Category Archives: Pork

Pork Rib Yakitori


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The Imperial Kamado (The Real Deal)

Hi there fans. Back in June I received a great birthday gift, a copy of Meathead Goldwyn’s book called “The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling.” I’ve been a big fan of his for years and have recreated some of his signature recipes on this blog.

Now, I’ve read the book from start to finish and over the past weekend I decided it was time to try out a recipe that had piqued my curiosity for a while. In the book the recipe is called “Happy Mouth Yakitori Ribs” and I must admit, it didn’t disappoint! I’ve not found the recipe online as yet so you’ll need to purchase the book (to be fair to my pal Meathead too!) That said, I’ve taken a few minor liberties with this recipe that I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

The approach is pretty unconventional to say the least. With this recipe, we move away from traditional ‘low and slow’ cooking for up to 6 hours and shave that down to about 2 hours in total. The preparation also makes a regular rib cook a bit nervous as well. But, if you follow my interpretation of the recipe, you’ll wow your pals, neighbours and family with this Japanese take on pork ribs.

The prep:

Prepare three slabs of St. Louis cut ribs by removing the silver skin from the bone side of the ribs. Start by lifting a bit off the bone with a butter knife then grab some paper towel (kitchen roll) and grab the flap and pull the membrane off completely.

Now, cut the ribs into individual pieces ensuring that you’ve got an equal amount of meat on either side of the bone. Normally we’d cook the entire slab of ribs but by cutting them into individual pieces you cut the cooking time exponentially and you’ll get each rib to look and taste amazing.

Traditional Yakitori uses chicken meat (from the thigh or gizzard or just about any part really) and there is no marinade used whatsoever. You rely purely on the sauce that you’ll make. For the ribs, I went with a a light dusting of salt and pepper a few hours before I was ready to cook the ribs. Seasoning the ribs helps a lot with the flavour but remember go easy, you don’t need to coat them like you would if you were smoking traditional KC style ribs.

The Yakitori Sauce:

Put the ribs back into the fridge and get ready to prepare the Yakitori sauce. For that you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 1/2 cup pure orange juice
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated old ginger (and all the juices that you squeeze out)
  • 3 tbsp quality honey
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce of your choice
  • 5-7 small garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1.5 tsp corn starch

Combine the above ingredients except for the cornstarch in a medium sauce pan. Let it simmer and combine for about 30 minutes on a low/medium heat. When your timer pings, remove the saucepan from the heat and strain the liquid through a fine sieve. Squeeze out all the juice from the solids through the sieve so you’re left with nothing but liquid. Put that sauce pan back onto your burner at a low heat. The smell and taste at this point is crazy!

Now, it’s time to thicken up your Yakitori sauce by mixing the corn starch with 2 tbsp of cold water. Mix it up with a fork and then add it to your sauce pan. Stir it around well and you’ll see the magic start to happen. The sauce goes a bit cloudy but will soon change viscosity to resemble something akin to motor oil.  From this point, let the sauce simmer for another 15 minutes then set it aside.

The Roasting

Set your grill up for indirect heat and stabilise your temperature at 225F (107C). You don’t want to add any smoke as it’ll clash with the sauce. I used a two tier grid and the Imperial Kamado I restored last year. Seemed fitting to use a Japanese kamado for a Japanese inspired dish.

Let the ribs roast for about 90 minutes. They’ll turn a beautiful golden brown colour. Take them off and place them into a metal bowl that’s deep enough for you to coat all the ribs with the sauce. Carefully pour your Yakitori sauce all over the ribs and toss them around so you get an even coating on all sides of the ribs.

Return the ribs to the grill and let them roast for another 20 minutes or so at 225F (107C). Once the sauce has baked on to the ribs, remove them and plate them up. I added toasted sesame seeds and some finely cut chives for good measure, great taste and a beautiful look. Now these ribs aren’t the type that slide off the bone. They take a bit of effort but as you’ll see in the pictures, all the meat comes off with a few simple bites. I like to work for by ribs!

All in all, an amazing new twist on pork ribs! Thanks Meathead and to the team at Amazing Ribs!

