Categories
Filipino pork recipes sandwiches

Homemade Pork Tocino

A few weeks ago, I got this urge to make my tocino, the sweet cured pork that’s a staple Philippine breakfast meat. It’s probably most commonly served as tosilog, which is portmanteau of tocino, sinangag (garlic fried rice), and itlog (eggs). (I discuss “silogs” in my Best Breakfast Ever post from a few years ago.)

Tosilog - Cherry GardenTosilog — the breakfast of champions (from Cherry Garden in Fremont, CA)

My first attempt at tocino used the simple salt/sugar/achuete cure from the book Memories of Philippine Kitchens by Chef Romy Dotoran and Amy Besa of New York’s famous-but-now-closed Cendrillon. but that recipe didn’t work for me at all. The tocino ended up being way too salty, and it was almost inedible. (There’s a good chance that the recipe’s failure was my fault, so I’ll have to revisit it one of these days.)

While discussing my tocino plans with a couple other food bloggers on Twitter, Mark Manguerra of No Special Effects said that he’d always want to try Simply Anne’s tocino recipe, so I decided to give it a shot. In short, the recipe is good and with a few adjustments, the tocino was exactly what I wanted.

Pork Tocino

(adapted from Simply Anne’s.)

3 lb. boneless pork shoulder roast
1¼ cups pineapple juice
½ cup ketchup
½ cup lemon-lime soda
1/3 cup light soy sauce
2 cups brown sugar
1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. Freeze pork shoulder roast for an hour or so to firm it up so that it’s easier to slice. Cut 1/4-inch slices of pork shoulder and place in a one gallon zipper-lock plastic bag.
  2. Mix the rest of the ingredients in bowl and then add to the meat. Seal the bag, doing your best to remove excess air. Let the pork cure in the refrigerator for a 4-5 days, flipping over the bag every day or so.
  3. After curing, you can either cook the meat or portion them off into smaller bags and freeze them.
  4. To cook the tocino, add a little water, marinade and a few slices of meat to a skillet. Over medium heat, let the liquid boil off and then fry the meat for a couple more minutes to caramelize it. There’s a lot of sugar in the marinade so make sure you don’t burn the meat.

    You can also grill the tocino, which is my ideal method, by searing both sides on a grill over high heat and then letting them finish cooking over low or indirect heat. You can replicate this method indoors using a grill pan to sear and a low oven (around 250F) to finish.

Grilled TocinoPan frying tocino is traditional, but I prefer it grilled.

There’s a lot of tocino in that picture, isn’t there? I’ll show you what I did with it in my next post… :)

Categories
David Chang Momofuku pork recipes

Chicharrones (Fried Pork Rinds)

Chicharrones

In my world, there is no finer snack than some chicharrones, a.k.a. fried pork rinds. It’s something I’ve been eating since I was a kid, and Filipinos love it with sukang sili (chili vinegar) and beer.

Over the past year, chicharrones have been embraced by the “mainstream” through the efforts of chefs like Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats, whose chicharrones, despite my initial apprehensions, are other worldly. They’re incredibly light and when they’re fresh, they snap, crackle, and pop in your mouth like porky Rice Krispies.

4505 Chicharrones

Because they’re so cheap and readily available near me, I’d never considered making chicharrones at home until a couple weeks ago. I had some pork skin left over after removing it to making the Momofuku Pork Belly, and it would be a shame to waste such a nice piece of pork skin. There’s also a recipe in the Momofuku cookbook since they serve a piece of chicharron to every guest as an amuse bouche at Momofuku Ko.

The process is pretty simple. First, put the pig skin in a pot of water and boil it for about an hour a half, then chill it in the refrigerator for a few hours.

Boiled and Dried Pig SkinPig skin after chillin’ out overnight.

Use a spoon to scrape off any excess fat left on the skin and put it in a food dehydrator for 12 hours. It should look like a brown piece of plastic.

Dehydrated Pig SkinBreak this into small pieces and fry them up.

Next, break the dehydrated pig skin into 1×2-inch pieces. This doesn’t have to be exact, as the small pieces make nice chicharrones, too. Heat some oil (preferably one with a high smoke point) to between 390-400F in a deep pot. Drop a piece of pig skin into the oil and agitate it a bit until it puffs up. This should take about 10 seconds. Fry each piece one at a time, so they don’t stick together. Here’s a short iPhone video I shot to give you an idea of how long it takes.

