How to Make the Best Barbecued Pork

June 11, 2016

Most of the recipes on Cook’s Illustrated are full blown recipes; everything you need contained on a few pages. As I was looking for a new rib recipe I stumbled upon this article that gives overall guidelines; no list of ingredients. While I’ve seen most of the advice over the years throughout many of Chris Kimball’s recipes, I haven’t seen a recipe that adhered to all the steps. So today I made ribs according to these “how-to” instructions. The ribs came out delicious and finishing the ribs in the oven provides much more control and then my kids favorite rib recipe. Overall 5-stars; worth updating your favorite recipe to reflect.

Fall-of-the-bone tender

Fall-of-the-bone tender

 

Comments:

  1. Step 7: Baking instead of barbecuing the sauced-ribs is an insurance policy against the sauce burning. If you add too many coals when rebuilding the fire the sauce will over caramelize and burn. A properly-calibrated, low, 300-degree oven will give the ribs plenty of time to cook.
  2. The trade-off of baking the ribs is that you can’t cook your beans down in the coals so that the juices from the ribs flavor your beans. You can use the any juices left in the foil and the end of Step 11.

Rating: 5-star.
Cost: $16.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess?  Low/Medium.
Start time 12 Noon. Dinner time 6:00 PM.

Cook’s Country original recipe is here. I used the spice rub and barbecue sauce recipe from here. The recipe as I cooked it today is as follows:

  1. Use a paring knife to loosen the membrane of the back of each rack of ribs. It is chewy and prevents the spices from fully flavoring the ribs.
  2. Using paper towel for added grip, pull off and fully remove the member. Cook’s Country says it should come off in one piece; not true, but it use your paring knife to restart the pulling process.
  3. Season the ribs with a spice mixture, wrap them in plastic wrap and allow to the sit in the refrigerator overnight.
  4. Steeply bank your coals on one side of the grill. This will cook low and slow, while giving plenty to grill space.
  5. Soak your wood chips and wrap them in a foil packet, with slits to allow the smoke to escape. Let them smoke for 5 minutes before beginning to cook the ribs. Starting to cook the ribs immediately can give to harsh of a flavor.
  6. Clean and oil the grill grate, and set the ribs on the cool side of the grill. Away from the direct heat, the ribs can cook for a long time without their exterior burning.
  7. Cover the ribs loosely with a large piece of aluminum foil. Set the foil directly on top of ribs which will help trap steam and keep the ribs tender. Cook f0r 2 hours until the ribs are deeply red. The vents should be 1/2 open.
  8. After 2 hours on the grill the charcoal will be spent. Remove the ribs from the grill and brush both sides with a total of 1 cup of barbecue sauce. Tightly wrap in aluminum foil.
  9. Set the foil-wrapped ribs on to a rimmed baking sheet. Put into low a preheated 250-to-275 degree oven and bake for a few more hours. Baking the sauced-ribs will reduce the chance that the sauce will burn. Also because they are wrapped in foil there is no advantage to rebuilding the charcoal fire.
  10. Test the ribs by inserting a fork into the ribs and lift up ribs. If the fork easily pulls out then the ribs are done. Otherwise, the ribs need to cook longer.
  11. Allow the ribs to rest for 30 minutes, still wrapped in their foil. The juices will redistribute and the ribs will be very moist.
  12. Finally, brush the ribs with more barbecue sauce, slice them between the bones and serve.

Skillet-Barbecued Pork Chops

February 21, 2016

My two sons love barbecue so I wanted to make these indoor, skillet-based pork chops. The recipe is very straight-forward the biggest problem is finding the rib chops that are between 3/4-and-1″ thick.  My supermarket always sells chops cut very thin. Fortunately, I was able to buy a beautiful roast and cut the chops myself. Due to my mid-week schedule, I changed the brine from a 30-minute brine (using 1/2-cup of salt) to a all day brine (using 3 tablespoons of salt), which let me cook them in about 45 minutes; otherwise add 30 minutes to the overall preparation time. The results perfectly cooked and very flavorful, A delicious 4-star meal.