The family loved them and the neighbour’s kids devoured the few leftover ribs that we had.

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Overall Heather Rating: 10/10

 

3-2-1 Competition Worthy Pork Ribs


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Hi folks. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve sat down to enter a blog entry. I must admit, it’s just easier to post on FaceBook but then, we’re not all friends on FaceBook are we?

I’ve picked a few recipes to share just for fun. The first of which are these fine St. Louis style competition worth pork ribs.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A pair of St. Louis style pork rib racks (we get ours at The Warehouse Club in Jurong for less than $10/rack!)
  • A bit of regular yellow mustard
  • “Memphis Dust” rib rub
    • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
    • 3/4 cup white sugar
    • 1/2 cup paprika
    • 1/4 cup garlic powder
    • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons ground ginger powder
    • 2 tablespoons onion powder
    • 2 teaspoons rosemary powder
  • A few knobs of unsalted butter
  • Brown sugar
  • A tiny splash of apple juice
  • A good slathering of Competition Red Sauce (a la Big Bob Gibson’s recipe):
    • 1 1/4 cups (12.5 oz/355 g) ketchup
    • 1 cup water (8 oz/235 g) water
    • 3/4 cup (6 oz/170 g) vinegar
    • 3/4 cup (6 oz/170 g) tomato paste
    • 3/4 cup (4.5 oz/135 g) brown sugar
    • 2/3 cup (7.75 oz/220 g) corn syrup
    • 1/2 cup (4 oz/ 170 g) pure maple syrup
    • 4 tbsps (1.5 oz/100 g) honey
    • 3 tbsps (2.25 oz/60 g) molasses
    • 4 tsps (25 g) salt
    • 4 tsps (.75 oz/20 g) Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 tbsp (.75 oz/25 g) applesauce
    • 1 1/2 tsps (.25 oz/8 g) soy sauce
    • 1 1/2 tsps (.25 oz/5 g) liquid smoke
    • 1 tsp (4 g) onion powder
    • 3/4 tsp (2 g) cornstarch
    • 1/2 tsp (1 g) dried mustard powder
    • 1/2 tsp (1 g) cayenne powder
    • 1/2 tsp (1 g) black pepper
    • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/8 tsp white pepper
    • 1/8 tsp celery seed
    • 1/8 tsp ground cumin

Prep is really simple. Wash off your ribs and pat them dry with some kitchen roll. Remove the membrane on the bone side of the ribs by prying it loose then tearing it off using a bit of kitchen roll. It really helps with the grip.

Then slather a bit of mustard on both sides of the rib racks. Some people omit this step, others swear by it. Me, I’m easy either way. The mustard, being a water-based product simply lets the rub adhere to the rack a bit better. Water works just as well to be honest as you’ll really not taste the mustard once you’re done.

Next you’ll coat your ribs liberally (like a Bernie Sanders) making sure that you’ve covered every centimetre. That will help with the bark and ensure that no matter where you bite down on that rib, you’ll get a good helping of the rub/crust.

Set up your smoker/grill for indirect heat and stabilise it at 225F (107C). Add in some wood chunks to get the smoke going. For this cook I used Beech wood. Nice and delicate.

Once you get that blue stream of smoke going, it’s time to put the ribs on. I placed a drip pan full of hot water under the ribs (and on top of the plate setter) to add some additional humidity inside the Big Green Egg. Living in Singapore, you really don’t need that.

Place your ribs down meat side up and set your timer for 3 hours. Go grab a beer, read a book, mow the lawn. You’ve got time.

When your timer pings, take the ribs back into the kitchen. Grab some heavy duty aluminium foil large enough to tightly wrap the ribs. Before you place the ribs down, sprinkle a healthy amount of brown sugar. Add three knobs of butter and a bit of honey drizzled. Place the ribs down, meat side down. Sprinkle some brown sugar, add some butter and honey onto the bone side. Now make a packet, add a splash of apple juice and crimp it all so that you’ve made an airtight seal. If the bones tear through, just use another piece of  foil.

