Nom Nom Paleo

Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder

Pin It

Forget Febreeze — the best way to make your house smell awesome is to stick a seasoned pork roast in a low temperature oven and slowly cook that sucker over 8-10 hours. My kids were panting like little puppies at the oven window all day waiting for the roast to come out.

I originally learned about this technique from Michael Chiarello’s recipe for Forever Roasted Pork. I simplified the recipe by using Chili Con Carne seasoning as my rub but any dry rub will work. Try to use the best pastured pork you can find and make sure your roast has the skin PLUS a thick layer of fat. If you’ve got a nice fatty cut, the long roasting time will make the meat meltingly tender and moist. However, if you’re stuck with a lean conventional pork roast, you’re out of luck and should just skip this recipe. (You can still salvage your roast by braising it in the oven or slow cooker.)

Here’s what I gathered to serve 4-6 people:

Here’s how I made it:

The night before I roasted the pork, I scored the skin with a sharp paring knife in a cross-hatch pattern. Then, I seasoned the whole roast LIBERALLY with salt and Chili Con Carne seasoning.

I placed the roast in the fridge to marinate overnight (12-24 hours).

The next morning, I preheated the oven to 275 F and took the roast out of the fridge.

I covered a baking tray with heavy-duty aluminum foil and placed the vegetables on top of it to make a rack for the roast. I lay the roast on top of the vegetables and then let the roast sit on the counter for over an hour to bring the pork up to room temperature.

I placed the roast into the oven and let it slowly roast for 8-10 hours until the meat was fork-tender. I discarded the vegetables and transferred the roast to a platter to rest for 30 minutes.

When I was ready to serve the pork, I peeled off the skin and fat…

…and shredded the meat with my hands.

Super delicious and SIMPLE.

Plus, who doesn’t like roast pork scented air freshener?

Sous Vide Carnitas

Pin It

I’ve made carnitas the traditional way, but the process can be a big a pain in the ass. Delicious, yes, but it requires more effort than this lazy-butt is willing to expend. I’d rather head to my favorite taqueria and buy a pound.

This is why I was so excited to read R’s super-simple yet scrumptious recipe for sous vide carnitas a few days ago. As soon as I read her post, I immediately ran to the garage and pulled a big pork butt out of the chest freezer to recreate the recipe at home. (Remember? I have 100 pounds of pork in there.)

I followed her recipe pretty explicitly, but I lazified it even more by using 4 tablespoons of Penzey’s Arizona Dreaming seasoning instead of making my own dry rub.

Here’s the play-by-play:

I brined the cubed pork butt for the suggested 24 hours in the fridge…

…rinsed off the excess brine…

…dried off the pork…

…tossed it with the Arizona Dreaming seasoning

…vacuum-sealed the seasoned pork in two packets…

…dunked the packets in the SousVide Supreme for 28 hours…

…removed the cooked pork from the water oven…

…blotted the pork cubes dry…

…pan-fried the cubes in a couple tablespoons of lard, and drained them on a wire rack.

For dinner, I served carnitas lettuce tacos topped with diced white onions, cilantro, Primavera salsa, and homemade guacamole.

Very tasty and easy-peasy! The meal prep takes some advance planning, but it’s definitely worth it. I can’t wait to make this again and again and again and again…

Thanks for the great recipe, R.! I’ll repay you with a big slab of pork belly!

Slow Cooker Pork Shoulder Roast

Pin It

So. Damn. Easy.

The hardest part of this recipe is to remember to defrost and season your roast a couple days in advance. When you’re ready to eat it, just pop the pork and some chopped aromatics in your slow cooker and your dinner cooks while you’re at work (or while you’re sleeping).

Here’s what I assembled to feed 4 hungry adults:

  • 2.5 pound tied boneless pork shoulder roast (I wish I had a bigger one but I got this size in my CSA box)
  • 2-4 tablespoons Chili Con Carne Seasoning (or your favorite dry rub)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 large carrots, cut into 1/2” slices

Here’s what I did:

I dried off the pork roast with some paper towels and seasoned it liberally with salt, pepper, and the spice blend. Don’t be afraid to be aggressive with the seasoning.

I placed the roast in a gallon sized Ziploc bag, squeezed out all air, and stuck it in the fridge. The roast should marinate for at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.

A couple days later, I threw some chopped carrots and onions into my slow cooker and tossed them with salt and pepper.

I placed the roast (and collected juices) on top of the vegetables, covered it with a lid, and cooked the pork on low for 8-10 hours.

When the roast was finished cooking, I preheated my broiler. I placed the roast on a greased wire rack on a lined baking sheet and put it under the broiler (~ 6 inches from the heating element) and browned it for about 2 minutes on each side.

I cut the binding on the roast plated the carrots, onions, and gravy. I put the roast on top of the veggies and used two forks to shred the meat.

Yummy. My only regret is I didn’t have a larger roast because I barely had any leftovers!

Paleo Eats: 2/5/11

Pin It

Today was muy busy and I’m really tired so this post will be a quick recap of my grub and meal preparation.

