after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Pork Shoulder Sandwich and Kimchi Jigae (with pix)

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t says: We once tried to make a pork shoulder, but it didn’t turn out right.  We tried to braise the sucker, but the meat just ended up being too tough for my taste (which we tried to hide by shredding the bejesus out of it).  The thing is, from the beginning, kp told us to forego braising and just roast it: put on the rub, stick it in the oven, and let it go at a ridiculously low heat for a long amount of time.  I doubted whether this would actually work because that’s how my grandmom used to make her Thanksgiving turkeys, and although they were made with love, they were just a bit dry.

Well, flash forward a few months … I had the hankering to cook a large piece of meat this past weekend.  Why large?  Well, I wanted to cook something large in volume that I could slowly eat over a few days – I foresaw that I would have little time to cook.  Then I remembered how whenever I go to the Wegman’s meat section, I always end up staring at the pork shoulder.  It was my white whale.  I’d curse silently under my breath, “why???  but I did everything right!”.  Of course, there’s no real reason for me to hold a grudge against the pork, as at $1.30 per pound, what was preventing me from giving it another whirl?  The more I thought about it, I realized that I basically owed it to myself to try it again – the meat was so cheap it might as well have been free!

But how would I make it this time?   The braise last time was a disaster.  I needed a change-up.  So I opened up David Chang’s Momofuku Cookbook.  He had a recipe for pork shoulder that he uses for his ramen.  It was simple, straightforward, no frills … and it was precisely what kp said: put on the rub, stick it in the oven, and go.  So it was settled.  I was going to roast the pork and make sandwiches out of it.  But one cannot live on pork and bread alone!  (Ok, scratch that – one can live on pork and bread alone, but not even kp would consider this a healthy diet).  I figured that pork is savory and salty, so I wanted some sour and spice to punch it up, some vegetable to keep my doctor happy, and some cheese to both quell the spice and add some mouth-coating texture (aside from straight-up pork fat from the meat).  What I eventually decided on was an homage to the South, Korea, and Italy … and pigs.

Ingredients:

__ 4.5 lb pork shoulder (but any size will do – David Chang claims that it won’t change how long you cook the thing for – I don’t know about that, but what the hell do I know?)
__ Sugar
__ Kosher salt
__ Dr. P-I-M-P’s ‘Bama Backyard BBQ Rub <if you can get some>
__ Some wilted spinach (olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, crushed red pepper, toasted sesame seeds <optional>)
__ Some ggakdugi
__ Some Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
__ Some sesame-studded sandwich rolls

-2)  Let me explain some things here:
A)  What the crap is Dr. P-I-M-P’s ‘Bama Backyard BBQ Rub?  It’s a secret concoction of herbs and spices that only kp can make.  Actually, I’m not even sure he has it written down, as then it might fall into the wrong hands.  The only way to get your hands on some is to send us an email and pray that kp will be able to whip you up a batch.  Alternatively, you could try mixing your own blend of seasonings (chili, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, etc) – but in actuality, David Chang uses straight up salt-sugar in 1:1, so don’t fret if you can’t get any of Dr. P-I-M-P’s rub.  But I will say that I suspect that David Chang uses a far coarser Kosher salt than Morton’s, so stick with 0.5:1 salt:sugar.  The sugar makes getting a nice crust easy.
B)  WHY ARE THERE NO AMOUNTS?  Because everything will change based on how big a shoulder you get.  To give you a ballpark, for our 4.5 lb piece, we used less than 1 cup total of the sugar-salt-rub combo.  As for the spinach, ggakdugi, cheese, and rolls, how much you need will be based on the proportions you use to build your sandwich – just make it up as you go!
C)  About that wilted spinach …  Take some [very-meticulously-washed] spinach, put it in frying pan with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and red hot pepper flakes, and apply medium heat.  When the spinach just starts to wilt, turn off heat, add the sesame seeds (if you have them), and keep tossing/turning the spinach.  The very moment before the moment before (not a typo) all of the spinach reaches complete doneness, remove it from the warm pan and put it on a cool plate, leaves spread apart so it’ll stop cooking faster.
D)  What the crap is ggakdugi?  It’s radishes that have been mixed/pickled with/in a red hot chili solution.  There’s no way I’d ever make it, myself (it’s an involved process that makes your hands reek for days), but it can be found at a lot of Asian/Korean grocery stores.  Kimchi could also do the trick.  If you’re afraid of the old Asian people at the market, just bring along one of your Asian friends and you’ll be ok …

-1)  The night before you want to roast the pork, mix up the salt, sugar, and spiced rub in a 0.5:1:1 ratio.  Rub down your shoulder in it.  Stick it in the fridge, covered, for 4-24 hours.  Apparently, if you go for more than 24 hours, the pork is too salty – I have no idea if this is true.

0)  On the day you want to start roasting (i.e. 6.5 hours from when you want to begin eating), preheat your oven to 250 degrees.

1)  Remove the shoulder from the fridge and place on an oven proof tray – something with sides to catch all the fatty goodness.

2)  Stick it in the oven.  Amuse yourself for 6 hours, taking breaks from your amusement every hour or so to baste the pork in whatever juices have fallen out of it (there won’t be much the first hour or two).  I also like to rotate the pan in the oven in case there are any hot/cold spots.  Bittman recommends flipping the shoulder over every hour – I forgot – but I’d totally do it next time; just be careful not to squeeze it too hard or you might ring the juices out of it.  If you really want, at the one hour mark, pour about a half cup of some kind of aromatic liquid onto the pork (e.g. stock, wine, beer) – it smells nice and gives the shoulder a head start on having some liquid to baste with at the 2 hour mark.

3)  Remove the pork from the oven after 6 hours of roasting.  Let the pig rest for a half hour, covered with foil.  Do NOT cut it.  Do NOT prod it.  Do NOT test its temperature.  If you have faith in your oven reading 250 degrees, then after 6 hours, trust me, it’s fully cooked.  Here’s a sneak peek under the foil …

And after it rested, I cut into it …

4)  Slice off beautiful pieces and assemble sandwich.  Here’s some inspiration:

Bottom to top: bread, ggakdugi, sliced pork, spinach, cheese

5)  Leftover pork shoulder can be shredded and refrigerated (don’t forget to add some pan juices – but don’t add too much as there’s a lot of fat and salt in there) to be enjoyed over the next few days in more sandwiches, pastas, eggs, rice, etc.  Either reheat it in the oven back to 250-300 degrees or try the microwave (but be careful with the microwave – if it gets too hot, then your pork will be tough!).

6)  If you really want to be a Korean bawler (i.e. if you want to make your apartment smell really REALLY bad), take your shredded pork (but don’t shred it too finely – you still want something to bite into) and add it to a pot with some kimchi and  a little bit of water, ginger, soy sauce (only a little!  the pork is salty as it is!), and some extra firm tofu.  Heat on low for a half hour or so (or at least until all of the components are heated through completely – you’re not trying to “cook” anything), stirring occasionally.  This is a quick-and-dirty version of kimchi jigae – it’s spicy and stinky, but man is it tasty.  And yes, it seriously smells very potent while cooking, so if you have a grill or something, cook it outside.

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Written by afterdinnersneeze

20 November 2010 at 5:24pm

Posted in Entree, Hoofed

Tagged with , ,

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