Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Cut #2- Pork Shoulder basics

The Shoulder Cut of Pork is one of the most versatile cuts of meat in traditional Italian and French cuisine.
In France, the shoulder or épaule is cooked, cured, roasted, stewed, braised and made into pâtés.
A succulent shoulder roast stuffed with prunes and shallots is a classic French Sunday lunch. This summer we butchered the graduation carcass with the intent to can or cure all of the meat from half a pig. As I made a list of what to make with each cut of meat, I worried over the shoulder. The 25 pound boston butt and picnic ham is a lot of meat. (chart and pix of American cuts here)

In the end,  I decided on a smothered braised recipe I had eaten in a rustic restaurant in the Landes Forest. My escaoudoun a la Croute du Pins was made from artisan French pork like this farm produces.

Although the shoulder meatis fattier than some other cuts, it melts in your mouth when cooked well. Start to compare cuts in the butchers or supermarkets and then taste the differences by choosing two cuts and cooking the same dishes with both of them. The echine,high up on the shoulder makes a great roast but I prefer a braising and stewing the shoulder.

I wonder what Judy will make in Tuscany? 


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