Loading...

Follow The Cook's Digest on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

We cooked some pulled pork at the weekend, and had leftovers. Yes, I know, leftover pulled pork, how is this possible? Well there’s only two of us (along with three mainecoon cats) and I did cook a lot of pork. I recently saw a recipe for cheesey nachos with leftover smoked brisket, so emulated that … including the crispy bacon bits which, according to my wife, sealed the deal!

Find out how to take the standard nacho snack up a few notches with this simple recipe.

Pulled Pork Cheese Nachos
Time
5 mins prep
25-30 mins cook
Difficulty
Easy
Servings
4 servings
Serve with
Salsa and sour cream dips
Wine match
Pinotage, e.g. Spice Route
Smoke Infusion

This dish is made using shredded and chopped pulled pork leftovers. I cooked a pork shoulder (butt) last weekend, smoking it over hickory (see this blog post for details). For the nachos, I smoked them in our Big Green Egg. If you don’t have one, the method below can be used to cook in a conventional oven, just skip the smoking aspect.

Equipment
  • Oven proof pan/skillet
  • Cheese grater
  • Frying pan
  • Kitchen scissors

I used a 12 inch Lodge cast iron pan without handles.

Ingredients
  • Couple of handfuls of pulled pork
  • 400g shredded cheese
  • 4 rashers bacon
  • 200g nacho/tortilla chips
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Hickory smoking chunk (optional)

For the shredded cheese, I used 300g mozarella and 100g smoked cheddar. I smoked the cheddar at home using this simple technique. It can also be purchased from supermarkets and cheese mongers.

Choosing the nacho/tortilla chips and BBQ sauce is down to personal taste. I used Marks and Spencer Cool Tortilla chips as they have good crunch, very little salt, and I wanted the flavour of the dish to come from the pulled pork, cheese and BBQ sauce. As for that, I used Bart’s Kansas City style BBQ sauce, it’s got some great flavours.

Method
Credit where it’s due on this recipe, thanks to Nathan for the inspirational brisket nachos!
  1. Pre-heat the oven or Big Green Egg (indirect setup) to 170°C/340°F. If cooking in an Egg and using a smoking chunk, once the coals are glowing and the Egg’s temperature is stable, toss on the chunk and wait for the thin blue line of smoke.
  2. Whilst the oven/Egg is heating up, fry the bacon until crispy and set aside.
  3. Place half of the nachos into the pan. Layer on some cheese, then pulled pork and finally some BBQ sauce.
  4. Repeat the step above to create a second layer. Top that layer with chopped crispy bacon.
  5. When the oven/egg is at temperature, place the loaded pan inside. Cook for 25-30 mins, until the cheese is melted.
  6. Serve with salsa and sour cream sides. A rich Pinotage is a perfect compliment.

Hints, Tips and Pictures
  1. If the pulled pork has become dried out prior to cooking this dish, spray it with a 50:50 mixture of water and apple cider vinegar. The latter also imparts some extra flavour.

+

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

A cracking start to the new year, as The Cooks Digest gets back to its roots of cooking a life less ordinary. Throughout 2019 we endeavour to try brand new ideas with each post. To commence the series, a new cut of meat served with a far eastern style flair … Asian-style pork leg steak.

Asian-Style Pork Leg Steak
Time
10-15 mins prep
1.5 – 2 hour cook
Difficulty
Easy
Servings
4 servings
Serve with
Pak choi
Wine match
Smoking Loon Viognier
Pork Leg Steaks – Rich, Meaty and Great Value!

Another new cut of meat from the team at Sherwood Foods, sourced via Riverside Garden Centre. This is the best value pork cut I’ve found, and the meat was incredibly tasty. The 2kg leg steak was enough to serve four people and have leftovers for the cats. The cut comes from the foreleg of the pig and is about an inch thick, and quite wide.

In the method below, I present options for cooking in a conventional kitchen oven and smoker such as a Big Green Egg. They are virtually identical and give the same excellent result, cooking in the Egg allowed me to add some apple wood smoke flavours.

I also give two options for the finish – a sear to crisp up the outer coating (whilst leaving the meat lovely and moist) or cutting up and stir frying. I’ve tried both, prefer the latter approach.