Delicious indoor BBQ pork chops

Delicious indoor BBQ pork chops

Comments:

  1. If you cannot find natural pork, you can still used enhanced pork, which is injected with a salt solution. But skip the brining in step 1 and add 1/2 teaspoon salt to the spice rub.

Rating: 4 stars.
Cost: $10.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess?  Medium.
Start time 6:00 PM. Dinner time 6:45 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The descriptions of how I prepared them today are given below:

Pork Chops Ingredients:
1/2 cup table salt
4 bone-in pork rib chops between 3/4-and-1″ thick (8-to-10-oz each)
4 teaspoons vegetable oil

  1. Trim the chops of any excess fat and make slits , sides slit according to illustration below (see note above)
  2. Dissolve salt in 2 quarts water in large bowl or container. Submerge chops in brine, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Spice Rub Ingredients:
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, measure out 2 teaspoons mixture into medium bowl and set aside for sauce.
  2. Transfer remaining spice rub to pie plate or large plate.

Sauce Ingredients:
1/2 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons light molasses
2 tablespoons grated onion
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon liquid smoke

  1. Grate 1/2 an onion on the large holes of a box grater.
  2. Whisk together all ingredients in the bowl with reserved spice mixture; setting aside until after the chops have cooked.

Cook the Pork Chops:

  1. Remove pork from the brine and use paper towels to pat dry. Dredge pork in pie plate with spice rub; coating both sides with spices. Gently press so that rub adheres to meat. Pat chops to remove loose/excess rub.
  2. Set 12″ heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over medium burner. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and pre-heat until just begins to smoke. Arrange chops in skillet in pinwheel formation. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes until charred in spots.
  3. Flip chops and continue to cook until second side for 4 to 8 minutes. Remove chops when an instant-read thermometer reads registers 130 degrees; setting on a clean plate or baking sheet.
  4. Wipe out pan using paper towels . Lightly brush top side of each chop with 2 teaspoons bbq sauce.
  5. Return skillet over medium burner. Add 1 teaspoon vegetable oil and pre-heat until begins to smoke.
  6. Set chops in pre-heated pan with the sauce-side down. Cook for 1 minute without moving until the sauce has caramelized and charred in spots. While cooking, lightly brush the other side of each chop with 2 teaspoons sauce. Flip chops and cook the second side for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes until they registers 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
  7. Remove chops from skillet and put back to plate or baking sheet, tenting with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 5 minutes, during which time the internal temperature should rise to about 145 degrees.
  8. Meanwhile, add remaining sauce to pan and cook for 3 minutes until thickened to a ketchup-like consistency. Brush each pork chop with 1 tablespoon of sauce and serve immediately, passing remaining sauce separately.
Slow brine instead of the fast brine called for in the original recipe

Slow brine instead of the fast brine called for in the original recipe


Tuscan Roast Pork with Garlic and Rosemary (Arista)

January 30, 2016

This roast is perfect for mid-winter when its cold (and rainy) outside. As the roast slowly warns the kitchen, the anticipation slowly build and the delicious aromas permeate the house. That’s why this is my favorite time of year to spend the entire day cooking. Today’s Roast Pork is good; stuffed with pancetta, garlic and rosemary; but I thought that the flavors could have had more depth. The dominant flavor was rosemary; with only a hint of garlic. The lemon-oil helped to brighten the flavors a little; but didn’t go far enough. Good, solid weekend meal. 4-stars.

Well cooked, but a little unbalanced

Well cooked, but a little unbalanced

I did have a few minor technical issues with the recipe, which I’ve described below.

