Monday, January 24, 2011


One of the beautiful things about living in New York's Chinatown is the incredible abundance of high-quality cheap butchers and seafood within spitting distance of my front door.

Yesterday morning, I ran down to the Catherine St. Meat Market and picked up this beautiful 6.3 Lb. pork shoulder for a whopping $11.92! Seriously though, this could feed a lot of people, or me and the lady for like a week.


I had it in my head to make a Puerto Rican delicacy called Pernil after reading an epic thread on Reddit a while back. But after reading a bunch of different recipes, I actually decided on a Chinese 5 spice flavoured roast, Pernil will have to wait!

If you would like to follow along, you will need the following:

Apologies for the blurry photo, here's a list:

Chili Flakes
Dark or Black Soy Sauce
Rice Wine Vinegar
Chicken Broth
Star Anise
Black Pepper
Brown Sugar (not pictured, oops)

This recipe takes quite a while, but is dead easy and will feed you for quite a while, unless of course you eat it all in one go, which you might be tempted to do.

First up, rinse the pork under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.

Now preheat your oven to 375˚.

Chop up 13-15 garlic cloves, and more ginger than you think you might need. (About 3 tablespoons.)

In a bowl, mix together, 10-12 of your garlic cloves, and about 2/3 of your ginger with a tablespoon or 2 of chili flakes, 2 tablespoons of black pepper, 9 or 10 star anise. If you have ground fennel, that's great, if not, just chop up some of the whole stuff, about a tablespoon's worth. Also add 1/3 cup of the dark soy & 1/3 cup rice vinegar.

There's the brown sugar I forgot, add 3-4 tablespoons now and mix it all up. Now, you don't want any of this glorious stuff going to waste, so put your shoulder into a deep crock pot, and then pour all of this over while massaging it in.

Then add your chicken stock to the mix.

Your jammy should look like this:

Bring that to a boil, and then pop it into the oven for an hour, then drop the temp on your oven to 350˚.

You should be looking similar to this by now (I had to flip mine onto its side, as when the meat firmed up, it pushed the lid right off the pot):

Cook at 350˚ for about 3-3.5 hours, or until the internal temperature (Not on the bone folks!) reads 170˚ and you get something like this:

At this point, you want to move your shoulder to a baking sheet which has a rack on it to elevate the meat. Ideally you would be able to do this in one piece, but when I tried, the combination of all that liquid, 4.5 hours cooking, and the depth of the pot led to a bit of a mess:

It's all good though, it will still taste amazing, I promise.

Pour all the amazing stock and shoulder juice into a little sauce pot, and chuck that in the fridge to let the fat separate, or if you happen to be in NYC right now, the balcony or windowsill for about 5 seconds as our temperature is apparently being measured in Kelvin these days.

After it is cooled, skim off as much fat as you can, i got a half a medium yogurt container full, so you don't want to skip this step.

With your newly less fatty sauce, add your remaining ginger and garlic, and also throw in 4 tablespoons of honey and then bring to a boil and reduce by about a third.

Bring your oven back up to 375˚ and slather about a third of the sauce on top of your roast as a baste, and then throw it back in the oven for another 10-15. You can baste a couple more times if you like, but don't worry the sauce isn't going to go to waste.

Bust it out of the oven and grab a couple of forks and shred up as much as you want to eat.


As a side, chop up a head of green cabbage and a bunch of green onions, mix that with equal parts rice wine vinegar and sesame oil, couple table spoons each should do. Toast a bunch of sesame seeds and throw those in for good measure:

Place your pork on the top of your cabbage and generously spoon some of that amazing sauce on top.

Oh, and make yourself some rice about 20 minutes ago too.


Incidentally, the leftovers from this will last you well into the week, so have some noodles and some eggs in the house to make a stir fry and some bread to make some sandwiches. If your feeling really ambitious, this is also the exact same stuff that goes into steam buns, but a thousand times tastier, so you could try that too, I know that's what I'm going to attempt next.


Morgan Web Developer