Equipment
  • Large sharp knife
  • Chopping board
  • Pastry brush
  • Small bowl
  • Roasting rack and tray (if cooking in an oven)
  • Wok (if stir frying at the end)
Ingredients
  • 1 x 2kg pork leg steak
  • Dizzy Pig Peking rub (see below)
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 garlic glove, crushed
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 4 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2-3 tsp light soy sauce
  • 2-3 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seed oil
  • 1 cherry smoking chunk (optional)
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (garnish, optional)
  • 1 tbsp chopped spring onion stalks (garnish, optional)

If you don’t have Dizzy Pig Peking rub available, Chinese five spice could also work. The rub is available from BBQ Gourmet in the UK.

Method

This will cook the pork to a medium finish. If you prefer well done, cook for an extra 15 mins at each stage.

Preparation and Cooking
  1. Remove any out fat and skin from the pork leg steak. Pat it dry with kitchen towel, then apply the Peking rub liberally to both sides. Set aside somewhere the cats won’t find it.
  2. Heat the oven or Big Green Egg (indirect setup) to 135°C/275°F. If using an Egg, when the coals are glowing and the temperature is stable, toss on a cherry smoking chunk and wait for the thin blue line of smoke.
  3. Place the pork leg steak on a rack over a roasting tray (oven) or onto the stainless steel grid (Egg). Cook the leg steak for 45 mins, or until the internal temperature is 27°C/80°F. Meanwhile, combine the ginger, honey, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sesame seed oil and 1 tsp of Peking rub in a bowl.
  4. After 45 mins cooking, pour half of the sauce over the pork leg steak, using a pastry brush to distribute it evenly. Continue to cook for another 45 mins or until the internal temperature is 63°C/145°F.

Ensure that the pork is cooked to your preferred level. Now you have a choice of how to finish off the meal for your dinner guests.

The Finish – Sear and Slice
  1. Remove the pork leg steak from the oven or Egg, wrap it in kitchen foil and a towel to keep it warm.
  2. If using an Egg, remove the platesetter and place the stainless steel grid back. Raise the temperature of the Egg to 280°C/550°F. Unwrap the pork leg steak and sear on all sides over the live flame.
  3. If cooking in an oven, heat up some oil in a cask iron skillet to a very high temperature and sear the leg steak on all sides.
  4. Slice and serve with fresh vegetables.
The Finish – Cut and Stir Fry
  1. Cut the cooked pork up into cubes and flash fry them in a very hot wok with some groundnut oil, adding the extra sauce to glaze the cubes.
  2. Garnish the pork cubes with toasted sesame seeds and chopped spring onion stalks.
  3. Serve with pak choi, mushrooms and beansprouts.

Hints and Tips
  1. A pork leg steak is enough for two meals for two people, how about trying sliced pork one day and stir fry the next?
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Earlier in the year, I made apricot preserve pork breast ribs, smoked over orange wood chunks. A reader suggested a similar recipe with peach preserve and smoking chunks. Sounded like a good idea, and the reader, very generously, sent me some peach wood chunks from the USA. He was bang on the money, the peach smoked and glazed St. Louis ribs were amazing!

Peach Smoked and Glazed St. Louis Ribs
Time
10 mins prep
6 hours cook
Difficulty
Easy
Servings
4-6 servings
Wine match
Vacqueyras, Gigondas
What are St. Louis Ribs? Why Peach Smoke?

The St. Louis ribs cut, or to give it a more accurate title St. Louis-style ribs, are spare ribs that have been cut to be a regular, rectangular shape. This is achieved by removing the sternum bone, cartilage and rib tips, leaving a rectangular-shaped rack. It is synonymous with the city of St. Louis, which has been cited as consuming more barbecue sauce per capita than any other city in the USA. Some butchers will cut ribs in this particular style. I sourced the ribs in this blog post from Riverside Garden Centre, who sell the Sherwood Foods meat range.

As for the peach smoke, this was a recommendation from Ron, who hails from the Yukon. I posted a recipe for apricot and maple syrup pork breast ribs a while ago. Ron read it and suggested peach could give a superior flavour to the orange smoke I used. He was absolutely right, this was my first experience at smoking with peach wood and it won’t be the last. The peach wood gives off more intense aromatic smoke, both in terms of the fruit and also the wood notes. A real winner.