Issues:

  1. When I got to my supermarket on Saturday afternoon, there was only 1 roast to “choose” from. It was 3.1-pounds, which I thought was close enough (recipe calls for 2-1/2 lbs). However, the consequence was that the roast did not fit into my 10″ skillet. Instead I used a 12″ skillet, but because of all the extra space I had a little trouble browning the fat cap on all sides, as the roast rolled around. I should have either trimmed down the roast to fit in the 10″ skillet’ or stood over the pan as I cooked it in step 13.
  2. I had an issue with my paste not spreading evenly (see photo below). It clumped together and was not nearly as manageable as in the Cook’s Illustrated video. I am not sure if it is because I used 3-oz of pancetta (the recipe called for 2 ounces; but my roast was a little over-sized). Also I am not sure if it is because my slices were very thin (and pre-packaged, shrink-wrapped). Not how I imagined that I was going to buy the pancetta; but that’s all that was available.
  3. Chris Kimball gives one final warning; if you are only able to find enhanced pork (injected with a salt solution), then your should reduce the salt to 1 teaspoon per side in Step 7.
Paste clumped' I had trouble getting even layer

Paste clumped; I had trouble getting even layer

 

Rating: 4 stars.
Cost: $14.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess? Medium.
Start time 3:00 PM. Ready at 6:15 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe for is here. My descriptions of how I prepared it today are given below:

1 lemon
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 ounces pancetta slices
2-1/2-pound boneless center-cut pork loin roast
Kosher salt

  1. Chopped fresh rosemary, but be careful not to include any woody stems.
  2. Grate zest from one lemon, and add to a 10-inch non-stick skillet. Add 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 8 minced garlic cloves, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Set over medium-low burner and cook for 3 minutes; stirring often; until garlic sizzles.
  3. Add in chopped rosemary and cook for just 30 seconds. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a small bowl, press down on solids to extract as much oil as possible. Set both oil and rosemary-garlic aside to cool. Wipe out skillet with a paper towel.
  4. Cut pancetta slices into 1/2″ pieces and add to food processor. Process for 30 seconds until it forms into a paste. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in cooled rosemary-garlic mixture  and process another 30 seconds.
  5. Set roast on cutting board with the fat side up. You will double-butterfly the roast. Begin by cutting horizontally one-third of the way up (just where the fat-cap begins) and cut along the entire length of the long-side of the roast; stopping 1/2-inch before you cut all the way through. Open up the flap.
  6. Again, keep your knife level with the first cut, cut through the thicker side of the roast again stopping 1/2-inch before you cut all the way through. Open up the flap and lay your roast flat. If portions are uneven, cover with plastic wrap and even out with a meat pounder.
  7. Sprinkle each side with 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt and rub into the meat.
  8. Evenly spread the inside of the roast with pancetta-garlic paste from Step 4; but leave 1/4-inch border on all sides.
  9. Cut seven or eight 12-inch lengths of kitchen twine. Roll up roast; keep the fat cap on the outside’ and tie with kitchen twine.
  10. Put a wire rack over a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Spray with vegetable oil spray, placing roast (with fat cap upward) onto rack and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  11. With 15 minutes to go, set a rack to the middle of your oven and pre-heat to 275-degrees. After an hour in the refrigerator, move roast (already set up on rack) oven and bake for 1-1/2 to 2 hours; until the internal temperature of the pork is 135-degrees. Remove from oven and tent with aluminum foil for 20 minutes; during which time the temperature will continue to increase another 10-to-12-degrees.
  12. While the roast rests, set your skillet over high-burner; at 1 teaspoon of oil (from Step 3) and pre-heat until the oil just begins to smoke. Cut lemons in half and set into skillet with the cut-side down. Cook for 3-to-4 minutes until browned and softened; remove to a small plate.
  13. Use paper towels to pat the roast dry. Pre-heat 2 tablespoons of the reserved oil in the skillet until it just begins to smoke, then brown the roast on the fat-cap side and the sides for a total of 5-to-6-minutes (but don’t brown the bottom of the roast). Remove to a cutting board and remove the twine.
  14. When lemons have cooled slightly, squeeze them through a fine-meshed strainer over a small bowl. Use a rubber spatula to press down on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Add 2 tablespoons of the juice into the reserve oil and whisk together. Cut the roast into 1/4″-thick slices and serve passing the vinaigrette separately.