After frying, season the hot chicharrones with a mixture of equal parts togarashi (Japanese 7-spice powder), sugar, and kosher salt. Serve them hot or at room temperature. You should eat them within a few days when they’re still crunchy, but I doubt these will last more than a few minutes. :)

Categories
cookbooks David Chang Momofuku pork recipes

Cook the Book: Momofuku – Pork Belly Buns

It’s Day 2 of Momofuku Week at Inuyaki and today’s post on Pork Belly Buns is a great way to use the Pork Belly I wrote about yesterday.

Momufuku Pork Belly BunsMomofuku Pork Belly Buns

The Momofuku pork buns quickly (and inadvertently) became one of Noodle Bar’s signature items, and it’s nice to be able to recreate them at home. It’s basically a steamed bun with slices of pork belly, quick-pickled cucumbers, hoisin sauce, and green onions. My wife decided to pickle both cucumbers and carrots, and she julienned both instead of slicing them because it would be prettier.

The recipe for the steamed buns is in the book (link below), but I didn’t have time to make them, so I picked some up in the freezer section of a local Asian supermarket. They’re a little too thick and not as good as fresh, but they did the job. The second time I made this, I found a different style of buns in the refrigerated section of the market that were bigger and rounder and accommodated 2 slices of pork belly easily.

Momofuku Pork Belly Bun

Steam the buns for a couple minutes until they’re heated through. While the buns are steaming, cut 1/2-inch slices of belly across the grain and warm them up before using—I grilled them in a cast iron skillet for about a minute a side. Depending on how big your buns are, you may have to cut the belly slices in half to get them to fit on the bun.

To assemble the pork belly buns, open up a bun and brush some hoisin sauce on top and bottom halves. Put the pork belly slices on the bottom half and pickled cucumbers and carrots on the top half. Garnish with a little green onion and eat immediately.

For reference, here’s what the pork belly buns look like when the restaurant serves them up (from our trip to Noodle Bar in September).

Pork BunsThe “real” Momofuku Pork Belly Buns

Download PDF excerpts of these recipes (via Time Out New York):

Tomorrow: Ginger Scallion Noodles

Categories
cookbooks David Chang Momofuku pork recipes

Cook the Book: Momofuku – Pork Belly

Momofuku Week is a new series I made up yesterday after realizing an epic post I was writing about cooking from the Momofuku book was going to be too long. I decided to break up the posts over the next week since I’ve made enough dishes from the book to cover about a week’s worth of posts already.

Momofuku Pork BellyPork belly fresh out of the oven.

Momofuku’s pork belly is really easy to make, which is good because it’s used in a lot of other recipes in the book, including the famous pork buns, ramen, and sam gyup sal ssam. This was the only the second time I’ve ever made pork belly, and it’s safe to say that it was rousing success. (My first attempt at cooking pork belly was a sous vide version that was good, but I didn’t know what the hell I was doing at the time either.) I also have a piece of pork skin in the freezer waiting to become chicharrones. If I’m lucky, that might be the end of this week. :)

A skinless three-pound slab of pork belly sits in a simple 1:1 salt/sugar cure for between 6 to 24 hours. After discarding any excess liquid, put it roasting or baking dish and roast it fat side up in a 450F oven for an hour, basting it with rendered fat halfway through. Then reduce the oven temperature to 250F and cook it for another hour or so until the pork belly is tender and has—as the book says—”a down pillow-like yield to a firm finger poke.”

After cooking, save the rendered fat and cool the belly till you can handle it. Wrap it in plastic or foil and refrigerate until needed—the belly is easier to cut into uniform pieces when it’s cold. When you’re ready to use the pork belly, cut 1/2-inch slices from the short end of the belly (against the grain) and warm it up. I like to use a cast iron skillet over medium heat to lightly char each piece of pork belly on both sides.

Download a PDF excerpt of this recipe (via Time Out New York):

Tomorrow: Momofuku Pork Belly Buns.

Categories
Northern California pork

The Porky Delights of PigEat Fest 2009

Pigtail!

Last Saturday, I attended the fundraiser known as PigEat Fest at San Fransisco’s Lake Merced. Benefiting the SF Food Bank, PigEat Fest is the brainchild of my friend Euge and is the fourth fundraiser he’s organized for the SF Food Bank over the years. Every dollar raised equals $9 worth of food, and PigEat Fest raised more than $2,500 ($24,500 in food). In total, Euge’s fundraisers have raised $11,500 for a whopping $103,500 of food. Good job, Euge!