Equipment

I cooked these in our Big Green Egg as I was smoking the meat. This could probably be cooked in an oven using the same temperature settings, ensuring that the oven’s fan is turned off to avoid drying out the meat. In addition you’ll need:

  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board
  • Drip tray (or roasting dish)
  • Kitchen foil
  • Small saucepan
  • Pastry brush
  • Hand-held blender
  • Toothpick
Ingredients For the pork
  • 1 full St. Louis cut rib rack
  • 50ml cider vinegar
  • 2 peach smoking chunks
  • 3-4 tbsp Dizzy Pig Dizzy Dust rub
For the glaze and sauce
  • 3 tbsp apricot preserve
  • 3 tbsp apricot compote
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp ground paprika
  • Pinch of salt
Method
  1. Pre-heat the oven or Big Green Egg (indirect setup) to 125°C/250°F. If using an Egg, when the coals are glowing and the temperature is stable, toss on a couple of peach smoking chunks and wait for the thin blue line of smoke.
  2. Remove any membrane from the base of the ribs (see hints and tips section below). Sprinkle Dizzy Pig Dizzy Dust over the top layer and pat it down.
  3. Place a drip tray on the platesetter, then add the grid and place the ribs (meat side up) onto the grid. Close the lid and cook/smoke for 3 hours.
  4. Place a large piece of kitchen foil on a table, big enough to wrap up the ribs. Fold up the edges a little and pour in the cider vinegar. Then carefully burp and open the Egg, remove the ribs and place them on the kitchen foil. Wrap the ribs inside the foil tightly.
  5. Return the wrapped ribs to the Egg, cook for another 2 hours. Meanwhile, make the sauce by combining all of the sauce ingredients into a small saucepan and warm over a low heat. Use a hand blender to break down the larger peach chunks to form a smooth BBQ sauce.
  6. Carefully remove the wrapped ribs from the Egg and remove the kitchen foil, there will be hot liquid inside. With a pastry brush, coat the ribs with the peach BBQ sauce. Place the ribs directly on the grid above the drip pan, close the Egg’s lid and cook for 30 mins.
  7. Open the Egg and slide a toothpick into the ribs in between two of the bones. If it slides in with little to no resistance, the ribs are done. Otherwise, cook for another 10-15 mins and try again.
  8. When the ribs are done, remove the rack from the Egg. Slice the ribs and serve with sides.

Hints, Tips and Pictures
  1. If the BBQ sauce is a bit runny, add in some plain flour mixed with a little water to thicken it up.
  2. This video clip shows how to remove membrane from the ribs:
    Easy BBQ Rib Skin Removal Trick - YouTube
  3. Leftovers can be heated up in an oven at 160°C until the IT is 63°C/145°F. When I did this, it also gave a lovely sticky texture to the sauce on top.
  4. This can also work on meaty baby back and spare ribs.
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

I’ve had tomahawk steak in the past, the classic cut of bone-on beef resembling the weapon of the American Indian people. But tomapork steaks? That was a new one on me, and came into the “gotta try this” category. Slow roasted and served with buttery potatoes and green cabbage, this make for a fantastic meal with an impressive centrepiece.

Tomapork Steaks
Time
5 mins preparation
2-3 hours cook
Difficulty
Easy
Servings
4-6 servings
Serve with
Buttery potatoes
Green cabbage
Wine match
Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir

 

Does Roasting On The Bone Make a Difference?

A question I had about tomahawk (and tomapork) steaks is why leave the bone on? Does the bone impart some extra flavour or texture to the dish, or is it purely for presentation purposes?

There’s an excellent chapter in The Food Lab that covers this (it’s also available at their website). If I had one book to take on a desert island it would be this. In the case of roasting on the bone, the team took four ribs of beef and cooked them in various ways. The outcome was that the bones impart no discernible extra flavour, however removing them completely led to the meat where the bones were being slightly tough. So the conclusion was that it’s for presentation only.