For breakfast, I ate some leftover rotisserie chicken with cauliflower fried “rice” and stir fried Napa cabbage and bacon.

In the morning, I picked up my CSA box

…and dropped by Whole Paycheck to buy some last minute items for our Super Bowl party tomorrow.

When I returned home, I roasted off some red bell peppers that I’ll serve as part of a roasted vegetable platter tomorrow.

We spent a fun, laughter-filled afternoon at Big-O’s best friend’s house where we were fed a yummy homemade brunch (frittata, salad, and seared sausages).

Next, we went to a cousin’s daughter’s birthday bash at Bay Aerials Gymnastics where our kids jumped, tumbled, and swung on things for over an hour. Fitbomb’s cousin even served the kiddies a Primal-friendly meal: cubed cheese, diced ham, fruit, and veggies.

They’re better cave parents than us!

Right after the party, hubby and I went to dinner at Pampas to celebrate the same cousin’s 40th birthday. The company was fun and the grub was mighty tasty. This plate was one of several I devoured.

After dinner, we came home and I removed the brisket from the SousVide Supreme (147 F for 48 hours) and dunked it in an ice bath.

I’m searing this hunk ‘o meat tomorrow for the party. I hope it doesn’t taste like leather!

I also chopped up three onions and tossed them with three slices worth of diced bacon, salt, and pepper in the bottom of a large Dutch oven.

Then, I lay the marinated Boston pork butt on top…

…covered it, and placed it in the oven set at 250 F. I’m going to let the pork roast overnight (~8 hours) and broil the roast in the morning to give it some yummy char. I gotta get some much needed rest because I got a shitload to prep for tomorrow’s party. Good night!

Paleo Eats: 2/3/11

Pin It

Today, I switched back to being diurnal and my schedule for the day was jam-packed. To fuel me through the morning, I made myself a frittata with three eggs, leftover roasted broccoli and bacon, and a dollop of full fat Greek yogurt.

Yes, I’ll admit it was kind of over-done. I couldn’t check on my frittata because I was stuck for a good 15 minutes helping Lil-O drop some kids off at the pool. Did that make you lose your appetite? Not me.

After eating breakfast, I took Lil-O to a “kitchen chemistry” class. They made buttercream frosting, which was served with “healthy” graham crackers. Argh. Next, we drove to Sigona’s to stock up on veggies and meat for our casual Super Bowl party on Sunday. I’m planning on serving mostly Paleo fare to our non-Paleo friends: roasted veggies, crudités and dip, slow roasted pork butt, and sous vide beef brisket. I don’t even know who’s playing ‘cause it’s all about the commercials, n’est-ce pas?

When we got home, I ate a lunch that consisted of fried chicken and spinach sausages, leftover cauliflower puree, and roasted parsnips and carrots.

Shortly thereafter, my hubby and I accompanied my mother-in-law to her oncology appointment. As soon as we got back,  I decided to sous vide some pork chops and chicken breasts. I bought some Niman Ranch bacon-wrapped pork chops from Costco a few days ago…

…and out of sheer laziness I opted to just cut the package in half and plop both packets into the SousVide Supreme (140 F for 2 hours). (Per the customer service folk at Niman Ranch, the plastic used is safe to dunk into a water bath.)

Since I always sous vide pork chops with chicken breasts, I recruited Big-O to help me season a couple with lemon pepper and salt before I vacuum sealed them and dumped them in the water bath as well.

Once the chops and chicken were placed in the SousVide Supreme, I took a grass fed beef brisket and Boston Butt bone-in pork roast out of the fridge. I liberally seasoned both meats with salt, pepper, and Fajita and Taco seasoning.

Here’s the pork butt…

…and the brisket.

I vacuum sealed both the pork and the beef but I’m only sous viding the brisket. I’m letting the pork roast marinate in the fridge until Saturday night, at which time I’ll slow roast it in the oven overnight.

You’d think with all this meat preparation that I’d be all set for dinner — but you’d be wrong! We came back from the oncology appointment late so my sous vide meats wouldn’t be finished cooking until 7:00 p.m. Consequently, I sent my hubby to Calafia to pick up a rotisserie chicken (after phoning ahead and reserving one).

I decided to serve the chicken with roasted butternut squash

…and stir fried napa cabbage and bacon.

Here’s my dinner plate:

The chicken breast was kinda dry but, overall, it’s a tasty and reasonably priced take-out item.

After dinner, I took out the sous vided chicken and chops and dunked them in an ice bath for an hour.

I’ll probably eat the chicken later this week but I might freeze the cooked chops and serve them when I go back to work. Before going to bed, I cranked the temperature of my water bath to 147 F and dropped in the seasoned beef brisket.

I’ll let the beef bathe for 48 hours and I’ll take it out on Saturday night. I’m not sure I’ll serve the brisket at the party because grass fed beef is always an iffy prospect coming from my SousVide Supreme. I’ll just make hubby and myself choke it down if it’s gross. Good times.