salvaging a cheap cut of meat

Not long ago our local grocery store had pork butt roast on sale for a really good price. I bought one with the intention that we would use a third of it for Terry’s excellent chili verde and then freeze the rest and use it for pulled pork for my dad’s birthday several days later.

There was a reason that the cut was so cheap. Terry’s chili verde came out tougher than we’ve ever had it. I wasn’t going to use that for Dad’s dinner. I bought a reliable pork tenderloin for that meal and kept the other in the freezer. I then developed a plot to rehabilitate that cheap cut of meat.

carnitasI pulled out a recipe for slow cooker pork carnitas from the kitchn. I rubbed it with the specified seasonings: cumin, ground black pepper, oregano, cinnamon, cayenne, garlic, chipotle, and salt. Normally I would omit the salt, but I used kosher salt to help tenderize the meat. I rubbed the pork with the mixture. I added a can of diced tomatoes as the recipe called for. For the liquid, the recipe called for orange juice, stock, or beer. Instead I used a lot of cooking port: enough to cover the pork. (Yes, I know that on Food Network and PBS they say never to cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink. That’s one of many cooking rules that I break.)

The recipe called for 8 hours on low. I gave it 11 ½ hours.

Success! The meat was flavorful and tender and made for a tasty dinner with our homemade tortillas.

The moral of the story: You get what you pay for, but when you try to be too thrifty sometimes it can be fixed.

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