In the approach below, I slow roasted the meat before a sear at the end (the classic reverse sear). I did this to get some smoke flavours into the dish. If you’re pressed for time, an alternative, and much quicker, way to cook these is to slice the rack into individual ribs and sear them in a pan or over direct flame on a BBQ.

Equipment
  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board
  • Roasting tray
  • Kitchen foil
  • Kitchen thermometer (or equivalent)

Using a meat thermometer is highly recommend for this recipe.

Ingredients
  • Five blade tomapork rack
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Apple wood smoking chunk
  • Seasoning rub (optional)

The tomapork rack came from Riverside Garden Centre, who sell the Sherwood Foods meat range. For the seasoning rub, I used Dizzy Pig Tsunami Spin rub. This goes so well with pretty much any pork dish, I highly recommend it. If this isn’t available, a simple black pepper rub will suffice.

Method
  1. The previous night, pat the pork dry with kitchen towel. With a sharp knife, carefully remove most of the fat cap, leaving ¼ to ⅛ inch on. Lightly sprinkle salt over the shoulder, put it on a plate in the fridge overnight.
  2. When ready to cook, take the pork out of the fridge and apply the seasoning rub all over it.
  3. Light the Big Green Egg (indirect setup) and get it to 135°C/275°F, placing a roasting tray on the platesetter. When the temperature is stable and the coals are glowing, toss on the apple wood smoking chunk.
  4. Place the tomapork rack onto the stainless steel grid. Close the lid and cook for 2.5-3 hours, or until the internal temperature of the meat is 65°C/150°F.
  5. Remove the rack from the Egg. Wrap the exposes bones tightly with kitchen foil, then double-wrap the whole rack with more kitchen foil and then a towel. Rest for 20 minutes. With great care, and using heat resistant gloves, remove the platesetter from the Egg for direct cooking/searing. In this time, the veg can be prepared and the Egg bought up to searing temperature (around 280°C/550°F).
  6. Unwrap the tomapork rack, leaving the kitchen foil on the bones. Sear for 30 secs each side to crisp up the edges. Slice and serve with buttery mashed potato and green cabbage.

Hints and Tips
  1. Always use heat resistant gloves when removing hot ceramics from the Egg. I use Extreme Heat BBQ Grill Gloves. They can withstand the heat of a Egg running at such a high temperature.
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

With the cold winter nights once again upon us, it’s time to focus on some warm, hearty meals to provide sustenance to both body and soul. We kick off with delicious braised pig cheeks served with a rich red wine sauce. This makes use of a tasty, low-cost and often overlooked cut of meat to deliver a fabulous meal for all the family.

Braised Pig Cheeks
Time
20 mins prep
4-5 hours cook
Difficulty
Easy
Servings
4-6 servings
Serve with
Mashed potato
Green cabbage
Wine match
Te Kairanga Runholder Pinot Noir
Sourcing Pig Cheeks

Pig cheeks can be difficult to obtain, as they are a seldom-used cut of meat, which normally means they are low-cost. This is probably because they are very tough, and need a long, slow braising cook to get the most out of them. Done right, they can be delicious. Ask the butcher in your local supermarket or high street. As with many of the other interesting cuts of meat you’ll find in this blog, the pig cheeks came from Turner and George (no commercial connection).

In the method below, I present options for cooking in a conventional kitchen oven and smoker such as a Big Green Egg. I used our Egg to get some smoke flavours into the meat, it turns out just fine in a conventional kitchen though.

Equipment
  • Large casserole dish with lid
  • Chopping board
  • Sharp knives
  • Fat separator
  • Small saucepan
Ingredients
  • 1 kg pig cheeks
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 parsnip
  • 3-4 smoked garlic cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 strips orange peel
  • 75cl Rioja/Tempranillo (see below)
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Plain flour
  • Small apple smoking chunk (optional)

This dish has a distinct, rustic flavour and character to it. I’ve found that a Rioja or Old World Tempranillo can accentuate these flavours, lifting the meal and impressing dinner guests.