Sweet and Tangy Grilled Country-Style Pork Ribs

September 14, 2015

Usually ribs take all day to make properly; a long relaxing process that I love. I once tried Chris Kimball’s One Hour Rib recipe; the flavor was good (if somewhat nontraditional).  Today’s recipe speeds the process using a different cut of meat; Country-Style Pork Ribs. I looked forever to find country-style pork ribs in all my local supermarkets; and finally discovered they we not labelled as such; they were called “Pork Loin Rib End Bone-in for BBQ”. I updated some pictures.”. The browning time as prescribed by Chris Kimball in Step 7 of 2 to 3-1/2 minutes per side was completely insufficient; mine took over 5 minutes per side. But because the ribs also spend time cooking on the cool side of the grill, be sure to brown them sufficiently (assuming you have a meat thermometer, it’s no big deal to adjust the timing). My only other complaint is that the ribs were too slimy when coming off the grill; so I gave the sauce a quick char on the hot side of the grill. Overall, 4-stars.

Delicious BBQ pork with itty bitty ribs

Delicious BBQ pork with itty bitty ribs

Comments/Issues:

  1. While Chris Kimball’s original recipe say that you can apply the dry rub as little as 1 hour beforehand, its much better if you apply it the night before.
  2. As mentioned above; the cooking times were nowhere near correct. The original recipe calls for as little as 15 minutes on the grill; mine took almost 30 minutes to come to the correct temperature. I use their same chimney starter, their same Weber grill, and their same Kingsford charcoal. I’m not sure why there was such a big discrepancy.
  3. Be sure to use the small holes of a box grater; the sauce spends so little time cooking that otherwise the onion will not break down.

Rating: 4-stars.
Cost: $20.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess? Medium.
Start time 5:00 PM. Ready at 6:15 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe for the ribs are here. And the recipe for the sauce is here. My descriptions of how I prepare it are given below:

On Evening Before Dinner:
4 teaspoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 pounds bone-in country-style pork ribs
1/2 cup barbecue sauce, plus extra for serving (See recipe below)

  1. Trim away any excess fat from the ribs. In a small bowl, combine 4 teaspoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
  2. Rub the spice mixture all over the ribs, and tightly wrap is plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight (or for as little as 1 hour, if necessary)

On Day of the Meal:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup grated onion (1 small onion)
1 garlic clove
1 cup ketchup
5 tablespoons molasses
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  1. Open your bottom vent halfway, and ignite a chimney starter filled with charcoal (6 quarts). When the top-most coals become partially covered with ash, pour evenly over half of grill, leaving the other-side empty. Replace the cooking grate, cover grill, and set the lid vent open halfway. Pre-heat for 5 minutes, then clean and oil the grill grate.
  2. While the charcoal ignites, make your sauce. In a medium bowl, add together ketchup, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire, mustard, and pepper; whisk to combine. Set aside until Step 5 (only about 5 minutes).
  3. Use the small holes of a box grater to grate the onion, and mince your garlic clove. Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add grated onion and minced garlic; cooking for between 2 to 4 minutes until the onion is softened.
  4. Add chili powder and cayenne and cook for 30 seconds to bloom the spices.
  5. Whisk ketchup mixture into pan and bring up to boil. Turn down burner to medium-low; allow to gently simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Add 1/2 cup of bbq sauce to a small bowl, which you will use to baste the ribs. Bring an additional 1/4 to 1/2 cup to the table for serving. The remaining cup of bbq sauce can be refrigerated for a week.
  7. Arrange ribs on the hot-side of grill. Cover and cook ribs cook the first side for 3 to 5 minutes until they become well browned. Flip the ribs and cook (covering again) for 3 to 5 minutes until they become brown. (My ribs took longer to become nicely browned, but wait because you can always reduce the cooking time on the cooler side of the grill, as necessary).
  8. Once browned, move ribs to cooler side of grill without flipping. Brush the tops with 1/4 cup of bbq sauce. Again, cover and cook for 6 minutes. Flip ribs and brush another 1/4 cup bbq sauce. Cover and continue to cook for 5 to 10 minutes until internal temperature of the pork reaches 150-degrees,
  9. Remove the ribs to serving platter, tent with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  10. Serve, passing 1/4 to 1/2 cup extra sauce separately.

