Wednesday, May 23, 2018

2 kilos: done

I'm making a massive load of pulled pork for Friday's luncheon. My crock pot can't hold the entire 4 kg of pork shoulder and pork neck (moksal in Korean) that I bought, so I have no choice but to slow-cook in 2-kilo batches. Once again disdaining the pre-searing step (which I almost never do*), I plunked half the pork into the pot and poured in 700 cc of Coca Cola, which is great for breaking meat down and softening it.** Added a wee bit of liquid smoke and started the slow cook very late last night.

When I woke up, the apartment was redolent with the smell of nicely done pig. The next step was to take out my giant metal bowl and begin the process of flaking the meat apart and removing the chunks and lumps of fat that hadn't dissolved during the cooking process. I had bought some rubber gloves for the occasion, so I pulled those on and began the surgery. Some of the fat and fascia peeled away easily; other bits were more stubborn and clung to the muscles with a stubbornness born of the tensile strength of un-dissolved connective tissue. I tried to work as fast as possible so as not to let the pork dry out, but it was still slow work. I didn't worry too much about evaporation because I worked fast enough to create a large pile of meat. The surface of the pile blocked the heat from radiating out of the middle of the pile.

The process took long enough to make me late for work, so I texted some coworkers to let them know I'd be coming in later than usual. When I had finished removing the fat and flaking the meat apart, I splashed on a new brand of barbecue sauce that I had bought at Costco. Normally I buy Yoshida's, a brand that isn't too sweet. But this time around, I saw that, while there were crates and crates of Yoshida's teriyaki sauce, there was no barbecue sauce. Instead, Costco was selling large two-bottle sets of a sauce called KC Masterpiece. Curious, I opened a bottle up and had a taste on Monday night. It proved to be much sweeter, but it also had a pleasantly smoky undercurrent that Yoshida's lacked. So I sauced up my pork with KC Masterpiece, then jammed some pork into my mouth to see how it had all come out. Goddamn perfect, I'd say. I didn't even miss the fact that the pork had no bark.

With the second load of pork that I'm doing tonight, I'll take about a third of it, coat it in a bit of honey, and broil the hell out of it to produce my usual bark simulacrum. I'll mix the burned (well, charred) bits in with the rest of the pulled pork, and voilĂ : we're good as gold.

Then comes a logistical problem: I'll have done the pork by Thursday morning, and it'll be in the fridge, cooling off all day Thursday, before I take the meat and other stuff to the office on Friday. I want the meat to be fairly hot, or at least pleasingly warm, by the time I serve it, so to solve that problem, I'm going to heat the pork in batches in my oven (covered, of course, so as not to lose moisture) Friday morning. This needs to be a low-and-slow process, so I'll have to wake up early to do two or three batches' worth of pork.

If the second batch of pork is as good as the first, I think we'll be in for a pretty good luncheon.

*And for the one or two times I have done it, I can't say I noticed any real elevation of flavor.

**Dirty secret: in the Korean restaurants throughout northern Virginia, ajummas use Coke when marinading all sorts of meat, from bulgogi to galbi.

1 comment:

John Mac said...

Imagine what that coke is doing to your innards?

The pulled pork sounds awesome. You take it to a whole other level!