Method
  1. Pre-heat the oven or Big Green Egg (indirect setup) to 135°C/275°F. If using an Egg, optionally toss on an apple wood smoking chunk when the coals are glowing and the temperature is stable.
  2. Finely chop the carrots, parsnips, onions and celery. Crush the garlic gloves.
  3. Season the pig cheeks with salt and pepper. Heat some olive oil over a medium heat in the casserole dish, then add the pig cheeks and brown them all over. Remove and set aside.
  4. Add the prepared carrots, parsnips, onions, celery, orange peel strips and garlic to the casserole dish. Cook them until slightly soft.
  5. Return the pigs cheeks to the casserole dish, mixing them in with the vegetables. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 2 mins, then add the thyme sprigs. Add the bay leaves and red wine, then enough water to just cover the contents.
  6. Put a lid on the casserole dish and place it into the oven or Egg.
    • If using an apple smoking chunk in an Egg, leave the lid off for the first hour to get a hint of smoke into the dish. Then return the lid to the casserole dish, adding a little more water and/or red wine if necessary.
  7. After two hours, taste the sauce and add a pinch more salt and pepper if needed.
  8. Leave in the oven or Egg until the cheeks are tender, this takes another 2-3 hours.
  9. Discard the thyme sprigs, bay leaves and orange peel. Strain the gravy through a separator to remove the fat. Heat the gravy in a small pan, using a little plain flour to thicken.
  10. Serve with mashed potato and cabbage. I prefer savoy cabbage with this dish.

Hints and Tips
  1. The flavours can be better the following day as they have had time to integrate into the dish. This is especially true when smoking in the Egg.
  2. Add some chopped smoked bacon into the dish when initially browning the pig cheeks for even more flavour.
  3. In one incantation of this dish, and this is in some of the photographs are above, I added some quartered new potatoes into the casserole dish. This is purely optional, depends on whether you’re serving with potatoes as a side dish or not.
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Another one of those “that’s a new one on me” blog posts. Pork riblets are a small, meaty rack of unevenly cut pork ribs, a perfect size for a single serving. They are incredibly tasty, and normally great value. Cooked low and slow, with a spicy, warm basting sauce made by my wife, we present some delicious pork riblets with chipotle sauce.

Pork Riblets with Chipotle Sauce
Time
5-10 mins prep
5 hours cook
Difficulty
Easy
Servings
4 servings
Serve with
Sweet Thai chili and turmeric rice
Wine match
Syrah
What Are Pork Riblets?

Pork riblets look like a narrow rack of three ribs. I had a great conversation about them with Gregg Harrison at Sherwood Foods, where the riblets originated (I sourced them from Riverside Garden Centre). He explained that they are cut from the shoulder, near the neck. They are irregularly shaped, so don’t make a great cut for separating into evenly sized ribs. However, they are a perfect size cooked as a whole for a main course. The meat on them is quite thick, which gives rise to slightly different textures and tastes in the ribs.

In the method below, I present options for cooking in a conventional kitchen oven and smoker such as a Big Green Egg. If you’ve cooked spare ribs or baby back ribs using a low and slow method, this is almost identical.

Equipment
  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board
  • Measuring spoons
  • Small bowl
  • Kitchen towel
  • Kitchen foil
  • Roasting rack and tray (oven cooking)
Ingredients
Pork
  • 4 pork riblets
  • 4 tbsp seasoning (see below)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Rice vinegar
  • Shaoxing rice wine
  • Cherry smoking chunk (optional)
Sauce
  • 35g tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ½-2 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1-3 tsp chipotle sauce
  • 2-3 tsp seasoning (see below)

For the seasoning, I used Dizzy Pig Peking rub. If you don’t have this available, use Chinese 5 spice mixed with a little onion powder. Or leave the rub component out of the dish.

Tamarind is very potent, especially in paste form (as one of my readers recently discovered). Chipotle sauce the same. If you’re not used to these flavours, they could overwhelm the sauce and ruin the dish. Add a small amount and taste, then add more to increase the depth of flavour to suit.