Italian Sausage with Grapes and Balsamic Vinegar

June 14, 2015

The sweet Italian sausage and the grapes yielded a delicious, unique flavor; but not immediately recognizable as grapes. While delicious, the flavor profile was a bit monotone in its sweetness; I would have liked a little bit of heat or something else to offset the sweetness. Perhaps it might be interesting to try them with Hot Italian Sausages; but that may be too much heat; Perhaps just a little cayenne or paprika. The recipe as written is good; especially for kids who love sweet things. 4-stars.

Good; but a little monotone.

Good; but a little monotone.

Comment:

  1. While Chris Kimball says that this serves 4 to 6 people, the 1-1/2 lbs of sausage was only 6 sausages. I think this recipe realistically serves 3 people as a main course.
  2. Later in the week I made a variation of this recipe that is serves two; but I used a full pound of sausage instead of the 3/4-lb called for in that recipe. I think the bottom line of the number of servings is this; allocate 2 sausage for each diner.

Rating: 4 stars.
Cost: $8.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess?  Low/Medium.
Start time 5:30 PM. Ready at 6:00 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. My descriptions of how I prepare it are given below:

1-lb seedless red grapes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1-1/2 lbs sweet Italian sausage
1 onion
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

  1. Prepare your grapes by cutting them in half lengthwise (through where their stem attached); which should measure about 3 cups. Cut onion in half, peel, and slice thin. Set aside until Step 3.
  2. Pre-heat 1 tablespoon vegetable in a 12″-skillet over medium burner until shimmering. Put sausage into pan and cook for a total of 5 minutes; turning once half way through. Tilt skillet, and use paper towel to remove excess fat from the pan.
  3. Add grapes and onions to pan; over and around the sausages. Then add 1/4 cup water and cover immediately with lid. Cook for about 10 more minutes; turning once; until the sausages reach between 160-and-165-degrees. Remove sausage to a plate lines with paper-towels, and tent with aluminum foil.
  4. Increase burner to medium-high; add salt and pepper to grape/onions. Spread out into an even layer and cook for 3 to 5 minutes without stirring; until browned.
  5. Stir and continue to cook for 3 to 5 more minutes; stirring often. The mixture should be well browned, but the grapes should still retain their shape.
  6. Turn down burner to medium and mix in 1/4 cup wine and 1 tablespoon fresh oregano. Use the liquid to deglaze the pan and cook for 30 to 60 seconds; just until the wine has reduced by half. Remove pan from burner and mix in 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar.
  7. Put sausages on serving platter and spoon grape/onion mixture on top. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint.

Grilled Pork Kebabs with Sweet Sriracha Glaze

April 25, 2015

I was a little premature in my plans to grill these Pork Kebabs last night, as it was quite cold and was accompanied by few snow flakes. I was extremely excited to give this new recipe a try, as the kebabs can be ready in just 1 hour from start-to-finish; perfect for a weeknight summer meal. My older son loved the kebabs and ate 2 full skewers (he rated them highly; 4-stars). While the technique resulted in perfectly cooked pork, I was disappointed that the promise of the hot/sweet/salty flavors was not, in the end, well-balanced. The pork was too sweet, lacking heat and salt.  Overall, an easy 1 hour meal. Worth making, but I can rate it only 3-stars.

Flavors slightly out-of-balance

Flavors slightly out-of-balance

The recipe was not clear as to when to ignite the charcoal. If you are pressed for time, I would recommend lighting it right after salting the pork. The recipe will take a total of 45 minutes. Last night I followed the order of the recipe and ignited after the preparing the skewers, which may have allowed the flavors to be absorbed by the pork; and added about 25 minutes.

