Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mom, Dad, & the Smoked Pork

My parents were in town last weekend. They’ve lived in Ontario since 1996 or 1997 (taking a 5 year break to live in Vancouver). They decided to come for a visit because we wouldn’t really have time to see them before the wedding so they came to us. (By the way, this Saturday, August 8th, it was 4 weeks until the big day.) Well anyhoo, the first night we made braised lamb shanks and beef ribs with a puréed zucchini / leek soup and a version of Caesar salad with Kyle’s home made Caesar dressing and ciabatta croutons. That was a lovely dinner, but not interesting enough for the C & O. The bigger adventure was the smoked pork the next night. That was excellent! There were a few hiccups along the way, we were late getting back from my grandfather’s house and weren’t sure that we would have enough time in the smoker. Also, I’m afraid we did brine it for too long. It should have been in there for probably 8-10 hours, not overnight. I don’t understand why you can take a turkey, put it in a brine for 24h and have it turn out fine, but a 4” x 10” x 17” piece of pork absorbs too much salt? The meat on the turkey certainly isn’t that thick! There’s a giant cavern inside! This definitely calls for some internet research; or perhaps a letter to Ted Allen and his Detectives. Ok back on track, the final meal was Smoked Pork (some sort of giant rib / loin cut), celery root purée, and roasted broccoli, courtesy of The Amateur Gourmet, (It’s the only way Kyle will eat broccoli)


Starting Saturday, we cleaned out the cooler, then lined it with as much ice and cool packs as we could find. We took out massive piece of pork and put it in two garbage bags (I still kind of felt like the cooler was dirty) and filled it with brine. 2 cups kosher salt, 1 cup brown sugar, equal parts onion powder and garlic powder, it probably amounted to about 2 – 3 tbsp each, but that’s really up to you.

There it stayed for 24h, but like I said, it probably should have been in there for less time.

Sunday, afternoon, we took it out and rinsed it, patting it dry with paper towels and then let it air dry for about ½ an hour. Then we applied the rub. Unfortunately my mother was in the shower at the time so I had to sit around with my hands caked in rub until she finished….
The rub consisted of Paprika, chilli powder, garlic powder, coriander, a bit of brown sugar, a bit of salt, and black pepper. After that, the meat went in the fridge and we went out.

When we returned a few hours later, the pork was removed from the fridge and left out to come to room temperature (otherwise it lowers the temperature in the smoker or the oven too much.)
It went in for 2 hours at 220°C.

In the meantime, a large celery root (or celeriac) was being hacked to little uniform ½” bits. Its cries went unanswered.

I also roughly chopped about 6 cloves of garlic. Don’t be afraid of the garlic, oddly enough we’ll boil the whole thing so the garlic will lose its potency.

In a pot of boiling water, add the celery root, and most of the garlic,
reserving 4 or 5 good chunks, or more. Cook for about
8 minutes or until the celery root is tender but not mushy.

And drain.

Heat a little olive oil in the bottom of the pot that you boiled the celery root and garlic in and fry the chunks until there is the tiniest bit of browning. Then remove from the heat and add the reserved uncooked garlic chunks, a splash of cream or milk and some butter (about 1 tbsp of butter, cream quantity depends on the consistency you desire). Either blend it with an immersion blender (easiest solution) or pour the mixture in batches into a blender or food processor and purée smooth. Add salt and white pepper (or black if you don’t mind the little black specks).

The last thing we did was the roasted broccoli. It was something that I originally spotted on the Amateur Gourmet blog, but apparently it should originally be credited to Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa. It’s amazing; I didn’t think you could roast broccoli (Borkly) but it ends up nutty and not overcooked and sucks up so much flavour from whatever else you put in it. I cut up 2 heads of broccoli (florets only, for Kyle) and put into a roasting pan along with a few tablespoons of oil (enough to coat the Borkly) 6-8 cloves of garlic, sliced; the zest of 2 lemons, either shaved on a microplane or zested and then chopped, and some salt and pepper.
A few years ago in an Indian market I wandered over to the produce department to my simultaneous delight and horror, I saw that ‘Borkly’ was on sale that week. Borkly bears an uncanny resemblance to broccoli. So from that day on, broccoli became borkly in the SnookRoussel residence.

The borkly went into the oven at 350°F for 25 minutes.
Half way through, stir it around and turn the pan.
After 25 minutes, remove from oven and toss with the juice of one lemon and as much parmesan as you want. In the picture you can see we covered it in tinfoil, but that was just to keep it warm, you do not have to.

Once the meat came out of the smoker, we let it rest for about 15 minutes covered in foil, and then sliced it thinly.

There was still a giant chunk left over that we have since eaten for lunch and added to pea soup in place of bacon, and even turned into tiny appetizer-sized souvlaki / pork shish taouks.

Kyle made a quick barbeque sauce to accompany the meat (I’ll let him tell you that recipe), and we’re off to the races.

Actually we nearly forgot to take a final picture. Everyone had gobbled their food down so quickly that we had to remake the plate for the picture. So it is a touch on the messy side.
(The food stylist will be fired)

Upcoming projects include: Steamed pork buns, homemade orecchiette with mushroom herb sauce, and 1000 gallons of sage parmesan butternut soup. Ok maybe not 1000 gallons, but it’s for the wedding (3 ½ weeks away) so it’s going to be huge!
Thanks everyone! Remember, suggestions always welcome.