SEASONINGS,MARINADES, AND TIPSOne of the greatest things about cooking pork is all thecreative ways you can season it. It’s such a versatile meat, pairingbeautifully with spicy, savourysavoryflavors as well as sweet, fruity ones. Here are just some of my favorite waysto prepare pork, resulting in a dish loaded with exciting flavors.Before you season your meat, I’d advise trimming the layer of fat until it’sabout 1/8th1/8thof an inch thick.
This will allow your seasonings to better penetrate the flesh,while still keeping the meat juicy and tender.RUBSIf you’re cooking your pork in a smoker, you’ll probablywant to give it a nice ol’ rub beforehand. Rubs are mixes of spices and herbsthat you massage into the meat and allow to chill before cooking.
Your classic rub should be a balance of sweet and spicy. Try using twotablespoons of brown sugar, two tablespoons of salt, ¼ cup of chillichilipowder, ¼ cup of paprika, and ¼ cup of garlic powder. Massagethe mixture into your meat thoroughly before wrapping tightly in saran wrap andkeeping in your fridge overnight. The brown sugar will give a rich, caramelized sweetness to the meat, while thespices will bring out the pork’s natural savourysavoryflavors. This rub will give you a standard, traditional BBQ taste that willcompliment most of the dishes in this book.There are a variety of different rubs out there, so don’t be afraid to playaround. If you’re a fan of garlic, why not try swapping out garlic powder forfinely minced fresh garlic? Like your food a bit hotter? Add mustard powder orcayenne pepper to your rub.
Once you’ve mastered my basic rub, see where yourcreativity will take you! MARINADES AND BASESThough you’ll also be using a rub if you’re cooking with aslow-cooker or oven, the bulk of your flavor is going to come from what you putinto the dish with your pork.For this, you not only have to pay attention to flavor, but also moisture. Forcrockpot dishes, line the bottom of your crockpot with half a white onion,diced. Place your pork on top, then add a cup of vegetable stock, ¼ cup oftomato paste, a ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar, and 8ozoz. ofBBQ sauce. For cooking in the oven, the method is pretty similar.
Roast your pre-rubbedpork for an hour, then place in a deep roasting dish or dDutchoven lined with half a white onion, diced. Add the other ingredients, coverwith a lid or tightly wrapped foil, andcook. Another good base for dishes like these is to use 1 cup of apple juice insteadof the vegetable stock. You can also substitute the BBQ sauce with 1.5 cups ofketchup, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, and 2tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce.
Try them out and see which method youprefer!Don’t forget, if you want to recreate the hickory flavors of smoked BBQ pork,add 2 tablespoons of smoked paprika or a few drops of liquid smoke. This will giveyou an authentic smoky flavor, with none of the fuss!BRININGAnother popular question I get from aspiring BBQ-ers iswhether or not they should brine their pork before cooking.Brining involves soaking your meat in a mixture of salt, water,and sometimes other ingredients for anywhere from 12-24 hours before cooking.While there are certainly benefits to brining, it’s not essential.Brining can help keep your meat moist while cooking, but if you’re cookingusing a slow-cooker or oven this shouldn’t be an issue anyway. It can alsofurther infuse your meat with flavor, especially if you choose to add applejuice and/or maple syrup to your salt water mixture.If you’re curious and have time to spare, I’d recommend mixing 3 cups of waterwith ¼ cup of salt and allowing your meat to soak for 24 hours. A Boston Buttwon’t require brining, thanks to its good marbling.
But if you choose to cook aPicnic Shoulder, brining might help break down that connective tissue more,resulting in a more tender end product.Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s put your new knowledge to the testwith some mouth-watering recipes!