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Thick Cut, Dry Brined, Slow Cooked, Quick Seared,
“Most Amazing” Berkshire Pork Chop Ever

Serves: 4
2 Thick Cut Berkshire Pork Chops (roughly 1.5 lbs each)
Kosher salt
Fresh cracked pepper
½ c good red wine
olive oil
2 large yellow onions, sliced medium to thin
1 T minced garlic
2 t minced fresh thyme or rosemary or both
1 T grey poupon mustard
2 T sour cream or cream (optional)
1. Place the chops on a wire rack set on top of a baking sheet. Coat each side liberally with kosher salt. Let them sit out room temperature for at least 45 minutes.
2. Place the chops (baking sheet and all) into a 200 degree oven with a probe thermometer* inserted into the middle of the smallest pork chop.  Set the alert temperature to 120 degrees and slow cook until it reaches this temp. It can take an hour or more depending on their initial temp.
3. As the temperature of the chops gets close to 120, begin to heat a very large, heavy bottomed skillet until it is quite hot.
4. Once the chops reach 120 degrees, remove them from the oven, coat the hot skillet very lightly with olive oil and sear the chops over high heat on both sides until they are nicely brown, and the internal temp of the pork is between 130 and 135 degrees. This will go quickly. The chops must not be over cooked.
5. Remove the chops from the pan and set aside on a plate. Deglaze the pan with a ¼ cup of the wine, then pour those juices over the chops. Let the chops sit while you make the onion sauce (optional).
6. To make an onion sauce (optional): coat the deglazed, now empty, pan with a tablespoon or two of olive oil over medium high heat and then sauté the onions, stirring often until they are nice and soft. Add the garlic and minced herbs and sauté another few minutes.  Add the remaining ¼ cup red wine and the juices that have collected on the pork chop plate. Whisk in the mustard and cream if desired, adjust the salt and pepper.
7. Cut the chops in several pieces, serve with the onion sauce on the side. Encourage your guests to take the piece with the bone and gnaw away, the meat is extra sweet and juicy near the bone!

Totally Awesome Porkchops


Serves about 6

2 pounds cubed pork shoulder*

1 large onion
½ head garlic
4 bay leaves
1 t chipotle chili powder (more if desired up to 1T)
2 t cumin seed, toasted and then ground
1 lemon, juiced and ½ rind saved
1 orange, juiced and ½ rind saved
1 T fresh chopped oregano
3 cups pork or chicken broth
1. Set large dutch oven over medium high heat and add all of the above ingredients, including the saved rinds. Bring it to a simmer. The liquid should come just almost to the top of the pork, but not submerge the pork.
2. Place the dutch oven (uncovered) in a preheated 300 degree oven to slow cook for 2 to 3 hours. Turn the pieces of pork once or twice during that time. Cook until the meat is fork tender and much of the liquid has evaporated. Discard bay leaves and rinds.
3. Cool the pork slightly and pull it apart with two forks, mixing in the remaining juices.  If the juices are still too thin, you can strain them from the pork and while it cools you can reduce them down to a syrup, then mix them in with the shredded pork.
4. Serve with warmed soft corn tortillas, avocado, cilantro, chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, pickled jalapenos, or whatever suits your fancy.


Why is Berkshire pork widely accepted to be the best tasting pork in the world?


Here is what Cook’s Illustrated had to say in it’s rigorous blind tasting of “Premium (High End) Pork”:


“We were sold on the Berkshire pork, and wondered if its better flavor and juiciness were related to anything more than just the specific breed. As it turned out, the meat’s deep pink tint was more significant that we thought. According to Kenneth Prusa, professor of food science at Iowa State University, that color really is an indication of quality. It reflects the meat’s pH, which Prusa pinpoints as the “overall driver of quality” in pork. In mammals, normal pH is around 7. But Prusa told us even small differences in pH can have a significant impact on pork’s flavor and texture. Berkshire pigs are a bred to have a slightly higher pH than normal, which in turn makes their meat darker, firmer, and more flavorful. In fact, a high pH can be even more important than fat in determining flavor. Conversely, pork with low pH is paler, softer, and relatively bland.


In addition to genetics, pH is influenced by husbandry conditions, along with slaughtering and processing methods. Berkshire pigs are raised in low-stress environments that keep them calm. And the calmer the animal, the more evenly blood flows through its system, distributing flavorful juices throughout. Berkshire pigs are also slaughtered with methods that minimize stress, which causes a buildup of lactic acid in the muscles and lowers pH. Chilling the meat very rapidly after slaughter is yet another factor that affects pH, which begins to decline immediately once blood flow stops. Increasingly, commercial producers are adopting similar measures in slaughtering and processing in an effort to keep the pH of their pork as high as possible.”


Published July 1, 2011. 


Why So Tasty?


*Having a probe thermometer with a remote read out is key to the success of this recipe and very useful for other recipes that rely on having the meat achieve a specific temperature. The probe also prevents the inconvenience of having to open the oven door continually to see if the meat is at temperature. It is well worth the investment. Cooks Illustrated recommends the Thermoworks Original Cooking Thermometer/Timer, which costs about $20.

*This recipe can also be done with a whole pork shoulder, instead of cubed. Allow 4-5 hours of cooking time. 

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