Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Taster's Cherce Special Edition (c/o Alex Belth's Bronx Banter)

As a special edition to my good friend Alex Belth's blog Bronx Banter's feature section Taster's Cherce, I'm taking a ride up the kitchen isle in order to share a neat recipe that he sort-of made up while doing a little R&D in my apartment kitchen. So, while we wait for the Yankees to start up a new series in Arizona, why don't I talk about an experiment gone right with  pulled pork.

I've always had an interest in cooking cuisine of different sorts, but as some of you may know very well, I'm really picky.  My palate is not expansive enough to allow me the use of the word culinary in any description.  But like many people, I know what I like,  and I make a good effort to seek out well made treats or make what I like really well; I can go on for hours about pizza and burgers, for example.  Yet, as I got older (and fairly recently married), I found myself in a place where I need to impress someone who is almost as picky as I am.  Thus, the experimentation and discovery.  For example, I like pork, but I only used to like pork certain ways (would you believe that though I loved bacon and sausage as a child, I didn't like pepperoni on pizza?), but if you mixed it with something else, it was bound to dry up on my plate if I even dared to make an attempt to eat it.  For me, pulled pork was an accident; the pork chops or pork roast got way-overcooked and turned into a pile of rubber bands when I tried to cut into it. However, with experience (and the advent of YouTube), rubber bands turned into tender, juicy and spicy pork that you could further transform into a variety of tasty dishes. I'm about to share one, so don't laugh... yet.

Pulled Pork a la Chyll

You might need either a pressure cooker or a medium to large pot for this part, plus a foil or tin lasagna pan (at least 10" wide) for the second part

Ingredients -
  • 2lbs pork tenderloin
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/8 cup soy sauce*
  • 1/2 cup cherry pepper relish
  • 1 Tbs Italian seasonings
  • 1 tsp West African hot pepper powder
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup coarse sea salt or adobe*
*If you have high blood pressure, I would eliminate the soy sauce and/or the salt/adobe altogether or try a low-sodium alternative

If you are using a pressure cooker, pour the two cups of water in the bottom of the pot along with the soy sauce, cherry pepper relish, seasonings and hot pepper powder, then stir until everything is mixed. The West African hot pepper powder is very hot; a little goes a long way.  The cherry pepper relish actually has some sweetness to it, so it will balance with the hot pepper

Slather the entire pork tenderloin with olive oil, then cover with the salt or adobe.  Set on a wire rack inside the pressure cooker and seal, set to cook on high for 1 hr.

If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can slow-cook on a stove top by immersing the tenderloin in just enough water to cover in a medium-sized pot (not too much water mind you) after adding the other ingredients to the water (you might have to proportion them based on how much water you put in, but don't go crazy).  Simmer or slow-cook on stove top for up to four hours or until pork is fall-apart tender.

Now, here's the Chyll part:

  • 1 cup horseradish mustard
  • 1 cup steak marinade
  • 2 tbs soy or worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp West African hot pepper powder
Mix all of these ingredients together in a bowl and set aside until the tenderloin is ready.

Once The Pork Is Tender -
It should be fork-tender enough to rip pull into shreds (pull it apart with your hands or a couple of forks). Set aside the broth in the pot. Place the pulled pork in the lasagna pan so it's spread out in a fairly thin layer.  Liberally glaze the pulled pork with the mix, then place tray in oven preheated to 375 degrees for 1/2 hour.

When half-hour is up, you should notice that the pulled pork is caramelized by the mix and may even have some burnt tips.  Take tray out, pour enough of the broth to cover the entire bottom of the tray, cover with foil and set in oven to cook an additional 10-15 minutes.

This should allow the pork to absorb the spiced fluids so that it isn't too dry. When time's up, allow to stand for five minutes before serving.  You should notice the heat and spice form the first bite.  You can serve it any way you like.

Obviously, it's not traditional (I suppose most people like their pulled pork smothered in barbecue sauce), but it is flavorful to say the least.  You can adjust the ingredients to taste to give it less or more heat or spice, but the principle is really in the method of cooking it. When I made it for dinner recently, I used a pressure cooker and a NuWave infrared oven (which generally cooks faster than a traditional oven), and my choice of marinade was A-1 New York Steakhouse, but to each their own.  You could also go more Carib-style by adding veggies like bell peppers and onions in the oven part of the cooking or others.

But, my method turned out really well several times, so I decided to share it with you for those off days when the world events (or the 2019 Yankees) aren't liable to upset your stomach.  You can make fun of it if you like, or you can give it a culinary shot. From one picky eater to another, Enjoy! >;)

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