Friday, May 18, 2012

Herb Roasted Pork Sandwiches

Every once in a while, I get the urge to roast or smoke a pork shoulder.  The urge manifests itself as visions of roasted pork or pulled pork, often dominating my thoughts especially when I am hungry.  I do not always act on the urge, because roasting a pork shoulder takes some time and effort.  In addition, smoking that pork shoulder takes a lot of time and effort.  This is particularly true for me, because I cannot seem to buy a pork shoulder that is less than four pounds.   

I am still a novice when it comes to roasting or smoking a pork shoulder.  As followers know, I am not a trained chef, nor am I an experienced pitmaster.  I just love to cook.

For this recipe, which I made up as I went, I used a simple Italian-inspired rub with rosemary, sage and thyme.  I added some crushed red pepper to give the rub a little spice, along with the customary sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  I also used some of my own pork stock, which I had from the liquid used to make my Pork Offal Meatballs.  If you do not have any pork stock, a good substitute is white wine. 

Overall, this recipe worked out well.  I was able to make some great sandwiches for work.  The one area that still needs some work is the skin.  I tried to crisp the skin; however, it did not work.  The skin was a little too chewy.  If that happens, you can just remove the skin as you carve or slice the shoulder.  However, I am going to continue to work on this recipe because I think that having crisp skin would really add to the sandwich.  I will continue to update this post as my work progresses....

A Chef Bolek Original
Serves 6 to 8

1 picnic shoulder (about three to four pounds)
1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, chopped finely
1 tablespoon of fresh sage, chopped finely
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme, chopped finely
3 garlic cloves, minced finely
2 teaspoons of sea salt
2 teaspoons of ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
1 cup of pork stock (or white wine)
Water, if needed
Kaiser buns or hoagie buns

1.  Prepare the picnic shoulder.  Combine the rosemary, sage, thyme, garlic, black pepper, crushed red pepper and salt.  Mix well.  Stir in the olive oil.  Score the skin on the shoulder.  Apply the rub to all sides.  Let the should rest at room temperature for about fifteen to twenty minutes.

2.  Roast the shoulder.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.   Place the shoulder in an oven safe pot or roasting pan.  Roast the shoulder in the oven for about two and one-half hours to three hours.  You want to reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. 


This recipe can be paired with either beer or wine.  With respect to beer, the best choice would be a pilsner or a hefeweizen.  The light body of these types of beers helps to cut through the rich and fatty tastes and texture of the pork shoulder.  With respect to wine, a wide range of lighter wines would pair well with this dish.  For example, a light, crisp white wine -- such as a Vinho Verde or a Pinot Gris -- will cut through the fat in the pork shoulder. A lambrusco or rose wine would also work well with this dish.  If you have to have a red wine, think of a Pinot Noir.  A couple of beers and wines that I have previously reviewed, that should work well with this dish include:

Dogfish Head Ales -- My Antonia
Delaware, USA
Flavors of malts with some hops

Famille Bougrier -- Rose d'Anjou
Loire Valley (D'Anjou), France
Flavors of strawberries and raspberries


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