MARINADES, AND TIPS
One of the greatest things about cooking pork is all the
creative ways you can season it. It’s such a versatile meat, pairing
beautifully with spicy, savourysavory
flavors as well as sweet, fruity ones. Here are just some of my favorite ways
to prepare pork, resulting in a dish loaded with exciting flavors.
Before you season your meat, I’d advise trimming the layer of fat until it’s
of an inch thick. This will allow your seasonings to better penetrate the flesh,
while still keeping the meat juicy and tender.
If you’re cooking your pork in a smoker, you’ll probably
want to give it a nice ol’ rub beforehand. Rubs are mixes of spices and herbs
that you massage into the meat and allow to chill before cooking.
Your classic rub should be a balance of sweet and spicy. Try using two
tablespoons of brown sugar, two tablespoons of salt, ¼ cup of chillichili
powder, ¼ cup of paprika, and ¼ cup of garlic powder. Massage
the mixture into your meat thoroughly before wrapping tightly in saran wrap and
keeping in your fridge overnight.
The brown sugar will give a rich, caramelized sweetness to the meat, while the
spices will bring out the pork’s natural savourysavory
flavors. This rub will give you a standard, traditional BBQ taste that will
compliment most of the dishes in this book.
There are a variety of different rubs out there, so don’t be afraid to play
around. If you’re a fan of garlic, why not try swapping out garlic powder for
finely minced fresh garlic? Like your food a bit hotter? Add mustard powder or
cayenne pepper to your rub. Once you’ve mastered my basic rub, see where your
creativity will take you!
MARINADES AND BASES
Though you’ll also be using a rub if you’re cooking with a
slow-cooker or oven, the bulk of your flavor is going to come from what you put
into the dish with your pork.
For this, you not only have to pay attention to flavor, but also moisture. For
crockpot dishes, line the bottom of your crockpot with half a white onion,
diced. Place your pork on top, then add a cup of vegetable stock, ¼ cup of
tomato paste, a ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar, and 8
For cooking in the oven, the method is pretty similar. Roast your pre-rubbed
pork for an hour, then place in a deep roasting dish or dDutch
oven lined with half a white onion, diced. Add the other ingredients, cover
with a lid or tightly wrapped foil, and
Another good base for dishes like these is to use 1 cup of apple juice instead
of the vegetable stock. You can also substitute the BBQ sauce with 1.5 cups of
ketchup, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, and 2
tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. Try them out and see which method you
Don’t forget, if you want to recreate the hickory flavors of smoked BBQ pork,
add 2 tablespoons of smoked paprika or a few drops of liquid smoke. This will give
you an authentic smoky flavor, with none of the fuss!
Another popular question I get from aspiring BBQ-ers is
whether or not they should brine their pork before cooking.
Brining involves soaking your meat in a mixture of salt, water,
and sometimes other ingredients for anywhere from 12-24 hours before cooking.
While there are certainly benefits to brining, it’s not essential.
Brining can help keep your meat moist while cooking, but if you’re cooking
using a slow-cooker or oven this shouldn’t be an issue anyway. It can also
further infuse your meat with flavor, especially if you choose to add apple
juice and/or maple syrup to your salt water mixture.
If you’re curious and have time to spare, I’d recommend mixing 3 cups of water
with ¼ cup of salt and allowing your meat to soak for 24 hours. A Boston Butt
won’t require brining, thanks to its good marbling. But if you choose to cook a
Picnic Shoulder, brining might help break down that connective tissue more,
resulting in a more tender end product.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s put your new knowledge to the test
with some mouth-watering recipes!