Sunday, November 1, 2009

Stuffed Cider Pork Shoulder

I recently saw a recipe for a smoked pork shoulder stuffed with blanched greens. While I like smoked meats, building an entire meal around a single smoked cut is tricky business. If the smoke is too strong, it could overwhelm the dish. Perhaps I'll try to smoke my own some time soon.

Instead, I decided to work with a fresh pork shoulder, which I deboned myself. (That was a harder task than I anticipated. It did leave me with an excellent bone with which to make a pot of beans at a future date.)

The marinade is also my own creation. I'm blogging prospectively. It's shaping up to be a two-day prep. We'll see how it turns out.

The Method (Marinade)

After deboning the shoulder, I realized that someone (Senior Chef #2) had made a fruit salad using the orange I intended to add to the marinade. This sparked a little innovation.

  1. Season the shoulder, laid out in a roasting dish:
    • Salt and pepper
    • Thyme
    • Allspice (ground)
    • 7-8 cloves
    • 6-7 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
    • 4 sticks of cinnamon
  2. What to use as liquid? I had once made pork loin roasted with granny smith apples. While we had no apples in the house to add to the marinade, we did have...
    • 2 bottles of hard, granny smith apple cider
  3. Cover the pan with foil. Marinade overnight. Flip the meat two or three times.
  4. Retain the marinade after removing the meat. Bring marinade to a boil and set aside to use as basting liquid when roasting the pork.


The Method (Stuffing)

I opted for a mixture of spicy greens to offset the sweetness in the cider and allspice.

  1. Roughly chop 1# mustard greens.
  2. Dice 1 sweet potato (about 1 C).
  3. Bring several cups of water to a boil.
  4. Add the garlic, cinnamon sticks, and cloves from the marinade to the water.
  5. Blanch the sweet potato for 5 minutes.
  6. Use a slotted spoon to remove the sweet potato, cinnamon sticks, garlic, and cloves. porklayer
  7. Salt the liquid and return to a boil.
  8. Add the mustard greens and cook until tender (about 10 minutes).
  9. Drain the greens.
  10. In a bowl, mix the greens, 1 TB butter (melted), and one egg (beaten). porkwrap
  11. Season the stuffing with salt and pepper.
  12. Place a layer of greens followed by a layer of sweet potato over the butterflied pork shoulder.
  13. Roll the shoulder to enclose the stuffing. 
  14. Secure with butcher's string. 

The Method (Roasting)

I began by cooking this over indirect heat on the grill for 1 hour, skin-side down. The heat was a bit high (or I left it longer than I should have) and the skin crisped up very quickly.

Next, I flipped the roast and basted it with some of the leftover marinade. (At this point, I add a few briquettes of charcoal to each side basket on my grill. I should have covered the meat with foil, but didn't.)

When I next checked the meat (one hour later), the skin had browned considerably. I intended to make several shallow slices in it to allow the fat to cook down, but it was too hard to pierce easily. I managed to stab a few small slits and basted it. I added a few more pieces of charcoal.

The roast cooked for a total of 3 hours (160 degrees internal temperature is fine). I was distracted and cooked it to 169 degrees. :(

The Result

This reminded me of pig roasts from my youth. The garlic and spices permeated the meat. It cooked longer than I would have liked and was a bit dry as a result.  The greens were exceptionally mild, even though I used mustard greens; and the sweet potatoes were equally understated but tender. porkdone0

The Junior Chefs weren't happy with the amount of fat surrounding each slice. (This is either a boon or bane of pork shoulder - depending upon your fat-titude. I think, too, they were less happy with this cut of meat, because it is much more "gamey" than other types of pork (especially when roasted this way).

The Senior Chefs enjoyed themselves (as did Chuck's best furry friend forever, Ticho, our Havanese). We agreed I should have cooked it for less time and basted it more frequently. Still, the spices and cider marinade worked very well. The meat had a smoked quality from the long roasting. Had I protected and scored the fat earlier on, I think it would have improved things overall.porkdone

Served with brown rice. A solid dish. If you like pork shoulder, this is worth trying. Enjoy!

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Anonymous said...

As a non pork eater, I was wondering if you think this would work with a beef roast or poultry breast.

Jim said...

I would certainly try it with both. If I were marinating poultry, however, I would do so for less time...perhaps 3-4 hours. For beef, I might add juniper berries to the marinade, too. Apples in place of the sweet potatoes would also work.

Dina said...

Seriously...where do you come up with this just make it up???

Kudya Bwino Bwino (Eating Well) © 2009