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Cooking with David

Pork

Copyright © 2006-2009, 2011, 2014, 2016 by David E. Ross

While I prefer my beef medium-rare, pork should always be cooked just barely well done. Even if modern pork is safe from parasites, it still tastes better that way.

Barbecued Pork Roast

a small boneless pork roast (e.g., top loin or sirloin), about 1.5-4 pounds

fresh herbs:

olive oil

Let the roast stand on a plate for an hour or more, to bring it near room temperature.

Rinse the fresh herbs. Tear the sage leaf into 4-6 pieces. Bend the bay leaves along their midribs; tear out and discard the midribs. Tear the bay leaves into 4-6 pieces each. Strip enough leaves from the sprigs of thyme to make about 1 tablespoonful. Strip the leaves from the rosemary branch, discarding the branch. Put all the herbs into a blender or mini-processor.

Peel and dice the garlic. Add it to the herbs.

Pour about 1 teaspoonful of olive oil into the herbs. Blend. Add more oil. Blend some more. Repeat until the garlic is finely chopped and you have a thin — not runny — paste.

Rub the paste all over the roast. Let stand for several minutes.

Preheat the barbecue for about 3 minutes with the highest flame.

When the barbecue is hot, cook the roast for 5 minutes. Turn and cook 5 more minutes. Reduce the fire to medium-low. Close the cover and cook for 20 minutes. Turn the roast. Close the cover and cook for 20 more minutes.

Remove the roast from the barbecue. Let it sit for 5 minutes before carving.

Yes, this is similar to barbecuing a tri-tip beef roast. However, I don't use barbecue sauce on this pork roast; and the cooking time is 20 minutes longer.

It is important that the roast be at room temperature before cooking. Otherwise, it might be underdone in the center. For a thick roast, the cooking time with the cover closed might have to be extended to as much as 25 minutes on each side.

Alternatively, you can roast the seasoned pork in an oven, per the temperature and time given in most cookbooks.

My wife and I really like garlic. For us, I use 3 cloves of garlic.

An alternative to this recipe is to use the dry rub after the meat has been moistened with lemon juice.

13 October 2006
Updated 5 June 2011


Pork Schnitzel

4 thin-cut boneless pork chops
1 egg
bread crumbs
flour
water
olive oil

wax paper
mallet, gavel, or other pounder

Lay a doubled sheet of wax paper on a kitchen counter. Place a pork chop on it, off center. Fold the wax paper over it. You now have two layers of wax paper under the chop and two layers over it. Gently pound the chop with a wooden mallet until the chop is about 1½-2 times its original size. Do this with all four chops before going to the next step.

Place a generous amount of flour on a dinner plate or wide shallow bowl. Place a generous amount of bread crumbs on another dinner plate or wide shallow bowl.

Break an egg into a wide shallow bowl. Using half an egg shell as a measure, add one measure of water to the egg. Beat the egg thoroughly.

Thoroughly flour a chop on both sides. Place on a plate. Do this with all four chops before going to the next step. If you must stack the chops, separate the layers with a sheet of wax paper.

Starting with the chop that was floured first, dip a chop into the egg, coating all sides. Hold the chop over the bowl to allow excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Place the chop on the bread crumbs and press down. Turn the chop and press the other side into the crumbs. The chop should have a complete coating of bread crumbs. Place the chop on a plate. Repeat with the other chops in the sequence they were floured. Again, if you must stack the chops, separate the layers with a sheet of wax paper (possibly the same sheet as used when flouring).

Allow the breaded chops to stand at least 15 minutes.

Pour oil into a large frying pan over a high fire. The pan is hot enough when a crumb of fresh bread (not a dry bread crumb) dropped into the pan sizzles. Do not crowd the frying pan; instead, fry a few chops at a time. Fry the chops on one side until the breading becomes golden brown (about 2 minutes). Turn the chops and fry on the other side, again until the breading becomes golden brown. Add oil as needed. Remove the chops to a serving plate.

This serves two. If you wish to season your serving, try a few drops of lemon juice.

Before starting, make sure you have enough bread crumbs. You will be surprised at how many bread crumbs are used. I tried extending the bread crumbs by adding an equal amount of almond flour; the result was delicious. However, almond flour is not something you find except at very special groceries or at nut stores.

Putting the chops through the egg and bread crumbs in the same order as they were floured means the flour will stick to the chops and not rinse off in the egg. Allowing the chops to stand after they are breaded means that the breading will not come off in the frying pan.

Do not over-cook the chops. As they are quite thin, they cook rapidly. Over-cooking will leave them dry.

Adapted from a recipe in the Los Angeles Times 15 April 2009

21 May 2009
Updated 17 October 2011


Barbecued Ribs

Did you ever eat barbecued back ribs in a restaurant and notice how tender they are? The meat almost falls off the bones. Most restaurants parboil ribs — placing them in simmering or lightly boiling water — for an hour or more before barbecuing them. Not only does this make them tender; it also removes most of the flavor. To compensate, the restaurants then drown the ribs in sauce. Yes, such ribs do taste good; but you would get the same taste drinking the sauce directly from the bottle.

