Category Archives: Pork

Gyoza

Homemade gyoza, Japanese dumplings filled with pork and cabbage.

Pork and cabbage for the win! A combination that transcends continents. Gyoza are Japanese “pot-sticker” dumplings, usually filled with ground pork and cabbage, though shrimp is also common.

I love this preparation because it is primarily made of local ingredients I often have on hand (pork and cabbage) but of course with the Japanese pantry items that take it in a completely different direction.

This is a very simple recipe. The only nuance is that you should grind the pork in the manner described in this sausage-making introduction. In other words, the pork should be about 25-35% fat by volume (pork butt is ideal), and should be properly chilled before grinding, and should be thoroughly mixed with liquid (soy … Continue reading.

Cured Fatback – Lardo

Originally posted on July 5, 2014.

 

Cured fatback on toast.This post is about cured fatback, most commonly known by its Italian name lardo.

Fatback is the subcutaneous fat that covers the pork loin.  Resist the urge to say “back fat”: it’s called fatback.  Industrially-raised pigs are intentionally grown very lean, so the fatback is typically only an inch thick.  Heritage pigs can have three inches or more of fatback.  These are the animals you need in order to make lardo.

Two autumns ago I got a side of Tamworth pork from Nature’s Green Acres.  The fatback was two and a half inches thick in some places.  It was the first pig that I ever cut that truly deserved to have … Continue reading.

Plain Jane Garlic Sausage

It recently dawned on me that I don’t have any sausage recipes on this site.  Which is crazy.  So I’m going to post a bunch.  For details on procedure and technique, I have two posts linked below.  Also… I happen to be teaching a sausage-making class for Metro Continuing Education on October 19, 2016.

A plate of sausage, toast, apple sauce, and braised red cabbage.This simple sausage goes by many names in my house, among them “everyday sausage”, “plain Jane”, and occasionally “garlic brat”, though it is not a bratwurst in the strictest sense.[1]

I wanted a relatively neutral sausage that would go well with most of the food I cook at home, which I would describe as North American farmstead with a serious … Continue reading.

Blunz’n – Austrian Blood Sausage

A healthy portion of Blunz'n at an Austrian heurigerWhen I first had Blunz’n at a tavern in Austria I had a very narrow idea of what blood sausage was.  Most of the blood sausage I had eaten before this moment I had made myself, following recipes in Ruhlman’s Charcuterie and the Au Pied de Cochon cookbook.  These versions are simply pork blood studded with cubes of pork fat and onion.  The Austrian Blunz’n before me was radically different: it was soft and moist, but closer in texture to a dumpling then boudin noir, and it was burgundy, not black.

Before I left Austria I got a Blunz’n recipe from one of my chaperones.  I read through the recipe and thought there must have been some kind of … Continue reading.

Meatballs

Raw meatballs, ready for the ovenIn the summer of 2012 I spent a lot of time thinking about meatballs.  Mostly I thought about them as I was making them, which took several hours every other week.

They are a labour of love for certain.

Once you’ve mixed up the meat and the eggs and the milk and bread crumbs and whatever else you like, you could just press it into a loaf pan, call it meatloaf, and be done with it.  But you won’t do that, because you want meatballs.  Even though they’re awkward, and they roll around on your plate, and don’t quite fit into a submarine sandwich, you want them, because they’re fun.

And so you take the time to shape each … Continue reading.

Pork Tenderloin

Searing pork tenderloinPork tenderloin quickly roasted, sliced into blushing medallions, and served as a meal for two: this may be as intimate and elegant as fresh pork gets.

Every pig has two tenderloins that run under either side of the lower backbone.  Each tenderloin has a blunt end tucked into the pelvis, a roughly cylindrical cross-section through most of its length, and then a tapered end at the forward end of the pig.  (See this post on pork-cutting for more details and photos.)

As the name tells us, this cut is very tender.  It is also very lean – almost perfectly lean – so it doesn’t have much distinct pork flavour.

There is a band of silverskin on the tenderloin which … Continue reading.

Ribs

Side ribs smoking on the barbecueI think that no cut of pork is as mistreated as ribs.  In kitchens across the country, in homes and restaurants alike, folks are boiling, stewing, steaming, and baking pork ribs into mushy oblivion.

A shame, as there is nothing quite like a properly smoke-roasted pork rib glazed with zingy barbecue sauce.

There was a time when this was considered a poorman’s dish.  Perhaps it still is, but smoked pork ribs are a delicacy in my home.  We buy our pork by the side, and currently one side of pork lasts us about one year.  This means that we get at most one full slab of side ribs and one full slab of back ribs for every 365 days.  As … Continue reading.

Tourtière – Pork Pie

A traditional tourtière made for a NewYear's Eve réveillonTourtière is made differently in every home, and can incite intense feelings of loyalty to ones mother.  I will proceed cautiously with a definition, but I warn you: there are lots of qualifiers in this post.

Tourtière is meat pie.  It is often based on pork, though veal and game are also common.  If anyone tells you that it was traditionally made with pigeon, you can politely dismiss their story as folklore.  A false etymology has developed because of the similarity between the words for the pie tourtière and the Quebecois word for the now-extinct passenger pigeon, tourte.  Certainly many a pigeon has been baked into pie, but the similarity between the two words is entirely coincidental.  Tourte also … Continue reading.

Pork Liver Pâté

Seared liver and ground pork

“What the hell is pâté?”

Pâté is fancy French meatloaf: it’s ground meat, bound with dairy, eggs, and bread.  The only difference is that pâté usually contains some liver, and it’s usually eaten cold.  If it’s baked in a special ceramic dish, it can be called a terrine.

Within that definition, there is a spectrum of pâtés that runs from rustic to refined. The two qualities that decide a pâté’s place on the spectrum are texture and ingredients. Rustic pâtés are coarser in texture and made with cheaper, heartier ingredients, like liver. They are often described by words like campagne (“country”), grandmère (“grandma”), and maison (“house”). Refined pâtés have a finer, creamier texture and feature meat more prominently than liver. … Continue reading.

Pig Kill in Sangudo, Alberta

It takes a village to kill a pig.

-Jeffrey Steingarten

 

The drip cooler at Sangudo Custom MeatsThis happened ages ago, back in September, and Kevin has long since posted a fantastic video about it, but I want to write about a pork butchery workshop that took place out in Sangudo, Alberta.  The workshop was put together by Kevin Kossowan, and hosted by Jeff Senger of Sangudo Custom Meats.  The day started with the killing and processing of one of Jeff’s own pigs.  Since it was Saturday and there were no inspectors present, the kill took place on Jeff’s farm, then the pig was processed at Sangudo Meats.  The day continued with a hands-on meat-cutting class, and finally some demonstrations of sausage-making and other charcuterie preparations.  … Continue reading.