Thursday, October 27, 2011

Adventures with Pork

I've never bought one of these things before, but I was feeling cocky. . .It's a bone-in picnic roast.  Cooking it was not a picnic.

If I hadn't consulted Julia, it probably would have been fine.  First off she told me, "The flavors of a marinade will penetrate pork more thoroughly if the meat is boned."

"Oh, great," I muttered.  I could foresee trouble as my butcher skills are practically non-existent.  I would have to find a recipe that didn't require marinating.

I pushed onward.  Julia described the different pork cuts.  Mine was next to last in the long list.  I read,

 "Picnic Shoulder or Shoulder Arm--No French equivalent."

  Ouch!  What an insult!

She went on to explain "part of it is palette; part is jambonneau."

I don't know what those words mean, but apparently my pork shoulder is some kind of half-breed, not worthy of a French equivalent.  My heart was sinking.  Then Julia moved in for the kill:

"This is lean meat and should be boned," 

How did she know I was looking for ways to get out of shoulder surgery? Drat and double drat!   Heaving a sigh, I resigned myself to the grisly ordeal.
Slowly, I inserted my knife into the meat alongside the bone and started working my way around it.  I pushed and sawed and hacked my way through until I conquered it at last.  It took me about ten minutes.

My poor roast certainly wasn't going to be featured in Bon Appetit.

Why butchers wear aprons.

Oh, well.  I proceeded to make up the marinade that Julia said was her favorite.  It was really a dry rub.  I tried grinding it with a mortar and pestle.  After three minutes of totally wasted effort, I got out the little electric spice mill.  Did you know that if you get in a hurry and take the lid off before the blade is completely done spinning,  you will be enveloped in a spice cloud, which will make you sneeze. (Yes, peppercorns.) Then the cloud rains on your countertop, appliances, and floor.

   Once I had the spice mixture rubbed in, I went to get my favorite huge yellow Tupperware bowl with the plastic lid.  I was going to put the roast in there and leave it in the refrigerator overnight.  I peered into the cabinet and found the bowl but no lid.  I got down on my hands and knees and rifled through the contents of the cabinet.  Still no lid.  

All of a sudden, I remembered where I had seen it last.  It was not the kitchen.

I went out to the garage and peered into the cat food can.
No lid.
I lifted out the bag of cat food.
No lid.
I poked all around the vicinity.
No lid.

Baffled, I went back to the kitchen.  While at the sink washing my hands, I spotted something out of the corner of my left eye.  No, it wasn't.  It couldn't be.  

It was. 
I must have brought it in recently to wash?  I don't remember.

At last I got the roast installed in the refrigerator.  Oh, the relief!  It was like I used to feel when Nathaniel was a toddler and I finally got him to bed for the night.

Thankfully, the rest of the preparation went smoothly, and I was pleased with the final result.  

1 comment:

Emily G. said...

Oh boy. I've never boned anything that big, but I'm sure it would have looked just as award-winning or worse when I was done. I once did two pounds of chicken thighs, and that was enough for me. After I diid it, I found out Kroger sells them boned and skinned, so I did 2 hours of work for nothing. My philosophy now is if it has bones, there they stay until the meat is cooked. Maybe someday I'll get braver. The roast looks beautiful all cooked, though. I bet it was very tasty.