Back onto the grill, meat side down for another 90 minutes to 2 hours. I took mine off a bit early because I didn’t want them to fall right off the bone. Now, add a bit more rub and slather with a good coat of Red Sauce. Place it back onto the grill for another 30 -60 minutes. Again, I did 30 as I didn’t want ribs over done. With practice, you’ll get the hang of the timing.

The last step is to get some flame going and char up the meat side of the ribs. I use Grill Grates and swear by them. Get the grid nice and hot and sear the ribs until you get some nice caramelisation happening.

Once ready, pull off the ribs and let them rest for at least 10 minutes. Then cut between the bones and serve.

My family loves this recipe and as I’m writing this, I’ve got two racks on the go just now.

Enjoy!

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Overall Heather Rating: 10/10

 

 

Ultimate Ribs


_MG_3691If you’re looking for the Ultimate rib recipe, look no further…ladies and gents here it is. This is a variant on a few different recipes I’ve researched, pulling together what Heather thinks are the BEST ribs ever on the Big Green Asian Egg. So here’s what you’ll need to do!

Let’s start with preparing the rub. Many BBQ cooks keep their rub recipes a secret. That’s just plain silly in my opinion unless of course you’re competing in a competition or running your own restaurant. If you don’t share, the rest of us can’t get better at the craft.

Rub – Stage 1

  • 2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp whole mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp celery seeds

Take the spices above and toast them in a small dry skillet over medium heat. You’ll know when it’s done when you get this amazing waft of spice filling your kitchen. It takes about 3-4 minutes in all. Remove the spices and let them cool a bit before transferring to a spice grinder.

Rub – Stage 2

Now add the following to the spice grinder and pulverise it to a nice fine grit.

  • 3 tbsp paprika (smoked would be awesome too!)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp pure sea salt
  • 1.5 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder

Grind it all up and set it aside… your ultimate rib rub is now done.

Let’s move to the sauce next. In a large saucepan add the following ingredients:

  • 1 can of high octane Coca-Cola (the regular stuff in the red can)
  • 1 cup Heinz ketchup
  • 1/4 cup Apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tbsp pure Canadian maple syrop
  • 2 tbsp ultimate rib rub (yes, the stuff you just made!)

Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer (uncovered) for about 25 minutes. It’ll thicken up before you know it and it’ll go a gorgeous deep reddish brown colour. Let the sauce cool and then transfer it to an airtight jar. The sauce is good for 3 months however I’ve never ever seen enough to last more than a few weeks in this house!

Right, so now you’re done the necessary prep. Let’s get the ribs sorted next.

I purchased two slabs of frozen St Louis cut ribs from the local Singapore equivalent of Costco, The Warehouse Club. They were $9/slab and easily twice the size of the ribs I normally get from our friends at QB. Frozen ribs are fine by the way, though I do like to go to the wet market and occasionally buy fresh chilled pork, but that’s really for special occasions.

Thaw your ribs a few hours ahead of time, rinse them under cold water and then pat them dry on your cutting board. Some people insist on removing the silver skin. I don’t bother as it hardly makes a difference. Take a bit of vegetable oil and coat both sides of the slab. Now take your rub and give both the top and bottom a good liberal coating. Don’t forget to get the sides ensuring you get some rub between the bones. Now take each slab and wrap them tightly in some heavy duty aluminium foil. Try to make an airtight packet so that the juices don’t run out. Now place them in the fridge for a few hours. The longer the better. If you’re pressed for time, that’s ok too but I like to let the meat try and absorb the rub as much as possible.

Set up your grill for indirect heat with a drip pan full of hot water. Even though the ribs are protected in the foil, you want to ensure you’ve got a nice humid environment under the hood. Stabilise your temperature at a medium heat around 325F (163C). Put the ribs on a rack above your water pan, close the lid and let it rip for 2 hours.

