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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wednesday Eats and Treats: Ten Ways to Rescue Dry Pork and the story of how we got to the point where we needed this information

It was a great idea…really, it was. For Independence Day, we had about 40 friends and family members to our home for our annual 4th of July Extravaganza. Some of our guests planned to stay overnight, so my brother, Patrick, generously offered to bring two pork loins for grilling on Saturday. It was about time to start the meat when I asked him to get it. “Oh, no! It’s still in the freezer.” (That's not exactly what he said, but since this is a G-rated blog, we'll go with it. J) The meat was frozen solid, I had about 15 hungry folks to feed, and there wasn’t an alternate meat choice. After unsuccessfully contacting the local store to see if the owner might be able to cut the loins with his meat saw, Syd and Patrick pulled a classic “You Might be a Redneck If…” move. Patrick headed out to his truck, returned with his Saws-All reciprocating saw, and they proceeded to cut the pork loin into boneless pork chops.
Once out at the grill, it was one crisis after another. The propane tank ran out of fuel. The replacement tank had a regulator leak. Syd moved the meat to the charcoal grill which took forever to get a fire going. By the time we sat down to dinner, every one of those lovely boneless pork chops was as dry as an old boot. The only way to get it down was slathering it in BBQ sauce.

Needless to say, there was a lot of leftover meat. Figuring I wasn’t the only person to experience this problem, I began an internet search to find ways to salvage the meat. Below are the best ideas I found.

Ten Ways to Rescue Dry Pork

C   Even though pork loin is not the best choice for chili Verde, in order to utilize what you have on hand, cut it into chunks and fry it and then simmer it in a chili Verde sauce. Adding the extra fat might redeem its dry condition somewhat, and a rich and spicy sauce would add more interesting flavors.
Help "bring it back” a little by slicing it in 1/2 inches slices and then warming the slices in a mix of Marsala, chicken broth or vegetable broth to which some garlic has been added. You'll need enough liquid to cover a little over 1/ about 3/8 of an inch in skillet. Heat the liquid first to just below boiling. Add the loin slices and cover the pan; heat 3-4 minutes, flip them and heat another 2 or so. If you want, sauté some onion in the skillet before adding the liquids. Serve with a little "pan juice" drizzled over them.
C  Another alternative is to rough chop the remainder and add some BBQ and vinegar and make fake pulled pork sandwiches
C  Dice or cube the pork loin and mix into a salad, omelets, frittata, or fried rice.
C  Slice thinly and add to noodle soup -- like a Chinese hot and sour soup, or a pho. Slice it in thin strips for these purposes, for tenderness (what you can get) and ease of eating.
C  Reheat thin slices in some broth or a nice sauce, and serve it over noodles or rice or on a crusty baguette.
C  Heat in chicken broth. Add some herbs and some broth and heat up as a main course or for a sandwich, or just wrap in foil with some broth and throw in the oven.
C  Resuscitate the roast by shredding the meat and simmering in liquid to make a delicious taco filling. Use onions, garlic, orange juice, tomatoes, chicken broth, cumin, Mexican oregano, various Chile powders, and some sherry vinegar. The meat will be tender. Use the meat on a tortilla with some cilantro, maybe onion, and fresh salsa of your choice. For your pork roast, maybe a tomatillo-chipotle salsa...
C  Sliced and julienned, soaked in some chicken broth, soy, rice wine vinegar and sherry for a few hours, remove the meat and heat the sauce. Stir fry some veggies, or make some pasta or rice with veggies. About 3 minutes before ready, throw the pork into the hot marinade to heat(take it off the heat)
C  Best thing to do is to braise in some liquid and aromatics to create a sauce. Basically make smothered chops. Take some onion, carrot and pepper or other similar veggies and cut into strips, sauté and deglaze pan with wine, stock, tomato sauce, etc. Nestle chops in sauce, cover and cook on low until chops are tender. Serve chops with noodles/rice/pasta and the sauce.

I chose the pork fried rice option. I’ll share the recipe, pictures, and reviews next Wednesday. Until then, contact me for Patrick's number if you have any butchering needs.

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