Sunday, February 20, 2011

Milk Braised Pork

"It's even better than pulled pork."

My wife uttered those sacrilegious words last night and I could not disagree.  I took another lesson at Rouxbe Online Cooking School this week and this time it was on Combination Cooking Fundamentals.  For the practice session after the video lesson, I chose to make the Milk Braised Pork.  

It takes quite awhile to make and it isn't very photogenic but it is easy to make and was heavenly.  The rich, velvety sauce and tender pork made my mouth swirl with happiness.   The sauce is so good  that I saved a little extra just to have on pasta this afternoon.  This dish is "company worthy" and I will be making it again.

Here is the link to the text version of the recipe, which is written for the oven:  Milk Braised Pork (you don't have to be enrolled to view the text).   Here is how I converted it to the grill, I'm just going to post what I did different from their recipe.

Pork Roast - The recipe calls for a 3 1/2 lb pork shoulder so I deboned a 7 1/2 lb pork butt and cut it into two rolled and tied pork roasts.  I used the one that had the bone in it because that is the best part of the pork shoulder (aka "money muscle").  I'm saving the other one for a Peurto Rican pork roast.  
Save the bone for stock!

Searing - I debated on this one.  Should I sear in the dutch oven over direct heat or sear it on the grate?  I tried it in the dutch oven at 300f for two minutes a side but wasn't getting the color I wanted so I switched to the grate.  This gave me the best of both, the flavor of coal fired pork and sucs in the pot for flavoring the sauce.  If you want to sear ONLY in the dutch oven, you will need to run at a higher temp, maybe around 375f.   

Ingredients - The only thing I did differently was added 1 dried red chili to the sauce, used an extra sprig of rosemary, and added 2 cups of half and half. (Note:  The extra liquid is because I didn't have the right size pot, a Lodge #10 would have been better but I only had a #12.)    

Simmering - I kept the dutch oven indirect and let the heat get up to 350f.  TIP:  Place your fat cap down during this part since the bottom will be taking more heat.  This will 1) protect the bottom of the roast AND 2) give the fat a head start on rendering out.    

Roasting - Once the sauce was simmering, I switched to indirect heat (Put the plate setter in, legs up) and cooked it at 300f with the lid on.  I turned the roast every 30 minutes and it took right at 2 1/2 hours.  As the  fat renders and the sauce reduces, you can SEE the flavor building.  They say remove when fork tender.  My BBQ experience says the pork butt collagen breaks down once you hit an internal temp of 195f which turned out to be accurate here too. 

Sauce - The video had some warnings about the sauce splitting and recommended an immersion blender.  I guess I was lucky because I only had to whisk mine while the sauce reduced and the meat rested.  Then I removed the rosemary stem.  The garlic cloves had broken apart smoothly. 
    While the lesson covers many topics and tips for combination cooking,  the tip that was most useful to me was about how to choose the right size of the pot and what happens if you don't.  In my case last night, I knew my pot was just slightly too big which meant I would have to add more liquid to get the right level or depth in the pot.  But the extra liquid can dilute flavor, so I knew I had to increase the seasonings too.

    No bones about it, this recipe is a keeper.  This was the best thing I've made all week. 

    [Standard Disclaimer] To be able to embed Rouxbe videos, I had to sign up as an affiliate member which means I get a couple of dollars for anyone that signs up through me.  I am not using it as a money maker, I just like being able to show their tip videos from time to time when it applies to something I am cooking or doing in that post.