Once your timer pings, carefully remove the packets from the grid, set them aside and now fire up the grill to get it as hot as it can. Carefully cut a corner off the packets and drip any of the juices that have remained into a pyrex measuring cup. Unwrap your ribs and get them onto the hot grid. Timing isn’t that critical here so you don’t have to rush. Put the ribs meat-side up and paint them with the sauce you made a few hours earlier. Make sure your sauce isn’t cold, right out of the fridge. I keep it handy at room temperature as I baste any meat. After about two minutes, carefully flip the slabs and paint the bottom side of the ribs. Keep flipping every two minutes or so to get a wonderful caramelisation across the ribs. Crisp them up carefully with the lid open and for the love of God, don’t walk away, the ribs can burn quite easily.

Remove the ribs when they’re nice and crispy and serve the slabs whole. Let your guests take as much or as little as they like. We served the ribs with an amazing ratatouille incorporating roasted red pepper, tomato, onion, garlic, Italian herbs, feta, parmesan and mozzarella cheese.

If you check out the photos, you’ll clearly see that the family LOVED these ribs. In fact, my darling bride Heather proclaimed quite categorically, these were the BEST ribs we’ve ever had. Naturally, I took a bow and immediately wanted to share this recipe with the world. Let us know how it goes!

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Overall Heather Rating: 10/10

Low ‘n Slow Pork Chops


That's one monster chopA quick post for a Monday night. As if weren’t enough that we ate our faces off over the weekend, I had 4 pork chops in the fridge that needed to be sorted out. What better way than to use a tried and tested method of “reverse searing” and come up with an amazing dish?

When you’re ready to prep, take your chops out of the fridge, give them a rinse under cold water and pat them dry. Drizzle a bit of vegetable oil on the chops and sprinkle a good helping of your favourite rub. Last night I used a pre-made rub (I know, I know…I just couldn’t be asked to make my own!) The rub I used was Cape Herb & Spice, Smoky BBQ Braai seasoning. Braai is the South African style of grilling and I suppose this spice was meant to reflect a typical Braai rub which included brown sugar, coriander, paprika, black pepper and something quite dodgy called “flavour.”  Give it a good coating and pop it back in the fridge until you’re ready to grill.

Set up your grill for indirect heat and stabilise at 225F (107C). When ready, place your chops on the grid and make sure you’ve got a good probe thermometer to track your progress. I had a few chops that were different in size and thickness so to be extra sure, I used my Thermapen which gives you lightning fast readings without you losing too much knuckle hair.

Flip your chops ever 15 minutes or so until they all reach about 125F (52C) then pull them off and tent them with some aluminium foil. Now the fun part….

Remove the plate setter or simply turn up the grill to maximum temperature. I removed the plate setter and inserted my trusty “Grill Grates” to get that extra special sear! When you hit “stupid hot” paint your pork with your favourite sauce and place the chops on the grid. 2 minutes later, give them a quick 45 degree spin for another two minutes. Now flip and do the same thing adding a bit more sauce. Grill for 2 minutes, 45 degree turn and then grill for another 2 minutes. Check your temperature with a probe thermometer as you’re finishing the sear. Note that you should remove your wired probe when you’re searing. The heat off the grid will render your probe absolutely “kaput!” This is where a thermapen comes in really handy.

Pull the chops off at 143F (62C) and let them rest for about 5 minutes under a lose tent of aluminium foil.

We served up these chops with some garlic fried rice and cheesy broccoli. Absolutely easy and absolutely tasty!

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Overall Heather Rating: 8/10 (her personal preference, not the recipe…so she says!)

That’s one monster chop

Char Siew (Ribs) – 叉燒


_MG_0027Once in a while you’ll come across a recipe that will blow your noodle and definitely make your top five list of the most amazing thing you’ve ever eaten. Last Sunday, just such a recipe made our list on the Big Green Asian Egg blog! We were really happy to use our good pal James Watkins as our guinea pig…. thanks Jimmy boy!

Char Siew Ribs, (pronounced Cha-Siew, drop the R sound) is a staple here in the tropical paradise we love to call home, Singapore. I adapted Meathead Goldwyn’s Amazing Ribs recipe to test out the authenticity and flavour profile of one of my favourite foods. I was amazed on both fronts! The great thing is that you can also make these ribs indoors in an oven if you don’t have the ability to grill outside.