Comments:

  1. The ingredients call for a total of 1-1/2 pounds of pork tenderloin, and the in-package weight of mine was 2-1/2 pounds. I didn’t check the final trimmed weight, and am not sure if that was the cause of lack of salt.
  2. Also, the balance of flavors was overly sweet. It lacked a little heat from the Sriracha and salt.
  3. I minced 1/4 cup of cilantro, but didn’t use all.
  4. If using a gas grill, pre-heat for 15-minutes with all burners to high before cleaning and oiling the grill. When cooking, just leave the primary burner on high. All other burners should be turn off.
  5. Check to see if your pork is enhanced (i.e. injected with a salt solution), and if so do not sprinkle with salt in step 1.

Rating: 3 stars.
Cost: $10.
How much work? Low/Medium.
How big of a mess?  Low/Medium.
Start time 5:15 PM. Ready at 6:30 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here.  My descriptions of how I prepare it today are given below:

2 (12-ounce) pork tenderloin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Vegetable oil spray
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

  1. Trim away the silverskin and any extra fat from the tenderloin. Cut into 1″-cubes. Add to a large bowl and  sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher. Toss until combined and allow to stand for 20 minutes at room temperature.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together brown sugar, Sriracha, and cornstarch together. Measure out 1-1/2 tablespoons of the Sriracha mixture and set aside from brushing the meat on the grill.
  3. After the 20 minutes has passes, add the remaining Sriracha mixture to pork and toss until evenly coated.
  4. Thread the pork cubes onto four-to-five 12″ skewers; leave 1/4″ between the pieces of pork. Generously spray both sides of meat skewers with vegetable oil spray.
  5. Open the bottom and top vents completely, and ignite a chimney starter filled with charcoal; about 6 quarts. After 20 minutes and the top coals become partially covered with ash, empty over half the grill leaving the other half empty. Replace cooking grate, cover and pre-heat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil cooking grate.
  6. Put pork on hot side of the grill for about 4 minutes until well charred. If it’s a cold day I recommend covering; otherwise leave uncovered. Flip over and brush the tops with reserved Sriracha mixture. Cook the second side for about 4 more minutes; take the internal temperature of the meat and remove when it registers 140-degrees.
  7. Remove to a serving platter, loosely tent with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with minced cilantro and serve.

Mu Shu Pork

March 16, 2015

For me a big Sunday dinner has become an important part of my life (a tradition I adopted during my year living in Buenos Aires), and I always pull out all the stops. So it was with much anticipation that I shopped for the ingredients for this Mu Shu Pork. Unfortunately, the recipe was a huge disappointment. When cooking the pork in Step 6, the pork was too wet and just steamed; not caramelizing at all. Overall this Mu Shu Pork was bland. None of the ingredients brought much flavor; tenderloin, cabbage, bamboo shoot are all very mild. While not bad; it simply lacked flavor to set it apart. Just 3-stars; and not worth the 2 hours of preparation.

Chinese Mu Shu Pork

Chinese Mu Shu Pork

Comments:

  1. While the pancakes took a full hour to prepare, Chris Kimball warns against using tortillas.
  2. Because this was my first time making this recipe, I didn’t realize that I should have started the prep while making pancakes. It’s best to use that half hour at the end of Step 2 to prepare the meat, cabbage and bamboo shoots.
  3. When first cooking the pork in Step 6, the pork was both too wet and the pans was too crowded. The pork steamed instead of browning; even after cooking for longer than the 2 minute maximum called for in the recipe.

Rating: 3 stars.
Cost: $10.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess?  Medium.
Start time: 4 PM. Finish time: 6:10 PM.