Method
  1. Unwrap the pork riblets, pat them dry with kitchen towel. Remove membrane from the back of the ribs with a sharp knife. Sprinkle salt on the top of the riblets, and then coat with the rub (if being used).
  2. Pre-heat the oven or Big Green Egg (indirect setup) to 125°C/250°F. If using a smoking chunk, toss it onto the coals when they are glowing and wait for the thin blue line of smoke.
  3. When the oven or Egg are at temperature, place the riblets inside on a cooking rack. If using an oven, suspend this over a roasting tray. Cook for 2 hours.
  4. Remove the riblets from the oven or Egg. Place a piece of kitchen foil large enough to encase a riblet on a worksurface. Curl up the edges of the foil, pour 1 tsp rice wine and 1 tsp rice vinegar onto it. Add the riblet and wrap it in the kitchen foil. Repeat for the remaining riblets.
  5. Return the wrapped riblets to the oven or Egg. Cook for another 2 hours. Meanwhile, combine all of the sauce ingredients into a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Add enough water to give the consistency of double cream, around 30ml.
  6. Remove the riblets from the oven or Egg. Carefully unwrap them, there will be hot liquid inside the foil. Apply sauce to the top of each riblet, then return to the oven or Egg. Cook unwrapped for up to an hour.
  7. Remove the riblets, carve them and serve. I garnish mine with toasted sesame seeds. Leftover sauce can be heated up and poured over the ribs, or used for dipping.

Hints, Tips and Pictures
  1. During the last hour, check every 15 mins to see if more marinade is needed (sometimes they can dry out), or the ribs are done. I normally go for 40-45 minutes to get the desired effect with the sauce.
  2. This video clip shows how to remove membrane from the ribs:
    Easy BBQ Rib Skin Removal Trick - YouTube

 

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Along with brisket and ribs, pulled pork is a classic “rite of passage” meal every BBQ owner (including me) aspires to create. And, eventually, excel at. It takes time and patience, but done right the reward is some of the most amazing pork I’ve tasted.

Find out how to make some great pulled pork with this simple recipe.

Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork
Time
10 mins prep
8-12+ hours cook
Difficulty
Easy
Servings
8-10 servings
Serve with
Mac ‘n’ cheese
Wine match
Right bank Bordeaux, Chianti
A Classic Kamado BBQ Cook

Pulled pork is made by cooking a pork shoulder at a low temperature (110°C/225°F) for a long time, several hours, and then shredding it. The Texas Crutch technique speeds this up, shaving a couple of hours off the cook. It involves wrapping the pork in kitchen foil at a specific point. Detractors claim this reduces the awesomeness of the bark (outer coating of the meat). I used this method, removing the wrapping early to crisp up the bark.

I made the pulled pork with our Big Green Egg kamado-style ceramic cooker/smoker. Being able to cook great low ‘n’ slow smoked meats is one of the reasons that I purchased the Egg (another being pizza). This style of cook is something that makes ceramic cookers stand out from what can be achieved in a kitchen.

Don’t have a kamado cooker or smoker? You can cook pulled pork using a pressure cooker or conventional oven. In this blog post I focus on what I view as the most effective way to get authentic smoke flavours into the meat.

Shredding pork shoulder with bear claws - YouTube

Equipment
  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board
  • Kitchen towel
  • Measuring spoons
  • Drip tray
  • Bear claws
  • Kitchen foil
  • Kitchen thermometer (or equivalent)
  • Meat lifters (optional)

Using a meat thermometer is essential for this recipe, to know when the stall occurs.

Ingredients
  • 2.5kg / half  pork shoulder (also known as Boston Butt)
  • 3 tbsp BBQ rub (see below)
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2-3 hickory smoking chunks
  • Apple vinegar
  • Soft white or brioche buns and BBQ sauce (to serve)

Boston butt (or pork butt) is the American name for a cut of pork that comes from the upper part of the shoulder from the front leg. It sometimes contains the blade bone (ours didn’t). Ask your butcher if they can cut this for you. I sourced mine from Riverside Garden Centre, who sell the Sherwood Foods meat range.

For the BBQ rub, I used 2 tbsp of Dizzy Pig Dizzy Dust rub (coarse ground) and 1 tbsp Dizzy Pig Crossroads rub. I like the intense flavours of the latter rub.