In Singapore, you’ll see Char Siew hanging in most hawker stall windows. They tend to use the pork collar instead of ribs. The collars are loaded with fatty tissue that melts when slowly roasted. The flavour is intoxicating and you’ll line up for more! You can get a plate full of this delicious pork with steamed rice and veggies or my favourite, won ton noodles and broth with a healthy dollop of chili sauce. Needless to say, if you’ve ever been through Singapore, this is a dish you’ve got to try. My local hawker centre sells the above mentioned for $3.50 (SGD) or $2.60 (USD), a bargain if you’re on a budget!

So the ingredients list for the marinade goes a bit like this:

  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 cup vodka (or rum or brandy or even red wine)
  • 1/4 cup quality honey
  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons powdered ginger
  • 2 tablespoons powdered onion
  • 1 tablespoon powdered garlic
  • 1 tablespoon five spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon red food colouring

Mix all of the above in a metal bowl (as you may run the risk of staining a plastic bowl with that red food colouring) and set it aside. Let it sit for about an hour in the fridge and when you’re ready to pour it over the ribs, give it a good whisk!

I used three racks of baby back ribs and cut them into individual ribs. Not something I normally do but for this recipe, you want each rib to be fully coated with that lovely marinade! When ready, place your ribs into a heavy duty zip-top bag, add the marinade and give the bag a good massage, trying to get as much air out of it as possible.  Be mindful not to puncture the bag with the bone ends and so just to be careful, place your bag into a bowl that can catch any of the marinade should it escape. I marinated these ribs for roughly 30 hours, occasionally turning the bag and giving it a bit of a squeeze as and when I was in the fridge.

Like I said, you can do these ribs indoors but since this is a blog about the Big Green Asian Egg, there was no way I was going to use the thing we call an oven. That’s where pavlovas are made!

Set up your grill for 2-zone or indirect cooking, easily achieved with a BGE plate setter. Don’t add any wood chips as you want to minimise the smoke here. Stabilise your temperature at 225F (1017C) and hold it there using an ambient temperature probe. For these ribs, you’ll be cooking to time and not temperature so it’s really important you keep your ambient temperature just right. I also set up a multi-tiered grid that sat over a drip pan full of hot water. The grid was amazing for this set up and highly recommended to produce a high yield of rib goodness!

Place the ribs meat side up and make sure you space them out, not touching each other. Close the dome and set your watch for 2 hours. Once there, have a quick peek, spin the grid to ensure even cooking and have a good look at the ribs. They should look like they’ve got a nice char starting to form and they’ll sweat a bit, showing you how juicy and moist they are. At 2.5 hours, remove the ribs and place them into a big metal bowl. Grab about a 1/3 cup of quality honey, zap it in the nuker for about 30 seconds then coat the ribs. Toss the bowl around, ensuring you’ve coated all the ribs. This provides a wonderful glaze and an eye popping flavour that gives these ribs and almost  bak kwa taste! (Bak Kwa is by far the BEST pork dish ever… dare I say even an improvement on bacon!!!!)

Place the ribs back on the grid and roast them for another 15 minutes or so. These baby back ribs were pretty thin so I adjusted the roasting time from 3 hours in total to 2.45. When finally done, place the sticky ribs back in the big metal bowl, sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds (and please do toast them as you’ll release all the wonderful sesame flavour by doing this…just be careful not to burn them as that’s fairly easily done) and finely chopped green onion or chives. Toss the bowl around and get ready to serve.

Our ribs were served with a wonderful soba noodle salad with a sesame and ginger dressing. A bit of Cantonese meets Japanese fusion to be honest. The result was AMAZING!  Thanks Meathead and team at Amazing Ribs for the inspiration!

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Overall Heather Rating: 10/10

Lechon – Villaba Style!


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Now I’ve had my fair share of pork during my 42 years on this planet but NONE has even come close to the Lechon that was prepared for us by the Lucero family in Villaba, Leyte, Philippines! The post’s photos may be a bit much for those that have never seen “Porky” go from wallowing in it’s own filth to the plate, but it must be said, from the word “Go” the process was respectful above all to the wonderful animal that gave it’s life to fill the tummies of nearly 100 people.

