Let’s Talk Pork

Rack of pork roast

     And no, this topic has absolutely nothing to do with wasteful government spending. Our topic does have everything to do with the preparation of what’s been called “the other white meat.”

     It seems to me the majority of the really bad meals I’ve eaten over the course of my life have involved pork. I’ve choked down uninteresting, unpalatable, and barely digestible roasts, loins that couldn’t be saved no matter how much sauce was ladled over them, and chops that could have been better used as shingles nailed to the roof of a house. Quite simply, if it is not cooked properly, it will taste dry, have very little flavor, and will be a tough chew. This is usually the result of either cooking the meat too long or selecting a cut that lacks enough fat to make it moist. In either case the outcome is less than desirable.

     But don’t give up on pork. There are cooking options to lessen the chances of this happening. Methods such as braising or slow cooking can take an inexpensive cut and turn it into a delightful main course that is tender and flavorful. Another method is to cut it into thin slices (medallions) and quickly sear them before the moisture has a chance to cook away. And yet another method is where bacon or prosciutto are wrapped around the pork to lend fat which in turn lends moisture and flavor to the cut.

     Pork can also be brined. This method will not only add moisture, but it also seems to add a bit more latitude to the cooking times (they needn’t be quite as exact if your selection has been brined). The downside to this is I think it adversely affects the flavor of the pork.  

     My new favorite way to cook pork is to purchase a roast in the form of a 5-bone rack. If you want to get fancy, have the butcher “French” the bones. It will make for a delightful presentation, and you will have a beautiful roast that will supply you with the best pork (or possibly the best meat) you have ever tasted. Visit the Pork Rack With Morel Mushroom Pan Sauce recipe under the Classic Dishes section of Recipes.

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