Monday, March 10, 2014

But, But…, No. Butt! Pork Butt That Is

Here's March from the Petaluma Post...

I see lots of chicken, too much tri tip and even more pork loin.  If you can’t guess I am always looking for
Pork Shoulder aka Pork Butt
something new and this time that something new is not new at all.  I have fallen in love with pork butt.  Despite its name this cut does not actually come from anywhere near the butt, it is actually the shoulder. Also known as a Boston Butt, it is a very muscled and marbled cut from the upper shoulder.  Being an area that gets lots of use and movement the meat is a darker red color and has a bit more fat and lots more flavor

Most people use it for pulled pork, a great slow cooked dish that can be done in the oven or the crock pot and serve large groups.  We prepare ours in 70 pound batches cooking at a low temperature overnight.  There are tons of recipes from herbs to coca cola. I like to use a dry rub and cook uncovered long and slow.

PSC’s Dry Rub
8 cups Brown Sugar
4 cups Kosher Salt
1 cup Paprika
1 cup Chili Powder
1 cup Black Pepper
1 cup Granulated Garlic
1 cup Granulated Onion
1 cup Italian Seasoning
¼ cup Cayanne

Place a pork butt in a deep baking dish; there will be lots of run off fat to capture.  You can use a bone in or boneless shoulder.  Bone in will add 1 to 2 hours of additional cooking time. Rub well with the dry rub, and place in a 250 degree oven, and allow to cook overnight; about 8 to 9 hours.  To check for doneness, use tongs to twist the meat; it should pull gently apart.  If using the bone in variety, you can twist the shoulder bone, it should come away easily.  Then allow it to cool before pulling the meat to the desired size pieces.

At this point there are all kinds of uses.  For pulled pork sandwiches, dress with your favorite BBQ sauce and serve on a roll and serve with a classic side of slaw.  Or, simmer in a green chili sauce and serve in corn tortillas for fun tacos. Or, look for a great Asian BBQ sauce and serve with steamed rice.

But if 9 hours of cooking is too long for you, it is also great to slice up and cook on the grill.  Using the boneless shoulder, cut the short way across to create steaks (I like about ¾ of an inch thick).  There will be a few pieces that fall away - those are the chefs nibbles.  Rub with the same dry rub, or an Asian five spice, or event just salt and pepper.  Toss on the BBQ and finish with your favorite sauce. The great flavor of boneless pork ribs but at half the cost.

One of my most recent inspirations is a pork roast.  Cut the roast in half lengthwise and then rub with fennel, thyme and sea salt.  Using butchers twine tie it into long logs, then roast in a 350 degree oven for about 1¼ to -1½  hours, to an internal temperature of 145 degrees.  For many years the cooking temp was supposed to be 160 and just last year the USDA lowered the safe temp to 145 degree.  The meat will still have a blush of pink and the juices will not run clear.  I like to pull it at 140 and allow for carry over cooking to 145.  Allow to rest 10 to 15 minutes before carving.  You will never go back to the classic pork loin.  Great carved for a dinner party and just as good for sandwiches the next day.

From pulled pork to the barbeque, take a new look at a classic and be creative.

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