We were blessed to visit a very rural part of Philippines this past year and we got way more than we bargained for. From meeting the most wonderful family, the Lucero’s, to surviving a Category 4 Super-typhoon called “Ruby” (and just about everything in between!) One of the most memorable and delectable parts of our visit was the lechon that was prepared for us. The pig, “Porky” weighed in at a massive 68kg (150 lbs) and well, let’s just say it was the largest pig I’ve ever had the pleasure to help devour.

It started at 4:00 am with a very quick and respectful dispatch. It took about 7 grown men to accomplish the task but once done, the crew got to work. They had boiled a few pots of water to help blanche the skin in order to remove all of the top few layers of the dermis. By the time they were finished the carcass was as smooth as silk. She was gutted and nothing had gone to waste. You see, in this part of the world every piece counts and it really helped me realise how lucky we are when we see our pre-packaged meat at the butcher’s counter!

The cavity was then prepped with a variety of spices along with a large number of lemon-grass stalks. She was sewn up with a copper hook and twine and then rotated, by hand, for just over 4 hours. The fire set up was crucial. They basically built two large fires with hard wood about 2 meters across. The pig was spun in between ensuring that it was getting even heat from both sides throughout the roast. It was bloody hot outside as it was and I’ve got nothing but respect for the lads that sat there hour after hour spinning “Porky” to a wonderful end, poking any blisters so that it rendered out some of the fat, keeping the crackling intact!

We were ready to eat at about 3PM. The result was insane! I’ve never had crackling like that before and the pork was as tender as could be with bursts of spice and lemon grass throughout. Did I mention that the crackling was the BEST I’ve ever had? I still dream of it on hungry nights. The lechon fed the entire village and then some. What wasn’t eaten then and there was packaged up in small plastic bags to be distributed to the less fortunate in the village. Again, food for thought!

I wanted to post this story because THIS is what true barbecue is! Its about respect, its about knowledge, its about taste and it’s about love! We were so grateful to Chef “Lito” and his band of merry men for sharing with us the most incredible meal ever! Salamat!

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Overall Roman/Heather Rating: 100/100

New Year – More Food


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Hi everyone, it has been a while since I’ve sat down to “pen” a quick note. I wanted to reflect over the past year and thank everyone who’s stopped in, made a comment or was inspired to try one of our recipes.

I simply want to wish all of you a healthy, safe and fantastic 2015. May it bring new recipes, less bloating and lots of laughter mixed in with a little adventure. So, here are a few photos from our annual New Years Eve party. We hosted over 40 people with the legendary and traditional pulled pork (a 16.3 pound/7.4 kg beast that took 33.4 hours!) A special thanks to Heather, the kids and Yaya for the inspiration and the clean up!  Cheers!

Enjoy!

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“Pavlova” with French Cut Pork Loin


_MG_2665Can I get a “woot woot?” Sunday roast dinner with Ben Lock, Fifi Marée and little man Destin proved absolutely fantastic! A new recipe on the Big Green Egg: a herb encrusted French cut bone in pork loin. This recipe took a bit of preparation so if you do have two days in advance, I’d recommend you do give this a try! You’ll need a 1.6 kg bone in pork roast to start and a few other ingredients to make the magic happen!

The day before you roast this pork you’ll need to brine it overnight. Simply add the following ingredients in a non-reactive bowl:

  • 4 Cups pure apple juice (not the “drink” stuff!)
  • Slightly less than a quarter cup of salt (use the cheap stuff and Kosher salt is too good for a brine!)
  • 1/2 cup of fresh minced garlic.
  • Some freshly cracked black pepper – about 15 turns should do.

Whisk this all up and then add your pork roast to a zip-top bag, add the brine to the bag and put it in a non-reactive bowl in the fridge overnight. The bowl helps as in my case, the bag split at some point and the pork was still fully submerged!

