Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pork shoulder in cider brine

Way, way back in October Lakeside, the lesser of our 2.5 grocery stores, had a huge meat sale. Loving meat sales the way I do, I bought a large slab of pork loin plus other porky goodness. Rummaging around the freezer (we got a new one for free!) I unearthed the last little bit of oinky goodness. I tend to be a one trick pony when I find a recipe that works and can reasonably be done during the week between my actual job and the house job. This pork is one shining star for me.

I got the recipe from a Bon Appetite cookbook but always modify it. The only thing I really keep is the cider:salt ratio. Anyway, take 4 cups of cider, 3 T kosher salt, a few whole herbs/spices (I love clove and bay leaves) bring it to a boil, then let it cool. Just stick your pork in a non-reactive bowl and cover it with the brine. For a shoulder I let it sit for about 2 days, but 1 works for chops or something more delicate like a loin.

I then wilted some leeks and shallots in a dutch oven, seared the shoulder, and baked it at 350, covered for a couple of hours. I had to deglaze the pot with some leftover brine so that the leeks would char too terribly. I would have made gravy with the brine but since I had to clean the house in preparation for a contractor there was no gravy. It was super tender and the fat had that perfect crispness that is the only reason to eat pork.

It's not really special but it keeps me going during these long days of drudgery. Having salty-cider pork is really a highlight right now when the low lights are dealing with unhelpful people at Lowes, trying to find anybody to ship a towel dryer via USPS, and breathing drywall dust. Later this weekend...Ima bake some bread.


  1. Sounds yummy!

    I like crockpot pork, and being the lazy unskilled chef I am, I have 2 tricks.

    Brown pork, and open glass jar of sauerkraut. Dump contents on top, cook in crockpot on high 4 hours or low 8-10 hours. You can toss in some potatoes and carrots underneath too. For my non-sauerkraut eating husband, I wrap a potato in foil and he gets a pseudo-baked potato.

    Other option: brown pork, open can of crushed pineapple, dump in cook same way. Puree drippings in blender after for gravy. Yum!

    I'll have to try your recipe too.

  2. Sanding drywall sucks right up there with insulation.

    That's quite some view you have there.

    My kitchen is done! Neener neener.

  3. The bread dough takes about 8 minutes to make! Let me know how you like it! mawwwwwwwwww