The Cook’s Illustrated link to the original recipe is here. The recipe as I prepared it today is given below:

Pancakes Ingredients (1 hour):
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour (7-1/2 ounces)
3/4 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil

  1. Put a small pot with about 1 cup of water over high burner and bring to a boil (you will late measure out 3/4 cup of water).
  2. To make the pancakes, weight flour in a medium bowl, add boiling water and mix using a wooden spoon until forms a rough dough. Allow to cool then empty onto a lightly floured counter and knead for about 4 minutes until the ball is tacky, but no longer sticky. The dough does not need to be completely smooth. Use plastic wrap to loosely cover and allow to sit for 30 minutes. (Meanwhile you can to the prep work under Stir Fry, Step 2).
  3. Lightly flour your surface and use your hands to roll out dough into 12″ log. Cut into 12 equal-sized pieces. Arrange so that the cut side is up and pat into 3″ disks. Brush one side of 6 disks with toasted sesame oil, and set one of the un-oiled disks on-top of the oiled-side. Lightly press down to form 6 pairs. Lightly flour the counter and use a rolling-pin to form 7″ disks.
  4. Add 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil to 12″ non-stick skillet. Set over medium burner and pre-heat until the oil is shimmering. Wipe out with a paper towel, and cook one pancake at a time without moving for 40 to 60 seconds per side; until air pocket begins to form between the two layers and a few light brown spots appear of the second side. Remove pancake from skillet and allow to cool on a plate until cool enough to handle, then peel the two pancakes apart. Stack pancakes with the moist-side-upward and loosely cover using plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining pancakes.
  5. If you are going to use them today, cover pancakes tightly with aluminum foil to keep them warm. If you are using them another day, you should wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, and then with aluminum foil. They can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 2 months. You should thaw the wrapped pancakes at room temperature, when unwrap and set on a plate. Cover with a second, inverted plate and microwave for 60 to 90 seconds until warm and soft.

Stir-Fry Ingredients:
1-oz dried shiitake mushrooms
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
12-oz pork tenderloin
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
6 scallions, white and green parts separated and sliced thin on bias
8-oz can bamboo shoots, rinsed and sliced into matchsticks
3 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
1/4 cup hoisin sauce

  1.  Rinse the shittake mushrooms, and put into a small bowl (or two cup Pyrex measuring cup); cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave for 1 minutes until steaming. Allow to soften for 5 minutes, before draining through a fine-mesh strainer, reserving 1/3 cup of the liquid. Trim away and discard the stems, and slice the caps thinly.
  2. Meanwhile, trim away the silver-skin from the tenderloin and slice in half horizontally. Slice each half thinly against the grain of the meat. Thinly slice your scallions, keeping the white and green parts separate. Rinse your bamboo shoots under the tap, the slice them into match sticks. Thinly slice 3 cups of cabbage.
  3. In a large bowl, add 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sherry, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the thinly sliced pork and toss together until evenly combined.
  4. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the 1/3 cup mushroom liquid, 2 more tablespoons soy sauce, 1 more tablespoon sherry, and 2 teaspoons cornstarch; setting aside.
  5. Wipe out skillet from pancakes with paper towel. Set over medium-high burner and pre-heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil. Beat together the two eggs, and quickly scramble for 15 seconds until set (but not until dry). Empty eggs to serving bowl and use a fork to break into 1/4″-to-1/2″ pieces.
  6. Put the skillet back over medium-high burner and pre-heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil until it begins to shimmer. Saute scallion whites for 1 to 1-2/12 minutes until evenly browned. Add the pork mixture and spread into an even layer. Allow to cook without moving for 1 to 2 minutes until well browned. Site and continue to cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes until all the pork is opaque. Empty into serving bowl with eggs.
  7. Return now-empty skillet to medium-high heat and heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Whisk mushroom liquid mixture to recombine. Add mushrooms and bamboo shoots to skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until heated through, about 1 minute. Add cabbage, all but 2 tablespoons scallion greens, and mushroom liquid mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until liquid has evaporated and cabbage is wilted but retains some crunch, 2 to 3 minutes. Add pork and eggs and stir to combine. Transfer to platter and top with scallion greens.
  8. Spread about 1/2 teaspoon hoisin in center of each warm pancake. Spoon stir-fry over hoisin and serve.

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