*drool**DROOL*

Of course, the stars of the day were two Clark Summit Farm pigs that were alive two days before the event, so they were extremely fresh. They were cooked in La Caja Chinas by AJ, who had previous experience roasting pigs in the Chinese boxes, including a stint in the kitchen at Ad Hoc for their Swine & Wine dinner in March. You’re in good hands when AJ is in charge.

The pigs took around five hours to cook and were definitely worth the wait. I’ll just let the pictures roll by now. :)

Open-face PigWhen we arrived at around 12noon, the pigs were well on their way.
Scored Skin (before)When the pig reaches temperature, it’s flipped over and the skin is scored.
Scored Skin (after)Look how pretty the pig is when the skin crisps up.
A little piece of brain...Brains…
The Bootyand booty!
Puffy EarsThe puffy ears were prized delicacies.
Beautiful SkinGimme that skin!

The pigs were served with three delicious sauces, all courtesy of AJ: a mojo made from the roasted pig’s juices, a rich Filipino lechon sauce, and a North Carolina-style vinegar sauce. One pig was more than enough to feed the approximately 100 people in attendance, which meant that many of us took some of the second pig home with us. A lot of us, myself included, hovered around the table like vultures as the smaller more delectable pieces of meat (i.e. cheeks) and crispy pig skin were made available to us. (I should note that there was plenty of other food available since attendees were encouraged to bring food and drink to share with the group.)

To say that PigEat Fest was a success for both the eaters present and the SF Food Bank is a mild understatement. Can’t wait to do it again soon!

Categories
Ad Hoc pork Thomas Keller

Ad Hoc Going Whole Hog at ‘Swine and Wine’

Ad Hoc is hosting its first-ever whole hog dinner on Wed., March 25. The four-course, prix-fixe dinner dubbed “Swine and Wine” revolves around Ross Shoop pigs that are roasted Cuban Style in a Caja China.

Produce for the meal will be straight from The French Laundry garden up the street. Former TFL pastry chef Claire Clark is still around and will be creating a dessert, but it looks like this meal is her last hurrah. Bohemian Creamery will be supplying the cheese and Dave Miner of the Miner Family Vineyard is providing the wine. All food producers will be on hand to talk to guests at this event.

This special meal is $65, which includes wine and all other beverages. First seatings are at 5:30 and 6:00pm and second seatings are at 8:00 and 8:30pm. Call Ad Hoc now (707.944.2487) if you’re interested in attending because space is filling up fast.

(Picture from the Ad Hoc Web site)

Categories
barbecue pork recipes sauces

Pulled Pork (and Smoking Flower Pots)

My Lazy Barbecue posts (beef ribs and tri-tip) were an easy and convenient way to make barbecue in an oven, but it also stoked my dormant curiosity about smoking meats…with real smoke. We’re technically not allowed to grill or barbecue where we live, so I started looking for ways to build a smoker that didn’t look so conspicuous. Google eventually led me to an old episode of Alton Brown’s Good Eats where he made a smoker out of a terra cotta flower pot and bowl and an electric hot plate. I’ll write more about the smoker in another post since i want this one to focus on this:


Pulled Pork and Baby Back Ribs

(I’ll talk about the ribs some other time…let’s just discuss the pulled pork.)

Making pulled pork is pretty simple. For this attempt, I coated the entire pork butt with yellow mustard and then sprinkled the meat with a barbecue spice rub and let sit in the refrigerator uncovered for 18 hours. Generally, pork butt is smoked for more than 12 hours at a fairly low temperature (usu. between 225-250F) until the meat reaches a temperature of 195F.

From what I’ve read, the meat stops “absorbing” smoke at around the 3–4 hour mark and any time after that just adds to the smokey bark that accumulates on the meat. Since I was using an electric hot plate and didn’t want to leave it on overnight, I smoked the meat for around 4 hours at an average temp of 240F and then double wrapped it in heavy duty foil and put it in a 225F oven to finish.

The total cooking time was around 16 hours, and after I took it out of the oven, I put it in an empty ice chest where it rested until I was ready to pull the pork and serve it. Here’s what it looked like after removing it from the foil. The “gap” in the meat is where the shoulder bone used to be.


Finished Pork Butt

Categories
bacon entertainment musings pork

The Bacon Flowchart

I found this on Flickr, but don’t know its origins. Anyway, that doesn’t matter. Just click on the picture so you can read it.

