As many of you know, over a year and a half ago I moved to London to attend culinary school. Many people questioned my choice to study cuisine in Great Britain – a place not known for its national foods. However, like several characters in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, I have always regarded London as a sort of dream world – different and modern in many ways. Thankfully, my experience with the city has been much more pleasant than those of Huxley’s account. Every day I take delight in the people, history, and – the reason I originally moved here – food.
Though culinary school perfected my butchery, seasoning, and knife skills, there is still one aspect of my repertoire that feels very shaky: cooking meat to perfection. It terrifies me that the difference of two minutes over high heat could determine whether a pork loin is meltingly moist or tough as rope. However, there is one flawless method that – by leaving a substantial time and temperature margin – a chef can ensure a gorgeous outcome every time: braising. By cooking almost any meat cut low and slow, a chef can break down the fats, tenderize the meat, and serve a dish whose smoothness barely requires its beholder to chew.
And, with the barbecue flavorings melding for six hours in the oven, I can go about my London-y day and return home to some of my “old world” American flavors.
1 pound pork shoulder
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1 onion, sliced
2 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp paprika
1 chicken bouillon cube
500 ml water (or enough to cover pork)
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1. Season pork with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, brown pork on all sides in olive oil.
2. Remove pork and reduce heat to medium. Add sliced onions and sautee until translucent. Add cinnamon, paprika, brown sugar, and ketchup; whisking until smooth. Add pork back in, then add bouillon cube and water (enough to just cover pork). Bring to a boil, cover, and put in 300-degree oven.
3. The pork will cook for about 6 hours, but check every two hours to see if all of the liquid has evaporated. If so, add about 100 ml of water. The goal is to finish after six hours with a glazed consistency, so don’t add too much water at a time.
4. After six hours, remove from oven. Shred pork using two forks, and if needed, reduce the liquid over medium heat until it reaches glaze-like consistency. (I did not need to do this when I cooked it, because most of the liquid was gone after six hours!)
5. Serve with bread or Grammie’s coleslaw.
Enjoy sweet burnt pulled pork with Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and check in at http://warandpeach.com for future recipes and book reviews!