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  • A healthier way to braise fatty meats

     Charley2 updated 1 week, 1 day ago 4 Members · 7 Posts
  • karennoca

    July 6, 2021 at 2:07 pm

    Last week I learned a new way to braise a fatty piece of meat. I had a beautiful bone-in pork shoulder, about five pounds. I put it into a slow cooker along with chicken broth and garlic salt. Cooked on high for about 6 hours. Once the meat had fallen away from the bone, I pulled it out of the broth to cool. I put the broth in the fridge overnight to congeal the fat, skimmed it away, and put the broth into the freezer for another use. I pulled the pork, cleaned out the fatty tissue, put it back into the slow cooker, and mixed it with my homemade bbq mixture, set on low and cooked for another hour or so until the sauce had turned shiny and thickened. This was by far the best pulled pork, no fatty mess in the sauce and in the pork. Several guests went back for a second sandwich.

  • marilynfl

    July 8, 2021 at 8:09 am

    Karen, you need to increase my “cooking meat knowledge”. Was the meat totally done at 6 hours? Or did you know it could cook for another hour and not dry out. I am speaking from pitiful experience in overcooking red meat—or, conversely, undercooking fish and chicken.

    The last pork butt I cooked was in the oven and I kept cooking it until a fork slide in/out easily. According to Kenji, that’s a test of whether the tissue has softened. Most of the meat was tasty, but a lot was seriously overcooked. Same with a brisket I tried.

    I should just concede defeat and officially become a vegetarian. As much as I like it, meat just doesn’t like me when it comes to the kitchen.

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 5 days ago by  marilynfl.
  • karennoca

    July 9, 2021 at 10:44 am

    I cooked on high, and yes it had fallen away from the bone and shredded nicely. I was able to pull out all that fatty stuff. I did turn the Slow Cooker to low for another hour after mixing with the sauce. I usually cook all my braised meats on low but this 5lb hunk of pork was still a bit frozen in the middle. Most of my braised meats are done cooked on low in about 6 hours. I have a new Slow Cooker which has an insert which I can brown meats on the stove and I am certain the heat is a higher temperature than my oldie.

  • karennoca

    July 9, 2021 at 10:46 am

    I should have said when I check my braised meat, I use a fork to pull on the meat, if it pulls away easily in a couple of places, I know it is ready.

  • Charley2

    July 9, 2021 at 5:42 pm

    I still like my method of cooking pork for BBQ in the oven, dry, low and slow. I cook pork butts no matter the size for 8 hours at 225*. I find that a LOT/most of fat has cooked off and the big fat clods can be pulled out (as Karen mentioned. I wouldn’t miss that crusty bark of fat to chop up into the mix for serving.

    And it is actually the way to cook a lot of pork dishes–pernil, etc. Just use different rubs or additions to the cooking liquid.

    \ Marilyn to sort of answer your question, the target temperature IF you are cooking it at a low temperature, is 190*. If you are cooking it at a higher temp (300* or more), you will not be able to reach that temperature because the proteins will denature (as in cooking a roast) and the collagen won’t “melt”. Think about cooking a pork loin–you usually do it at 325* to an internal temp of 145* (now, for a nice rosy red–it will rest and rise to 150^ or so). If you cooked it to an internal temp of 190* (at 325*) it would be a piece of cardboard. It is the low temp and long time that tenderizes the tough cuts of meat. And that is also what braising does.

    I know a lot of people who do pulled pork in crock pots and IPs and all and it is good stuff. Just doen’t have that crusty stuff we love.

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 3 days ago by  Charley2.
    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 3 days ago by  Charley2.
    • cath-in-v

      July 18, 2021 at 5:45 pm

      Charley2 just to be sure I understand, by ‘dry’ do you mean uncovered, like a dry roasted beef? I think I might like the results of this method.

      • Charley2

        July 19, 2021 at 6:33 am

        Yes, you can use any rub you like. I usually make one with brown sugar, coarse Kosher salt, coarse black pepper, chile powder (ancho or the like) and smoked paprika. I rub it all over a pork butt or shoulder and if I have time, let it marinate overnight in the fridge. Then I put it on a rack in a roasting pan and cook for 8-10 hours in a 225-250* oven. I often do these overnight on a timer. As I tell anyone I give this to, you will have to slap your hands to keep from pulling that off and eating it all!! The fat crust gets very crusty and I usually have to chop it with a cleaver or chef’s knife to incorporate into the pulled pork. I find pulling a 7# piece of pork with forks very hard on my wrists now so I chop my BBQ now with a heavy cleaver.

        The juices and fat that render out can be separated with a gravy separator and then I concentrate the juices and add a little back to the chopped/pulled pork. In the Carolinas we serve the pork with the sauce on the side so everyone puts what they want on the meat. And then there is the eastern Carolina sauce that is vinegar and red pepper–and the western Carolina sauce that is vinegarry but with a tomato base. If you’d like a recipe I have a favorite.

        If you have a smoker that will keep the temperature low I used to do the first 4 hours in the smoker and then finish 4-6 hours in the 250* oven.

        • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by  Charley2.
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