Pork of July

Warning:  this post is rated M for Meaty and may not be suitable for all audiences. Vegetarians and pork averse…Just sayin’.

While cooking out BBQ is the standard fare on the 4th of July, we like to infuse a little ethnicity into our holiday pork.  This year we made one dish to eat, one to freeze.  Tonight we had carnitas with chipotle avocado lime cream.  In future, we’ll be having lemongrass pork potstickers, or lettuce wraps or tossed with noodles etc….

You see, when you’re brining a hunk o’ meat. you might as well plan ahead.  We brined the butt for the carnitas and the tenderloins for the lemongrass pork all together.

The CC’s brine consists of: 2 quarts water, half cup molasses, 1.5 cups kosher salt, I TB juniper berries, 1 TB black peppercorns and 10 whole cloves.  ANY pork will greatly benefit from hanging out in this stuff overnight.

The next day, the butt gets a rubdown of of garlic powder, fresh ground cumin and coriander, cinnamon, fresh bay leaves and oregano.  It goes in the slow cooker with chicken broth and chipotle paste for 10 hours…

When done, break it down into small pieces and crisp up in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes….then…dinner!

During the 10 hours the carnitas cooked…the tenderloins were cooked in the oven, then the meat was diced and mixed with fresh lemongrass, scallions, ginger, garlic, chili garlic paste (found in asian markets) fish sauce, light brown sugar and crushed roasted and salted peanuts.  All go into a smoking hot wok.

We use this giant wok outdoors when we are cooking in bulk.  The burner underneath came with a turkey fryer and the wok was an estate sale find.

Once the pork is golden brown…we pack it into small parcels for future use.  We almost always use fresh cilantro when we eat it, but it doesn’t freeze well, so we add it fresh once thawed.

And that, my friends, is what we call the Pork of July.  Happy 4th!