It’s funny.

I swear.

Bacon Flowchart, originally uploaded by ChrisL_AK.
Categories
barbecue dessert drinks Filipino pork reviews sandwiches Southern California

The Oinkster

The OinksterWhen I’m home in SoCal, heading out to Eagle Rock isn’t normally on the agenda, especially for food. But when some friends told me about The Oinkster’s house-cured pastrami sandwiches and ube milk shakes, Eagle Rock started sounding mighty nice.

The Oinkster is the brainchild of Andre Guerrero, a Filipino American chef who’s a veteran of the Southern California restaurant scene. His other restaurant, Max in Sherman Oaks, offers contemporary Pan-Asian fine dining that’s a stark contrast to The Oinkster’s laid-back, order-at-the-counter vibe. (We also took my parents to Max for a Mother’s/Father’s Day dinner, so basically it was an Andre Guerrero weekend.) We ended up going to Oinkster twice in four days and were able to try a good cross section of the menu.

The Oinkster Pastrami sandwich is a thing of beauty—pastrami with Gruyere and a red cabbage slaw. The pastrami is cured for two weeks (the old-fashioned way) according to a recipe Guerrero developed over a period of two years. It’s not a melt-in-your-mouth pastrami like they have at Katz’s in New York, but it’s definitely the some of best pastrami I’ve had on the West Coast.


Oinkster Pastrami

Aside from the sandwiches, the pastrami also tops the Royale burger, and it’s also featured in their excellent chili. If you’re from Southern California, you’ve likely had a chiliburger at one of the many Original Tommy’s hamburger stands that are down here. Tommy’s chili is legendary in L.A., so it may be blasphemous of me to say this, but…The Oink’s chili is so much better. In fact, I don’t know what I really saw in Tommy’s chili other than the novelty of it. I went back to Tommy’s with my wife a few months ago, and on its own, the chili reminded me of dog food. It really needs to be paired with fries or a burger. The Oink’s chili can definitely stand on it’s own, and it has a freshness that you’ll never get from Tommy’s chili.

Categories
Ad Hoc pork reviews Thomas Keller

Ad Hoc (10.07.07)

We’ve been trying to stay away from Ad Hoc until my birthday (and fried chicken night) on the 22nd, but last weekend, my friend Patty called and said she was going to be in the Bay Area before going home to Thailand, and she really wanted to go to Ad Hoc. Who was I to refuse?


Garbure
cannelini beans, haricots verts, savoy cabbage
sweet potatoes and butternut squash

~

Snake River Farms
Braised Pork Short Ribs

on faro with toasted pecans, shaved celery
and splenda apple sauce

~

Gubeen
spiced concord grape jelly
baguette croutons

~

Ice Cream Sundaes
candied pecans, fresh blueberries
chocolate and caramel sauce

This particular visit was notable because the cheese course ended up being a pseudo-chemistry lesson. Gubeen, a pungent cow’s milk cheese from Ireland, was paired with a spicy housemade Concord grape jelly and crispy baguette croutons. Gubeen smells and tastes kinda like garbage, and eating it on its own wasn’t very pleasant. I almost didn’t want to try another bite. But when you combine the Gubeen with the jelly and the croutons, you see why this pairing works. The jelly was more like a grape syrup with a hint of cayenne for heat, and it cut the intensity of the Gubeen, making it a lot more palatable. It’s definitely not the best cheese course I’ve had at Ad Hoc, but it was certainly the most interesting.


[pictobrowser type=”flickr” userID=”arndog” albumID=”72157602311124802″]

This was also the first time I’ve had soup as a starter at Ad Hoc. The Garbure, a light soup featuring cannelini beans, haricots verts, savoy cabbage, sweet potatoes and butternut squash, was hearty and delicous without being too filling. The main course was Snake River Farms pork short ribs, which were excellent. Prepared sous vide, the pork was juicy and tender and the sweet apple flavor really came through. The rib bones were also included, which contained some of the best fatty meat of the evening. It was served on top of faro, a barley-like “supergrain” that apparently fed the ancient Egyptians, but a vegetable side dish was nowhere to be found, which was unusual for Ad Hoc. Some greens would have been nice.

All in all, another solid meal at Ad Hoc, but I’m really looking forward to my birthday fried chicken.

INFORMATION
Ad Hoc
6476 Washington St.
Yountville, CA 94599 map
707.944.2487