Wednesday, April 07, 2010

To shred or not to shred:

I don't know about you folks but I think about spicy pork a lot.  Pioneer Woman Cooks has a good recipe.  This one seems a little...white bread.  The foundation of mine came from Robert Rodriguez's Ten Minute Cooking SchoolOver the years it has changed and developed based on the factors of: what I have on hand, what new spices I have burning a hole in my pocket, whether the wind is Southerly, and my sobriety.

There has been one change I have maintained though, my pork isn't shredded or pulled or left in chunks or rough chopped.  I cut the pork into cubes initially and then let everything cook until it becomes almost the consistency of dense, chunky chili. 

Now before you get all uppity, I love pulled pork more than I love ham, and I fucking love ham.  If there's one major problem I have with the great state of Texas it is that they are not real hip to the swine.  That being said, I am also a sauce man (preferably on the side in the case of pulled pork) and simply adroitly drizzling some au jus over the pulled or shredded pork with pinkie extended just doesn't hack it for me.  No sir.  While it may look prettier plated and food pron atmosphered, with Giata cooing over it I think that's a crime. 

For me pulled pork is mayhem food, an orgy of feeding during which I use my arm to wipe my mouth and I get sauce in my nose (See also: Joshua and the Destruction of the Crawfish, Joshua Attacks a Giant Pile of Crabs, and Joshua Nearly Bites Off a Finger While Eating Ribs, Vol 2).

In order to really get that melding of meat and sauce I believe that whatever method you use to cook your pork, return it to the pot after chopping, slicing, dicing, pulling, or shredding.  Get every damn drop of goodness mixed in with the meat (the dregs of it can be mopped up with bread).

This is my favorite stage because all the chunks can be mushed with a wooden spoon to varying degrees.  Lower the heat even more, go have another beer (or two), smoke some smokes, and voila.  This is also the stage I make my sides - usually rice.

I prefer my method over plain old shredding because no matter what the shredded always kind of end up dry and brittle or gloppy and flacid.  Plus it loses something from the pot, don't get me wrong it's still swine and I'll still eat it.  I'll just take my portion back to the kitchen and throw it in the pot goo. 

p.s.

Enough with the cumin.  No mas.  It makes everything taste like generic Mexican food.

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