The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

How Do You Cook Your Butt?

January 11th, 2011 · 3 Comments · Posted in Recipes

Flavor and succulence: pork shoulder

I’ve had pork shoulder (or butt) on my mind lately and sure enough, there it was in the meat case at Whole Foods the other day. Big, beautiful roasts. And at $3.69 a pound, it seemed like a bargain as well. I couldn’t resist, and took home a roast a bit under four pounds.

Now to cook it. I admit, outside of stuffing sausage, smoking pulled-pork barbecue and simmering it in our favorite Mexican stew–green pozole–I don’t us pork shoulder much. Maybe I’m just not looking for it. It’s not usually on such glorious display at Whole Foods. So I had to do a little research in my cookbook library and found what may be my newest favorite pork roast. That’s thisslow-cooked butt with sauerkraut, paprika and carraway in Bruce Aidells’s Complete Book of Pork.

Aidells says he made this roast when he was living in the Netherlands on come kind of sabbatical. It’s braised in a Dutch oven (or Le Creuset pot, in our case) on the stovetop. He calls for dark beer as the braising liquid. I didn’t have any on hand and used chicken stock instead.

Otherwise, this is a straightfoward braise, except the result is so flavorful we’ve been eating the leftovers for breakfast. It’s great smothered in fried eggs.

First, mix together paprika (we use a smokey Spanish variety), salt and pepper until you have about three tablespoons worth. Rub this into your shoulder roast all over and let the meat sit out on the kitchen counter for a couple of hours, coming up to room temperature while it marinates in the dry rub.

Melt three tablespoons bacon grease in a heavy Dutch oven and brown the pork all over. Remove the pork, and if it looks like you have too much fat, drain some out. You’ll now reduce the heat and saute 1 large onion, cut into thin slices, and 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced on an angle, and 1 small cabbage, thinly sliced. When the vegetables have softened, add 1 pound fresh sauerkraut and stir in 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds, 2 tablespoons paprika, 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage, 2 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 teaspoon black pepper and 1 cup dark beer (or chicken stock).

Add the pork roast back to the pot, bring everything to a boil, reduce the heat, cover the pot and let it cook slowly for about 2 hours, or until the meat reaches an internal temperature between 160 and 170 degrees F.

To serve, remove the roast and let it rest for a few minutes before cutting it into thick slices. Divide the vegetables onto hot plates, cover with the meat and ladle some of the pot juices over the meat. The juices may be the best part–that melding of pork fat, paprika, sauerkraut, caraway and herbs. Who knew? If I were eating mashed potatoes, I would heartily recommend them. Instead, we ate this with my famous, 3-hour braised green beans.

Call it dueling braises. Call it anything you like. But don’t be late for supper.

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  • Todd

    I marinate mine overnight in just lime juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Then I throw it in the crock pot in the morning on low and let it cook until I get home from work. Usually 10-12 hours. If I’m cooking just for me, I puree a couple of chipotles (in adobo) and add them to the pot. If I’m cooking for others I leave out the heat. Once I get it out of the crock pot, I put it under the broiler for about 10 minutes to get a good crust on it.

  • sylvie in Rappahannock

    slow slow slow indeed either topstove or oven. It’s always good.

  • Woody

    We are always on the lookout for good slow cooked meat recipes. Many thanks for yours. For pork, here’s one we really like: super tender with a deep flavor. (You can extend the cooking time to 2 hours easily).