Friday, October 9, 2009

Look at My Butt

The kindly pig gives us many wonderful cuts of meat, none more delicious than the pork butt (or, as the more squeamish call it, pork shoulder). Fatty, succulent and fork-flake tender after a long, slow cooking, this cut of meat is versatile and can be turned into many different meals over the course of several days. This is important because the market tends to sell pork butts in portions the size of a Volkswagen.

My favorite method of cooking pork butt is in a Dutch oven, 1/3 filled with either cooking sherry or ginger ale. Sprinkle sea salt and pepper (to taste) all over the exposed area of the meat and cover. Then put your butt in a 180-degree oven for one hour per pound.

In the picture here, I have slices of sherry roasted pork butt on a bed of polenta/mascarpone/ red wine vinegar-braised red currants, topped with Sauterne-braised satsuma slices and black sea salt. The next day, I shredded the remainder of the pork and made carnitas tacos with cilantro, Manchego cheese, lime juice and fresh tortillas.

When I roast the pork in ginger ale, I like to stick a dozen or more cloves into the meat before placing it in the oven, just like my grandma used to do!

What's your favorite way to prepare pork butt?

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