Method
  1. The previous night, pat the pork dry with kitchen towel. With a sharp knife, carefully remove most of the fat cap, leaving ¼ to ⅛ inch on. Lightly sprinkle salt over the shoulder, put it on a plate in the fridge overnight.
  2. In the early morning (I started at 7am), take the pork out of the fridge and apply the BBQ rub all over it.
  3. Light the Big Green Egg (indirect setup) and get it to 110°C/225°F. When the temperature is stable and the coals are glowing, toss on the hickory smoking chunks.
  4. Place a drip tray on the platesetter, add the grid and put the pork shoulder on the grid. Insert the temperature probe, close the Egg’s lid. Go do some gardening, play with the cats, you’ve got a lot of time on your hands.
  5. Every hour or so, check the temperature of the Egg to ensure that it’s still around 110°C/225°F. Or use a temperature controller (see hints and tips below).
  6. When the meat temperature gets to 65°C/150°F, it will stall. This happens around 5-7 hours after putting the meat into the Egg. Remove the shoulder from the Egg, and wrap it in kitchen foil (the Texas Crutch), adding a little apple vinegar. Put the wrapped shoulder back into the Egg. Keep cooking until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 85°C/185°F. This can take another 2-4 hours.
  7. Remove the pork shoulder from the Egg and carefully unwrap it, there will be hot juices inside. Place the unwrapped pork back onto the grid and cook until the internal temperature is 88°C/195°F. This takes up to an hour.
  8. At this point the shoulder could be ready. Poke the shoulder with your finger, if it is quite wobbly, it’s ready. If not, keep cooking, it could take up to 96°C/205°F before it’s ready.
  9. Remove the pork from the Egg, and let it rest for 15-20 mins. Then shred it apart with a pair of bear claws, as per the video above.
  10. Serve with some BBQ sauce in a bun. The choice of  bun depends on the style of BBQ sauce. For a sweet BBQ sauce, I use standard soft white buns, as using brioche buns can clash with the sweetness in the sauce. For a different style of BBQ sauce, brioche buns are a good choice.

Hints, Tips and Pictures
  1. The pork can be mixed with the sauce and heated in a frying pan, then with some cheese added, covered with a dome (top right of the picture) for a couple of minutes to melt the cheese. Spritz with a bit of water to keep the meat moist.
  2. There are temperature controllers, such as Flameboss units, that can monitor the Egg and adjust the bottom grate to ensure a constant temperature. This can be very useful if you’re working during the day or cooking overnight. I’ve not used one of these, I prefer the hands on approach. Also, with the charcoal I use (Green Olive), I find once the temperature has stabilised, it remains steady for hours.
  3. I used meat lifters to get the meat in and out of the Egg. I find them much easier than using a big spatula. The picture below shows me using them to maneuver chicken.
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Traditionally cooked over hot coals as street food on the hectic byways of cities such as Hanoi and Saigon, Vietnamese lemongrass pork (or thit heo nuong xa) is one of the easiest and tastiest classic Vietnamese recipes to replicate in your own home kitchen.  It’s a great way to experience some authentic, flavoursome food of this exotic country.

Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork
Time
10 mins prep
up to 24 hours marinate
30 mins cook
Difficulty
Easy
Servings
4 servings
Serve with
Sweet Thai chili and turmeric rice
Wine match
Newton Johnson Pinot Noir
Releasing The Flavours

I used a pestle and mortar to make the base for the marinade. I find this is better than using a food processor or blender for this type of meal because I want to have all of the aromatics released, and crushing the ingredients ensures this. If you don’t have one available, you can use a hand blender, but I recommend getting a pestle and mortar, it does make a positive difference.

In the method below, I present cooking options for both standard grill ovens and charcoal BBQ.

Equipment
  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board
  • Measuring spoons
  • Pestle and mortar (or hand blender)
  • Small bowl
  • Pastry brush
  • Large sealable container
Ingredients
  • 4 pork chops or loin steaks
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 2 small shallot
  • 4-5 tbsp chopped lemongrass (see below)
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oil, preferably groundnut
  • 1-4 tsp fish sauce (see below)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Pinch salt
  • Coriander and green scallion stalks (garnish)

Fish sauce is an acquired taste. If you’re not used to it, try 1 tsp and see how you like it. I cook with 1 tsp, that’s enough for our tastes. Lemongrass paste can also be used, this is stronger than chopped lemongrass, so use 2-4 tbsp, depending on the strength of flavour you’re looking for.

