Cooking pork is really easy.
Pork meat provides a range of textures - smooth, crisp, meltingly tender, chunky, crunchy and more. And pork combines with a wide variety of flavours. On the fruity/sweet/sour side, apples, quinces, pineapple, gooseberries, pomegranate, berries, prunes, apricots, lemon juice, chutney, onion, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, baked bananas, chilli chocolate. Pork is also great with savoury tastes and most herbs and spices - sage, fennel, chives, coriander, mint, garlic parsley, marjoram, tarragon, chopped olives, sun-dried tomatoes, rocket, goats/mozzarella cheese, grated lemon pee’ Oriental sauces, rich brown gravy, curry and peanut sauce.
Good Quality Olive Oil
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At the most basic level, there are three cooking methods for pork:
Dry Heat Cooking
Oven-roasting, oven-grilling, braaing, pan-grilling, deep-fat frying and shallow-fat frying are all classified as dry heat cooking because the pork is cooked by means of direct exposure to heat or the circulation of hot air.
Cuts suitable for oven-roast include leg, shoulder and neck roasts, loin roasts, rolled belly and whole rib roasts.
Oven-grill, pan-grill or braai chops (loin, rib, shoulder, chump or neck), pork steaks, kebabs, sosaties or sausages. Rub each cut with a little olive oil before grilling to prevent it from sticking to the metal grill.
Deep-fat frying is seldom used these days. If you wish to deep-fry friccadels, chops or steaks, it’s best to coat each item with seasoned crumbs or in batter to protect the pork from direct exposure to the hot oil. Always drain off excess oil before serving.
Shallow-fat frying is used for crumbed cuts such as pork schnitzels or crumbed chops. Refrigerate the crumbed cut for two hours before frying to ensure that the crumbs stick to the pork surface when frying. Always drain off excess oil before serving.
Moist Heat Cooking
Stewing, casseroles, pot-roasting, braising, boiling, cooking in bags and foil wrapping are all considered to be methods of moist heat cooking.
Stewing and casseroles are commonly used for curries and stews using pork cubes cut from the thick rib, leg, breast or belly. Bigger cuts such as pork shanks can all be prepared in this way.
Pot-roasting is most often used for larger cuts such as the shoulder or thick rib.
Cooking bags and foil wrap (shiny side against the meat) is used for cuts such as whole shoulder, thick rib joints and leg of pork. When wrapping or bagging, remove the skin as it will not crisp when using moist heat.
Steaks, chops and slices from the belly or breast can be braised.
Boiling should only be used in the preparation of cured or smoked cuts such as eisbein or gammon.
Combination Cooking (stir-fry)
Stir-fry is a combination of dry and moist heat. Pork stir-fry dishes are quick, easy, economical and healthy.
Stir-fry strips can be cut from the leg or shoulder. If you don’t find strips, ask at the butchery counter, or slice them from a leg or shoulder at home.
Pour a small amount of olive, peanut or canola oil into a wok or a heavy-based frying pan (a combination of olive oil and peanut oil give the best results).
Pat dry the pork strips using kitchen paper and cook until medium brown on medium heat. Do not over-cook. Add strips of vegetables, keep stirring and add water/wine/juice if required to ‘steam-fry’ without adding oil. Flavour with soy sauce/oyster/hoisin sauce, or fruity flavours such as sweet chilli/pineapple/sweet & sour sauce to suit your taste. Add steamed rice or noodles, cook through and serve hot.
Information courtesy of: South African Pork Producers Organisation