If you want to cook authentic Creole food, you'll have to learn how to make pickled pork. Aside from providing a way to preserve meat before the invention of refrigeration, pickling imparts unique flavors to the meat. Pickled pork plays an important role in the traditional Creole staple food of red beans and rice; the tender pickled pork practically melts into the beans, leaving behind all its briny, meaty flavor.
To make pickled pork, you will need:
- 1 1/2 pounds very fresh, boneless pork butt
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons yellow mustard seed
- 6 whole allspice berries
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon celery seed
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 8 ounces ice
- A knife
- A cutting board
- A two-quart saucepan
- A one-gallon zip-top bag
- A leak-proof plastic container
- To make pickled pork, first cut the pork into two-inch cubes or one-inch by three-inch strips. Combine the water, vinegar, salt, garlic, herbs and spices in a two-quart, nonreactive saucepan (such as anodized aluminum).
- Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for three to four minutes.
- Remove the brine from heat. Add the ice, stirring until the ice is melted and the brine is cooled.
- Place the pork in a one-gallon zip-top bag. Place the bag in a leak-proof container to prevent leaks in your refrigerator and to help you pour more easily.
- Pour the brine over the pork. Squeeze the air out and seal the bag.
- Refrigerate for three days. Turn the bag at least twice daily to help distribute the brine.
- You pickled pork is now ready! Use your pickled pork immediately or freeze it within two weeks.
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