I made this a while back when I was mulling over trying to jump-start the blog. It’s the “Donnie Brasco” Pork Shoulder preperation from the River Cottage Meat Book. Some or none of you may recall that I had lost my senses and inexplicably determined that what would be best for me would be to cook a whole cookbook, like the lot of it, recipe by recipe. That ended in a lot of OOOO like Juila chiding rubbish, but that did no bother me a tall. It was just a lot of work, and I didn’t have the dedication, that’s all. I admit it. But still, I cook a recipe from the Meat Book on occasion, like this one here. This is a whole Pork Shoulder, a beauty from Tails & Trotters, that is meant to be slow cooked in the oven for upwards of 24 hours (which is, to spoil the plot for you, way to effing long.)











I decided to make this one because I developed a particular affixation for pork shoulder after the joy of what was and is the Momofuku Ramen Bowl. That is, I like pork shoulder a lot. Enough to make a 10lb roast of it, at that. This was a breeze so I’ll lay it out for you: You rub it down with this 5 spice and other stuff mixture, then put it in a low, low oven for a long long time. After that, you pull it out and eat it.

I started it before I went to bed.







Flipped it right side up before I left for work. (The first 8 hours is supposed to be skin side down.)







And dug into it when I got home. (In truth, I should have just pulled it and broke off a handful then and there before I left for work. It would have been done at that point. The extra 8 hours just proved to dry out a good thick portion of the outer layer, which should have merely been a nice uniform shell, solid and toothsome, yet edible. As prepared, the outer layer had to be discarded because it had become leather and/or burnt––a disappointment. However, the tough, sinewy interior meat had been transformed into such a luxuriously decadent example of the virtues of slow cooking, that at the time I was happy to over-look the disastrous atrocities inflicted on the outer-regions. But thinking back on it now , if I were more rancorous individual (hardly believable–I will bitter you to death!) I would pen a letter of grievance to the good Hugh demanding reparations, for I hate to see good pig go to waste. Maybe he has a google alert, though, yeah? Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall)



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Rillettes





This one is pretty easy, but it requires a lot of rendered fat, which you could either buy or save up, if you were inclined to make some rillettes. All you have to do is take one pound of pork belly, cut into about 1/3″ slices, and one pound of pork shoulder in 1″ cubes, put it all in a pot, wrap up some thymeand a couple bay leaves in some cheese cloth, warm up the rendered fat until it is liquified, and pour it or the top. Bring it all to a gentle simmer, and then put it into a 250º oven for a long ass time, or 4 to 6 hours.







You’ll know when it’s done because the cuts will be straight falling apart. According to the River Cottage Meat Book, what you want to do at this point is cut up the meat long ways, with the grain, and season as you go. They call for salt, pepper, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and the instructions call for allspice, but I didn’t have that so I used pumpkin spice instead. The idea is to play with the spice levels, until you find the right combination for you.







I know, I know. . . it looks kind of, or, I mean, exactly like tuna fish. But it taste way different! I swear! It’s richer, and perhaps most importnatly for all ya’ll haters out there, there’s not a lick of mayonnaise in it, not one bit! this wasn’t quite the consistency I was going for, but I was in a bit of a hurry, and I think I might have taken directions from Ruhlman’s Charcuterie a bit too far–that is, I put all the meat in my stand-mixer, with about a half-cup of the fat and hit it real hard and long with the paddle attachment. This method kind of beat it down too much for my taste. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s bad, only that the texture should be better, because the flavor is actually amazing. The best way to eat rillettes, to me at least, is on toast, with an incredibly sharp mustard. The cornichons (if you like pickles, and haven’t tried cornichons, you have to try them–they’re so small, but pack such an incredible punch) and greens are optional, but they certainly round out the flavors.







Resources: Pork belly and pork shoulder by tails and trotters, arugala and cornichons purchased from Pastaworks; french baguette from little t bakery; mustard by Beaver Brand.

Link to Recipe only blog: Catastrophysicist Cooks