Braised shoulder of local Berkshire pork.

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Gadjobrinus

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It's the wrong time of year, but braising is my favorite way of cooking and when we came across this beautiful Berkshire pork at our local farmer's market, had to do it.
The shoulder is one of my favorite cuts from any animal - richly marbled with fat, and heavily vascularized, it renders up a rich moistness and depth of flavor I find in few other cuts. And of the pork breeds, Berkshire is one of my favorites.

We used to offer a "double chop". I butchered it off the loin, with ribs that began at the shoulder and extended 4 ribs down only - the shoulder end of a rack is going to have the nature described above. We made various uses of the rest of the animal, including the shank as described below. Each portion was two ribs, with one rib removed and the other cleanly frenched, so it presented as a center cut chop but with the extraordinary flavor of a shoulder or butt.
Another Berkshire item we used to serve was a shank braised with mirepoix, Normandy cider, a touch of sherry vinegar, and finished with calvados. Natural jus (as were all my sauces, whenever possible). Accompanied with roast quince.

This shoulder was boned out and liberally salted with coarse salt and peppered with freshly mortared coarse pepper; a prodigious amount of coarsely chopped garlic, thyme, oregano, sage, rosemary, marjoram, summer savory spread all over the interior; gathered and tied into a roast and seared off. Fresh chicken stock as a braising liquid (I do many different types of chicken stock - some very light, some, like this one, long-simmered for a deep meat and aromatic flavor and richness from a good extraction of gelatin). Touch of natural cider vinegar and 350 ml of hard dry cider.

Braised low and slow for several hours. When done, the meat was removed and the jus strained; meat chopped into large pieces; jus was reduced down; then the meat was placed into a 425F oven with about 1/2 the reduced jus, and glazed. The balance of the jus was further reduced and constantly skimmed to make a velvety, clean, natural sauce.

Finished plate. Polenta, kale. A few crystals of Maldon sea flakes and out. A very rustic meal, with certain refining elements I like to do for any meals, rustic or "haute cuisine".



braised berkshire pork.jpg
finished braised pork.jpg
 
I take pride in being rather competent in the kitchen, but then I see something like this... Wow, that's brilliant. Your depth of knowledge is fascinating and I learned a lot, I even bookmarked this post.


As a guy that enjoys braising, thank you!
 
A braising brother! :thumbsup: 👏👏
Growing up, we ate all of the animal, and most of the older generations having dentures, braising was a helpful technique. Then, as a young man, I realized I could eat for a full week on a cheap cut of meat if I fired up the oven on Sunday morning. Shame those cheap cuts ain't so cheap anymore.
 
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Growing up, we ate all of the animal, and most of the older generations having dentures, braising was a helpful technique. Then, as a young man I realized I could eat for a full week on a cheap cut of meat for a week if I fired up the oven on Sunday morning. Shame those cheap cuts ain't so cheap anymore.
Sadly a dying way of life. The British brewers I'm in touch with and I recently talked about it - no one understands where this comes from anymore. I go hunting in our northwoods with my son and feel it's an important yearly thing we do, to kill an animal that lived well, dress it in the field and butcher it with complete respect. Glad I can do this with him still.

Thanks for sharing buddy.
 
Sadly a dying way of life. The British brewers I'm in touch with and I recently talked about it - no one understands where this comes from anymore. I go hunting in our northwoods with my son and feel it's an important yearly thing we do, to kill an animal that lived well, dress it in the field and butcher it with complete respect. Glad I can do this with him still.

Thanks for sharing buddy.
I like your use of the word respect. Whether you raise, hunt, or catch the animal there's a certain respect that goes into what you do with that animal. It certainly isn't just "meat."
 
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