I started making this sandwich at 5:00am today.
I started by lightly toasting the following and putting them into a coffee grinder (that I use for spices):
- Cumin Seed
- Fennel Seed
- Whole Black Peppercorns
After that I transferred the resulting powder into a food processor where I added a shallot, two fat cloves of garlic, a small hill of sea salt, and… wait for it… a bosc pear. If you get the proportions right you end up with a thick paste, and if the pear is ripe enough it’s sticky enough to hang on to the shoulder while cooking and caramelizes nicely.
Then I took a big pork shoulder cut from Prather Ranch Meat Co. that I picked up in the Ferry Building and rubbed the paste all over it and let them hand out together in a mixing bowl for a while. Merrrnatin‘.
While those two were doin’ their thing, I got out my mandolin and sliced the shit out of some vegetables. Fennel, a red onion, and fresh cayenne peppers. Did you know that fresh, whole cayenne peppers were actually a thing? Because I didn’t, but when I saw them I grabbed a bunch. Fresh ones are actually rather sweet and they’ve still got a decent amount of kick, but less than, say, a jalapeño. (Side note, check out my proper usage of the Mexican N-hat). Anyways, I got those things sliced up and ready to be pickled. Rather than use straight white or cider vinegar, though, I got a little crazy. I took some (just a few splashes) of white balsamic and a few quite healthy splashes of a very crisp Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc. Mixed them all together with some salt and let them chill.
The next morning, at 5:00am I threw the pork on the top rack of a very low grill (<200˚) with a grilling tray full of water, orange halves, and some mesquite wood chips. Just ‘cuz. Then I went and picked Cabernet grapes in a vineyard in Glen Ellen, for fun. It was kind of a migrant worker fantasy camp thing, where you do all the manual labor, but you also drink wine and eat muffins while you do it. I was pretty sticky by the end of that, and pretty hungry for a fuckin’ pulled pork sandwich! YEAH!
I rushed home and pulled my butt off the grill. I could hear it as I walked up to the grill; the fat had begin to sweat and was infrequently dripping down, causing a brief sizzle. Awesometimeporkparty.
I pulled it off of the grill, and it was definitely no where near tender enough to pull. OH NO! I’m so hungry and I need pork! So I improvised and braised it for another hour in some port. 60 minutes later, this thing was ready to party. I toasted an Acme bun, brushed with some olive oil. Loaded it up with the pulled pork, topped it with a few slices of smoked mozzarella, and a little fresh dill-mayonnaise and I ate the fuck out of that thing. And it was, literally, one of the best tasting things I’ve ever had.