Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Pulled Pork Two Ways

Who doesn't love Pork? Okay a few people including my fiance. We love it, don't we. We love sweet smoky pork, but doing the same thing over and over becomes familiar. Familiar can be good like a cool vanilla ice cream on a warm day, but new can be exciting like the first time you had Ben & Jerry's. Sometimes you just need inspiration to get you out of your rut. I found my inspiration in a disappointing sandwich, But that's a story for after the break.

(please read more after the break.)

So there I was out for lunch at a new place that serves signature sandwiches. I looked over the menu and eventually cast my discerning gaze upon a Cuban sandwich. Slow cooked pork, house made pickles, and fresh bread. We we're close to what a Cuban sandwich should be. When it came to the table I was confused. No mustard, no ham, how much more could you screw this up? It wasn't sweet or savory because the flavors weren't bold.

I know myself and believed that I could do it with a little research. For me the thing about sandwich craft is that as long as you keep the ingredients simple then the execution is easy. If your sandwich relies on some sort of special truffle slaw, or pickled cuttlefish filet then you're going to have trouble executing it every single time. However if your ingredients are brown mustard, and sweet ham...You can pick those up at any grocer.

So what is a Cuban sandwich? A soft white baguette, pork, sweet ham, swiss cheese, pickles and mustard.

I needed dynamite pork for this recipe. So I called up my old friend Google. Google turned me onto the movie Chef and this recipe. The recipe is a pork butt dressed in an amazing green mojo marinade. 

So the pork came out succulent. It had all of the flavors that you'd expect it to have. The mint was real, and the coriander was prominent. The citrus came through in the aroma and in the bark of the pork. It laid the foundation for a flavorful sandwich. The sandwich was comprised of all it's individual parts but the pickles created a great texture for the bite, and the pork created a great texture for the chew. 

I'd recommend making one for yourself, and maybe some friends.

Pulled Pork Again

I had purchased an 8 pound butt for a recipe that only called for a 4 pound butt. This left me with another 4 pound butt after butchery. My thinking was that this was a bonus butt after the mojo pork turned out amazingly. I had a chance to test one of my long held ideas: that pulled pork with a spice rub to compliment the Asian BBQ sauce from my earlier posts would be that next level BBQ.

A visual of the sauce
What spices are undeniably Asian? Five Spice powder is one. In college I found a fried spare rib recipe that had a simple spice rub, Five Spice powder, salt and pepper. These ribs brought the spice and had great aromatics. So I looked up that recipe and applied it to my pork butt.

I eye balled a good mix of Five Spice, salt, and pepper. If I had to guess I'd say 3:1:1 as a ratio. I used about three tablespoons total.

I reproduced the BBQ sauce from my previous attempt. I switched out the Sriracha for Sambal Oelek. This was much more authentic to the Zing sauce that inspired it.

The sandwich was good even though the pork was a little dry. The spice rubs aromatics carried through to the pork and the sauce had a sweet heat that was nice in my mouth and for minutes after. This was a solid effort but wasn't a transformational experience for me as sad as that is.

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