The morning of the roast, take your pork out of the bag, give it a bit of rinse under cold water and pat it dry with a paper towel. Set it aside and get ready to prep the marinade and the garlic into the roast. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced (to insert into your roast)
  • Your brined pork (of course)
  • 2 tbsp of freshly minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp of freshly minced garlic (yes, more garlic!)
  • 3 tbsp of minced shallots
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves removed from their stalks
  • 2 tbsp fresh sage
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, also removed from their stalks
  • 3.4 cup of quality olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

First, take a small sharp knife and pierce the roast about 4cm deep all around the roast. Add a sliver of garlic into each one of the incisions you make. Next, truss your roast with some butchers twine. This ensures that the roast will cook evenly and it presents really nicely as a result. Once done, move to the marinade. Combine all of the ingredients listed above in a blender. Pulse about 10 times until you get a really nice paste. If it looks too dry, add a bit more olive oil. Once done, give it a taste and add only a bit of salt as the brine as already done a lot of the salting for you. Put the roast into a clean zip-top bag, add the marinade and give it a bit of a massage. Make sure you coat the entire roast evenly. Now pop it back in the fridge until roasting time.

For your grill set up you’ll need to get the temperature stable at about 325F (163C), indirect heat.  Get a drip pan filled with warm water and add a small bit of wood. In my case I used cherry wood, but only a little bit to add a hint of smoke to an otherwise delicate meat. Let the smoke turn from white to a very light blue and then get ready to roast! Get a rack over the drip pan, insert your thermometer into your roast and shut the dome. No peeking until the internal temperature hits 140F (60C). That should take about 90 minutes for a roast this size.

Once you reach your internal temperature, remove the rack and tent it with some aluminium foil for about 10 minutes. When ready, remove the butcher’s twine first and then cut the roast into even chops between the bone. Serve with some roasted vegetables and a side salad and you’re done!

As usual the meal was delicious but again I was trumped by Heather’s homemade Pavlova! I’m not sure she’s willing to share her recipe but let me tell you, it was one of the BEST desserts she’s ever made. Full marks for the Pav babycakes!

_MG_2669All in all, a wonderful night with great company and amazing food!

Overall Heather Rating: 10/10

Overall Pavlova Rating: OFF THE CHARTS!

 

 

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Cherry Smoked Pork Collar


_MG_3858Hold the press! We’ve got a brand new winner tonight! In search of the best pork dishes I can muster up I came across a 2.1 kg pork collar at the butcher that only cost $17. With that scored I decided to make our legendary pulled pork in only 1/3 of the time. Normally pulled pork sandwiches at our place are reserved for New Year’s Eve only. Well now that I know I can get these pork collars at a fraction of the price (and the same, if not better taste) we’ll be making up this recipe a few more times a year as it’s a huge crowd pleaser if nothing else.

So what you’ll need to do is first prepare your rub. I’ve borrowed Meathead Goldwyn’s “Memphis Dust” recipe for this pulled pork:

  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons rosemary powder (take your dried rosemary and run it through the spice grinder to get the fine powder!)

Now, rinse off the pork collar under cold water. Pat it dry with some kitchen roll and set it in a shallow dish. Now take some vegetable oil and make sure you slather the collar all over, especially in the nooks and crannies if you’ve not tied it up yet. You’ll truss it the next day before smoking. Now give the collar a great big helping of the Memphis Dust rub and don’t be shy. Make sure you’ve covered every square centimetre of this pork. Once done, get your trusty cling film and wrap it up nice and tight and put in in the fridge (in a shallow dish) overnight.

Fast forward to grilling day. Remove the collar, unwrapping carefully to preserve the rub. Now truss the collar with some butcher’s twine which will ensure even cooking. Sprinkle a bit more rub on top and get it moving to the smoker! We had guests coming over for an early dinner at 4:00 pm. I wanted to serve the pulled pork at 5:00-ish so I figured the rule of 1.5 hours per pound. 2.1 kg is 4.6 lbs so then you roughly come up with 7 hours at 225 F. The result was closer to 8.5 due to the stall that took place at 170F internal temperature. More on that later. Set up your grill/smoker for indirect heat with a good helping of cherry wood chips scattered throughout the full compliment of hard wood charcoal. Add a drip pan with a good 4″ of hot water/or chicken stock like I did. Once you’ve stabilised the ambient temperature on the grill at a cool 225, add your collar (with temperature probe inserted) onto a rack and place it over the drip pan. Shut the dome and go do something productive for a half a day or so.