Method Preparation
  1. Crush the garlic gloves, chop the shallot into ring sections, extract the lemongrass from the stalks. The video in the hints, tips and pictures section shows how to do this.
  2. Add the garlic, shallot, lemongrass, sugar, pepper and salt to a pestle and mortar. Crush them into a paste. Transfer the paste to a bowl and combine the soy sauce, fish sauce and oil.
  3. Brush the marinade over all sides of the pork chops. Place them in a sealable container (or in a tray with a cover) and marinate in a fridge for up to 24 hours.
Cooking
  1. Pre-heat a grill to medium-high or Big Green Egg (direct setup) to 180°C/355°F.
  2. Remove the pork chops from the marinating container. Cook them either under the grill or directly over the coals of the Egg for 4 to 8 minutes per side (depending on how thick the pork is), turning a couple of times.
  3. Transfer them to a warm plate and cover loosely with kitchen foil for 10 minutes.
  4. Garnish with chopped coriander and green scallion stalks.

Hints, Tips and Pictures
  1. Some thinly sliced red chili can be added to the paste to give it some extra flavours.
  2. This meal is normally cooked with pork chops over coals on the city streets of Vietnam. I used pork loin steaks because I happened to have some available. I’ve also seen it cooked with sliced boneless pork shoulder and cubes of pork on skewers. As long as the meat is about 1/2 an inch thick, you’re fine.
  3. This video shows how to extract the parts of lemongrass necessary for cooking.
    How to cut lemon grass - YouTube

 

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

This side dish was the result of trying something with kale and it backfiring rather spectacularly. I had planned a rice side to go with an aromatic Vietnamese pork dish, thinking that dehydrated kale would make a good rice garnish. I was wrong … really, really wrong.  So instead, I threw in some sweet Thai chili and turmeric … which worked together exceptionally well!

Sweet Thai Chili and Turmeric Rice
Time
5 mins prep
20 mins cook
Difficulty
Easy
Servings
4-6 servings
Serve with
Stir fried king prawns
Vietnamese lemongrass pork
Making Interesting Sides

It struck me recently that many of the forums and Facebook groups I’m part of focus on main courses almost exclusively. It’s a massive understatement to say there’s a wide variety to explore, yet side dishes can transform a main course into a multi-flavoured experience to remember. So rather than just serve rice with the intended main course of Vietnamese grilled pork (recipe coming next week), I decided to do something different.

In hindsight, the kale disaster was a blessing in disguise …

Equipment
  • Large saucepan
  • Wok
  • Spatula
  • Chopping board
  • Sharp knife
  • Colander
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Kitchen towel
  • Large plate
Ingredients
  • 1 small red onion
  • 3 tbsp ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3-4 spring onion/scallion
  • 1 small sweet carrot
  • 2-3 tbsp sweet Thai chili sauce
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1-2 tbsp toasted sesame seed oil
  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 300g uncooked white rice

I purchased the chili sauce from Waitrose. It’s available in other supermarkets, or can be made from scratch, e.g. with this recipe on Serious Eats.

Method
  1. Thoroughly wash the rice under cold water. Place it in a pan and add boiling water to be 2-3cm above the rice. Boil for 2 mins, then remove from the heat. Place a sheet of kitchen towel over the top of the saucepan and weigh it down with a plate. Leave for 8 mins for the rice to absorb the water.
  2. Meanwhile, cut and finely chop the white stems from the spring onion. Cut the green stalks into small discs. Crush the garlic cloves, and finely chop the red onion. Cut the carrot into very thin strips with a vegetable peeler.
  3. After the rice has absorbed the water, warm the groundnut oil in a wok over high heat. Add in the ginger, spring onion pieces, chopped red onion and garlic and stir fry for 30 secs.
  4. With a slotted spoon to drain excess water, add the cooked rice into the wok, combine with the other ingredients in the wok and stir fry for 2-3 mins.
  5. Sprinkle over the turmeric powder and add the toasted sesame seed oil. Stir fry for 1-2 mins, adding a little more turmeric powder to increase colour as needed.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in the sweet Thai chili sauce. Alternatively, place the sauce into dipping bowls and allow guests to add their own sauce to their tastes. Garnish with the sliced green stalks of the spring onion.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview