Porcine Perfection

Let’s Eat by Charles Oppman

Porcine Perfection

With Fathers’ Day just around the corner many families are wondering what they can do for dad to make his special day a memorable one. No, you can’t just give him a card and be done with it. And cutting the lawn for him isn’t good enough either. Doing a household chore for dad isn’t exactly a gesture of unconditional love. As a devoted family who appreciates dad you’re obligated to come up with something he won’t soon forget. What better way is there to say “Pops we love you.” than to feed that special guy an unforgettable meal? Here are easy BBQ pork and black bean salsa and corn recipes for Fathers’ Day.  This is also a good way to kick off the BBQ season.

The Pork Roast

First you need to select the correct cut of pork. You could use pork loin, but this is not the best choice. The loin cut is devoid of collagen and only has a scant amount of surface fat. (One of the cruelest rules of nature I know is that animal fat equals flavor.) I would select pork shoulder or butt for this particular cooking method, dry radiant heat. A 5 to 7 pound roast should do nicely. It’s better to cook a roast that is more than necessary because approximately one-third will be lost to shrinkage and there is that pesky bone. Preheat the coals as you would for any other BBQ procedure. If you have a gas grill, heat the chamber to 300ºF.

The Dry Rub

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

Combine all dry ingredients and hand-rub mixture over pork roast. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate refrigerated for 2 to 4 hours.  If there is any dry rub remaining, rub it on before cooking. Place a drip pan under the grill or, if this isn’t possible, place roast in baking pan, with ½ cup of water, on the grill itself. A low constant cooking temperature is critical. The temperature must remain around 300ºF during the entire cooking process. Replenish coals as needed to maintain heat level. The roast should remain uncovered at all times. Slow-roasting allows the interior fat and collagen to literally melt giving the roast that unctuous texture and flavor that makes these particular cuts of pork ideal for roasting.  Cook until the interior temperature reaches at least 145ºF. Check the temperature with a meat thermometer (a tip-sensitive, instant-read digital thermometer is best). Cooking time will vary, but should be between 2 to 3 hours. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. The roast will exude natural juice as the muscle fibers relax. Save the juice for later use. The rest time is also important for food-safety reasons. According to the USDA, after meat is removed from a heat source, its temperature remains constant or continues to rise, which helps to destroy harmful bacteria such as Salmonella or E. coli.

The Salsa

3 ears of fresh corn (drained canned corn is okay)

2 cans of black beans, strained to remove liquid (to get rid of preservatives and sodium)

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1 can diced tomatoes, including juice

½ cup yellow onion, diced

½ cup cilantro, chopped

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon chili powder

¼ teaspoon chipotle powder (optional)

½ teaspoon salt

With a paring knife, cut kernels off each corn cob. To do this, hold the cob vertically and shear off the kernels by slicing downward toward the cutting board. You might want to do this on a dinner plate as the kernels tend to fly everywhere. The plate will contain them. Cover raw kernels with water and simmer until tender, approximately 15 minutes. Strain cooked kernels and place them in a large mixing bowl. Combine all remaining ingredients with cooked kernels and mix thoroughly. Adjust for seasoning. Salsa does not have to be served warm. Corn tortilla chips would go well with this dish.

The Eating

Slice pork and display on a platter for service. The slices of the crispy exterior are wonderful. Dad gets first dibs on these. Sorry! Warm four tortillas over the grill or gas burner and keep warm with a cloth towel. Serve with sliced onion and avocado, chopped cilantro and tomato, shredded iceberg lettuce and sour cream. Dad can dress his taco the way he likes or he can even have it au naturale, without condiments. If dad chooses to go with just meat, he can drizzle some of the delicious warm pork juice on his taco. Sure it’s messy, but who cares with eats this good? Dad can do whatever he desires, this is the only day of the year the man gets things his way. Dads rule!

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