You’ll inevitably hit the stall temperature and it’ll stay there for a good few hours. This can be frustrating for some people not used to cooking pork butt, collar or beef brisket. It’s perfectly normal and it’s part of the magic really. You’ll want to aim for an internal temperature of exactly 203F. That’s the magic number. If you’ve stalled at 170F like I did for a long time, you can gently start to increase the ambient temperature by opening your bottom and top vents a little bit. Once the temperature hit 325F, the collar started to respond instantly, climbing steadily to the magic number 203F.

OK, when the magic number is attained, rest that collar for about 10 minutes with no foil, you want the bark to be nice and crunchy. When you’re ready to pull your pork (ahem) – take two forks, insert, twist and pull. Keep going until you’ve got a dish full of pork lovin’! We served these “sammiches” with a homemade slaw made of red cabbage, apple, cranberries and beetroot on a fresh bun, hollowed out, topped with homemade KC barbecue sauce.

So what was the final result? Silly, cray-cray, awesome goodness!

 

PS – Thanks to the Cowan family for coming over and test driving pork collar “sammiches!” Also, a BIG congrats to Dayne for finally getting his license converted!  Keep off the sidewalks Singapore!!!!

And a final PPSS… Hunny Lee-Ryan… let me know how this goes!

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Overall Rating: 10/10

Garlic with a bit of Pork Loin


_MG_7051Hey there blog fans. Here’s a quick and simple recipe for you to try out on your grill. Its so simple it would be silly not to try it out. We prepped this one on a Monday night and shared it with 5 of us in the house.

Get yourself a decent sized pork loin, not a tenderloin but the big thick bad boy that comes out of the rib cage of poor “Porky” that gave up his life for our tummies. All you’ll need to do is simply this:

  • 4 Tbsp of light soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup of honey
  • 6 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • Save another tbsp of soy and 2 tbsp of honey as a drizzle.
  • 10 more cloves of garlic finely minced
  • a few glugs of olive oil

Take your pork loin and give it a bit of a rinse. Pat it dry and then place it in a zip-top bag. Combine the soy sauce, honey and stir well until combined. Add your minced garlic and mix it all up and then pour the contents into the zip top bag. No need for any oil or other seasoning as the soy will give plenty of sodium whilst balanced out by the honey. Put the bag into a bowl (in case it leaks) and put it in the fridge for anywhere from 8-24 hours.

When you’re ready to grill, set up your cooker for indirect heat and reach for a grid level temperature of 375F. Take the loin out of the bag, discard the marinade and place it fat side up on a v-rack on the grid. I didn’t add any wood chips so as not to take away from the sweet/salty nature of the marinade. Insert an internal temperature probe and you’ll be looking to reach an internal temperature of 145F. That should take about an hour or so.

Once you’re near 145F, carefully take the loin off the grid, and even more carefully, remove your platesetter and get the loin over direct flame and sear it for a few more minutes on every side to get a bit of a crunch going. Once you’ve reached your temperature goal, remove the loin and let it rest, uncovered. No sense in making that lovely crunch soggy by keeping it tented under aluminium foil.

At this point (or a little bit earlier) take the other minced garlic and fry it up in a few glugs of olive oil. Get it nice and crunchy but not burnt. The fried garlic will give a slightly bitter taste that balances the other sweet and salty flavours of the loin. Combine the last of the soy sauce and honey and mix together well. Slice your pork loin on a 45 degree angle, nice and thin and then simply drizzle the sauce and throw on the garlic chips.

We served this pork loin with a wonderfully refreshing feta salad. All in all, this took very little effort and yielded a series of winning smiles around the dinner table.

Let me know if this works for you!

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Overall Heather Rating: 10/10