Real food, gluten-free meals, and eclectic music!
Modified from The Splendid Table
The traditional menu for New Year’s Day here in the Southeastern United States is pork, black-eyed peas, and greens. As the saying goes, “Eat poor on New Year’s and eat fat the rest of the year.” These foods are supposed to bring you prosperity in the coming year – the greens symbolize money and the peas symbolize coins. I have no idea what the pork is supposed to bring – but there is another saying that might be relevant: “Eating high on the hog.” This expression may have originated due to the belief that the cuts of meat “higher on the hog” were better or more extravagant, but it has come to exemplify that one is successful and living well.
The pork shoulder (aka Boston butt) is not a cut “high on the hog”, but I personally favor the richer tasting, less lean cuts of pork. A pork loin roast is delicious, if you brine it and watch it carefully to keep it from being overdone, dry, and tough. The pork shoulder, on the other hand, is nicely marbled with fat and you have to make a real effort to overcook it.
We usually make pulled pork from a pork shoulder – this is the first time I have made a roast with it. You still need to slow cook it to at least 185F so that the intramuscular fat and collagen have a chance to break down, making the roast tender and moist. I was going to cook it on the Big Green Egg, but there was a steady rain on New Year’s Day so into the oven it went. On the plus side, the house smelled fabulous all day!
This roast does not have much hands-on time, but it does take some planning due to the 2-3 day marinade in the spices. Also, if you can freshly grind your spices, please do so for the best taste.
Marinate the meat: 2-3 days before cooking, spread the roast out (untie if it came tied together) and make deep cuts into the thick parts and through the fat cap. (Do not even think about removing any of the fat.) Mix the remainder of the marinade ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, then spread it all over the roast, stuffing it into the slits and massaging it into the pork on all sides. Place the roast and all the marinade in a sealed plastic bag or a shallow glass dish (covered); refrigerate until ready to roast, turning once or twice a day.
To roast: Remove the meat and allow to come to room temperature (about an hour). Preheat the oven to 400F. Roll up the roast and tie with butcher’s twine. Rub the roast all over with the rosemary and salt.
Oil a shallow roasting pan and scatter the sliced onions in the bottom. Place the roast, fat side up, in the pan and scape all the remaining marinade over it. Roast for 30 minutes at 400F.
Remove the roast and pour in the orange juice and red wine. Reduce the oven temperature to 300F. Continue to roast until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 185F. This will take several hours (4-6 most likely) – check on the roast every hour or so to make sure the pan does not dry out (add water if necessary), check the temperature, and baste the roast with the juices. If the temperature of the roast seems to plateau, cover the pan partially with foil to help concentrate the heat.
When the roast is done, let it rest on a cutting board, covered, for about 15 minutes. Skim the fat from the pan juices. To serve, roll the pork back into the pan juices to moisten, then slice. Serve hot, with extra pan juices if desired. Don’t forget the black-eyed peas and greens if it is New Year’s Day!
Well, I felt high on the hog eating this! Yummy! Some yummy music this time too. Generally sons of famous artists are a pale copy of their fathers, but in the case of Steve Earle’s son Justin Townes Earle, there’s no fear of that. Justin is his own man indeed, as on Harlem River Blues. He’s taken folk, country and blues influences together and created something new and fresh, as on the title cut or “Working for the MTA”. Stellar stuff!
His second album, The Good Life, is more jukebox country, and Earle’s vocals remind you of classic country singers such as George Jones or Lefty Frizzell. Hard to believe a kid this young could be so assured and good, but the truth is in the grooves.