For this week’s recipe, my hot gf requested that I pick up some beer from my apartment fridge. She had a bottle of Stella at her place, but apparently this wasn’t sufficient. She required something “better”, though I think Stella’s branding team would take offense considering they market themselves to be “the finest of beers”. I’m not a fan of their beer myself, which is why I preferred she use it rather than one of the tasty Long Trails I brought back from our Vermont ski trip, but I suppose I could part with just one. She went with the White IPA after I pleaded not to use my Black Rye IPA. I’m becoming a real beer and coffee snob lately.
Chef’s Note: I wanted to keep the Stella for myself and use one of the boyfriend’s beers because he drinks too much anyway. I also thought a darker beer would be better for this pork, but in reality could you use Stella? Sure. Could you use Bud Light? I guess. The pork is slow cooking in the oven for hours so no matter what it’s going to have a ton of flavor. Side note: He “forgot” to pay rent last month, but has no issue buying a 4 pack of beer for $30 or a $6 latte. I made him coffee the other day and he didn’t like it, explaining it was nowhere near as good as the coffee shops he now often frequents.
After opening the beer for her, I returned to the couch. Within a few minutes, she called me back over. “Can you help me? I need you to salt and pepper it. My hands are all porky.”
I started shaking the salt above the pork. When I felt I had added enough, she instructed me to put more. “Liberally,” she coached me, “It’s a lot of meat.” I rolled my eyes and dumped more. Then I began grinding the pepper on top and she promptly stopped me. “That’s too much,” she scolded.
“That’s because you can’t see salt!” I snapped. I put the pepper mill down.
She flipped the hunk of meat and I systematically seasoned each of the 3 other sides and both ends to her liking. When we were done, she picked the whole thing up and put it in the crockpot. Then she poured in her mixture of seasonings.
Chef’s Note: The boyfriend keeps calling it a “crockpot” when in actuality it is a Dutch oven. When I explained to him that these are 2 different things he asked me why I used a Dutch oven. Generally anything you can cook in a Dutch oven you can also cook in a slow cooker (“Crock-Pot” is the trademarked name). The main reason I used a Dutch oven is because I didn’t feel like waking up early to prep this recipe. It’s wintertime here, and I’m lazy. Slow cookers are good when you have a busy day ahead. Thankfully I had nothing else to do today so I opted for the Dutch oven. Another benefit is you only use one pot. You sear the meat and retain all the flavor from that sear throughout the slow cooking process. Your cooking time is roughly cut in half when you use a Dutch oven.
I heard something sizzling and walked into the kitchen where I was greeted by an aromatic euphoria. “Oh my god, that smells so good,” I announced, as the scent of garlic, beer, maple syrup, brown sugar and spices all rolled into one wafted through my nostrils.
“Here it goes. Say bye-bye.” She picked up the
crockpot Dutch oven, letting out an “oomph” as she did so, and bent over to put it in the oven. She closed the door, took a seat on the couch with me, and proceeded to give an elaborate lesson on the difference between crockpots and Dutch ovens.
As far as I knew this whole time, Dutch ovens were something I do to rudely punish her on evenings I drink too much. Apparently they are devices that cook food too. You learn something new everyday. After seeing how one operates, I now understand the notion of “trapping the smell”, though the smell she is trapping is significantly better than mine tend to be. Farrrr from aromatic. Meanwhile, she just told me she finds it ironic that we are talking about smells when she is making a pig’s butt–and yet, I’m the one with the juvenile sense of humor?
After sitting on the couch for roughly thirty minutes, I wondered when she planned on returning to to her rightful place in the kitchen to finish up. “So are you going to get back to work so I can eat?”
“It’s pretty much done. I’ll baste it a few times and check on it, but that’s about it for the next three hours. You’re stuck with me now,” she replied.
“Cool,” I said. In my head I’m thinking I going to need a snack and at least 2 more beers. I also know she can’t go three hours without any plans, so something must be coming up.
“Do you mind going to Kristina’s with me to pick up a coat rack?” she asked.
Ugh. I knew it was coming. Her friend is moving out this week and this is the third time she’s requested I go there. Last time it was so I could “protect them” in case a Craigslist buyer decided to pull a gun instead of pick up a dresser. I don’t know what they thought I was going to do? Block the bullets? I suppose it’s a fair trade-off for her dinners.
Whelp, off to get this coat rack! Looks like my hot gf isn’t going to be so lazy today after all. For those of you not feeling lazy about cooking dinner, here’s a new recipe to keep you occupied. She paired this with Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin. Enjoy!
Sunday Roast Pork
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook time: 4 hours Serves 4-6, depending how hungry your diners are!
- *4lb. pork butt
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp worcestershire
- 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
- **12 oz beer
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 4 garlic cloves, small to medium in size
- 1 tsp good maple syrup
- 4 dashes of Tabasco
- 2 tsp ancho chili powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp coriander
- pinch of nutmeg
- pinch of cinnamon
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp Wondra
- salt, freshly ground pepper
-Preheat oven to 450º.
- In a small bowl whisk together the brown sugar, Worcestershire, soy sauce, beer, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, Tabasco, ancho chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, coriander, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
- Make 4 slits on the meaty side of the pork and insert the garlic cloves.
- Liberally season the pork with salt and pepper.
- Heat vegetable oil in dutch oven over medium high heat. Sear all sides of the pork starting with the fatty side. This will take about 15-20 minutes.
- Cover and bake for 15 minutes on 450º. Then, lower to the oven to 275º and cook 2-3 hrs - I ended up cooking mine for 2.5 hours but this might vary slightly depending on your oven. My roast was also exactly 3.84lbs. The meat will be so tender it pulls apart with a fork.
- Once pork is done remove it from the pot. Skim fat off of the remaining liquid in the pot and heat the sauce on low. Add in the Wondra (or regular flour) and stir. The sauce will start to thicken slightly.
- Serve the pork with the sauce and enjoy. This makes great leftovers, especially if you make pulled pork sandwiches - that’s my plan!
*Your pork might come wrapped in kitchen string, if it is remove this prior to cooking.
**I used Long Trail Farmhouse White IPA. You do not need to use this exact beer, but I do recommend something full-bodied and rich. A porter or stout would also work well.