Monday, March 12, 2018

Jerk Pork Braise

Keeping with the braised meats theme, another recent dinner was for a pork shoulder roast braised with jerk seasonings for a long time at low oven temperature. Not only does it taste wonderful, but your kitchen will smell great because first you rub the roast with the jerk seasonings and then you brown it. During the browning there is a lot of fragrant smoke. While it cooks more of those great smells drift out, making it hard to wait until the meat is truly cooked to falling apart.

I don't own stock in either King Arthur Flour or Penzey's spices, but maybe I should. They are my go-to sources for specialty flours (King Arthur) and the best spices around (Penzey's). I'm lucky that there is a Penzey's retail store in Santa Rosa, so not too far away, which means that I can buy a spice or herb the day I need to use it. They often have an additional small jar of spice that they give for free when you purchase some, which is a great way to find out about more of their products. The same is true for online purchases, so check them out if you prize excellence in herbs and spices.

When I visited our daughter in the LA area in mid-February, she wanted to invite the neighbors over and so we cooked this recipe in her InstaPot using the pressure cooker feature and the Penzey's Jerk Pork spice. I decided to try cooking the same recipe in a slow oven since I don't have an InstaPot and I do have wonderful cast iron dutch ovens. At her house we browned the beast of a roast (something like 8 pounds!) in her 10-inch cast iron skillet because it was too large to brown in the appliance. At home I was able to easily brown the much smaller (about 4 pounds) roast in my dutch oven on top of the stove, then add some broth and put on the lid. Easier clean up.

Do be patient and give the meat proper cooking time.As you can see from the photo, it is suppose to fall apart and be very tender. I served ours with coleslaw and baguette for sopping up the juices, but you can also serve it with rice or mashed potatoes or with rolls...just know that you are going to want to enjoy the juices along with the meat.

Jerk Pork
Serves 4-6

4 lb pork shoulder roast (if bone-in try for 5 lbs)
3-4 tablespoons jerk pork seasoning - I used Penzey's
1 cup broth - either beef, chicken, or vegetable - I used chicken
olive oil for browning

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Rinse and dry the pork shoulder roast. If there is a netting holding the roast together, remove the netting and discard it. Rub the roast all over generously with the jerk pork seasoning.

In a large dutch oven or other heavy oven-proof pot with tight lid, heat about a tablespoon olive oil until almost smoking hot. Brown the roast all over. Take care to keep the smoke away from you, especially your eyes and breathing since the browning spices are pungent. I used my over stove fan at the highest setting it would go.

Remove pot from the heat and add the broth. Cover and place in the preheated oven. Cook for 3 hours, checking halfway through (and as often as needed after that) to make sure that there is still enough broth in the bottom to keep it from burning. Add more broth as needed.

When meat is tender, remove from oven. Let sit 5 minutes. Remove from pot and either slice or shred. Serve at once with any juices still in the pot.

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