Here, there is no parboiling. These ribs are only cooked by placing them over a flame.

Some prefer baby back ribs, but these tend to have much less meat on the bones. Properly prepared, non-baby back ribs can be both tender and meaty.

Cooks are divided about the parchment-like tissue found on the bone side of a rack of ribs. Some remove it, and others leave it. The former removes a crisp and tasty treat; the latter traps excessive fat. I compromise by slitting the tissue with a sharp knife between pair of bones, retaining the tissue but allowing fat to escape.

Obviously, both recipes are intended for a gas barbecue; Recipe #2 requires a barbecue with more than one burner. For a charcoal barbecue, adjustments will have to be made to place the ribs properly relative to the fire and to ensure the fire is not too hot.


Recipe #1 — Relatively Quick and Simple

pork back ribs
sauce

If you have a whole rack of ribs, use a sharp meat knife and cut in half, cutting between two ribs.

Prepare the sauce. For a whole rack of ribs, I use about 3 Tbs of a commercial barbecue sauce. To that, I add various seasonings that go well with pork: ground cloves, ground coriander, powdered ginger, powdered garlic. Just use 1/4 tsp each of some or all of these. Today, I omitted the ginger but added 1 Tbs of orange marmalade. Sometimes, I add 1 Tbs mustard.

Preheat the barbecue with the flame at its highest. When the barbecue is ready, sear the ribs for 2 minutes on each side. Reduce the flame almost to its lowest. With the bony side of the ribs down (towards the flame), brush the sauce on the meaty side of the ribs. Close the cover of the barbecue. Cook for 45-50 minutes, turning the ribs every 15-20 minutes.

Note that the sauce is on only one side of the ribs. Apply a coat of sauce just after the ribs are seared. The coat should be thin enough that you still see meat through the sauce. Pork has a flavor that should be enhanced by the sauce, not hidden by the sauce.


Recipe #2 — Worth the Extra Effort and Time

I adapted this recipe from an on-line article in Saskatoon's Star Phoenix (a Canadian newspaper).

NOTE WELL: Allow at least 2½ hours from the start of preparation to serving.

a full rack of pork back ribs
lemon juice

dry rub

prepared barbecue sauce

Cut the rack of back ribs into thirds, cutting between the bones. Wet the meaty side with lemon juice. Then apply the dry rub on the meaty side. Let stand for at least a half hour.

Preheat the barbecue to 350°F with the cover closed and all burners running high. Keeping only one burner running, place the ribs bone-side down on the other side of the grill. Reduce the remaining burner to medium-low. Close the cover and do not open it again for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, examine the ribs. They should be browning without charring. Adjust the remaining burner accordingly. Cook for another hour.

After a total of 90 minute of cooking, lightly brush the meaty side of the ribs with barbecue sauce; as with Recipe #1, meat should show through the sauce. Cook another 15-20 minutes.

Test for doneness. Bend a portion to break it apart between two ribs. It should break easily. Examine the center of the exposed meat, which should appear fully cooked in color and texture.

Note that the entire cooking is done with the boney side down. Unlike with Recipe #1, the meaty side is not seared.

Because of the dry rub, no additional seasonings should be added to the barbecue sauce.


Unlike Recipe #1, which yields ribs that are done but somewhat chewy and firm, Recipe #2 yields ribs that are tender and are easily removed from the bones — without any parboiling. Recipe #1 takes about one hour from the start of preparation to placing the meat on the table while Recipe #2 requires at least 2½ hours. In both cases, once the meat reaches the table, it should be allowed to sit for about 10 minutes to finish cooking and also retain its juices.


Dry Rub for Pork

This makes much more than is needed for a single roast or rack of ribs. Store the excess in the freezer.

2 TBS paprika
2 TBS packed dark brown sugar
1 TBS ground cumin seed
1 TBS black pepper corns
1 TBS onion powder
1 TBS garlic powder
2 tsp chili powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper

Grind the cumin and black pepper together. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, stirring thoroughly.

For grinding the cumin and pepper corns, I use a miniature electric coffee mill, one that can produce only enough coffee grounds for 1-2 cups of coffee. For many whole dry spices, this is excellent; but I would not use it on nutmeg, which might break the mill. Spices can also be ground by hand in a mortar with a pestle or in a pepper mill.

The dry spices will usually absorb enough moisture from the brown sugar to make it dry, too. The result should be a slightly granular powder.

I moisten the meat with lemon juice prior to applying the rub. This causes the rub to stick better. Then I allow the meat to stand about 30 minutes so that the rub can absorb some of the moisture.

The rub in the original recipe included white sugar in addition to the brown sugar. It also included salt. Neither were necessary. Even the brown sugar could be omitted if prepared barbecue sauce is used since barbecue sauce typically contains sugar.

3 August 2009
Updated 10 July 2016


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