Long the world's favorite meat, pork has surged in popularity in American kitchens thanks in part to high-protein diets, but mostly because of its adaptability to just about every taste. Whether you like spicy Asian flavors, flavorful pan braises, or light and healthy grills, pork fills the bill. Now Bruce Aidells, America's leading meat expert, presents a guide to pork's endless versatility, with 160 international recipes and cooking and shopping tips.
This comprehensive collection contains everything cooks need to know about pork, including how to choose from the many cuts available, how to serve a crowd with ease, and how to ensure moist pork chops and succulent roasts every time. Aidells offers temperature charts for perfect grilling, roasting, and braising, as well as a landmark chapter with step-by-step instructions for home curing. With Bruce Aidells as your guide, you will be making your own bacon, salami, and breakfast sausages with ease. If you are looking to enhance everyday dining, there are recipes here for quick after-work meals, as well as dramatic centerpiece main courses that are sure to impress guests. Bruce Aidells's Complete Book of Pork is a matchless all-in-one guide that will become a kitchen classic.
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About the Author
Bruce Aidells is the founder of Aidells Sausage Company and author of nine cookbooks, including The Complete Meat Cookbook, The Complete Sausage Book, the "Meat" and "Poultry" chapters of the revised Joy of Cooking, and the key meat tips in The All New Good Housekeeping Cookbook. He won the 1990 Julia Child Cookbook Award for Hot Links and Country Flavors. His articles appear in numerous publications, including Cooking Light, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, and Food & Wine.
Read an Excerpt
Bruce Aidells's Complete Book of Pork
A Guide to Buying, Storing, and Cooking the World's Favorite Meat
Grilled North African Marinated Pork
Kebabs on Couscous with Apricot Sauce
North Africa, especially Morocco, is home to both non-pork-eating Muslims and Christians who do cook with pork. The flavors and spices of that region influence this recipe, which would work equally well with lamb or chicken. My favorite cut for kebabs is Boston butt, though blade-end loin, boneless country spareribs, pork tenderloin, and boneless rib center-cut loin would work fine.
North African Marinade
2 small garlic cloves
Ncup chopped cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons fresh mint
PPR cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Nteaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons sweet Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
Pinch ground cinnamon
2 pounds boneless pork, cut in 1 1/2-inch cubes, or 4 (1 1/2-inch-thick) rib pork chops
16 dried apricots,soaked in hot water for about 5 minutes and drained
1 red onion, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
1 1/2 cups instant couscous
1/2 cup dried currants or raisins
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup reserved marinade
1/3 cup apricot jam
1/4 cup homemade chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
- To make the marinade: Put all of the marinade ingredients in a blender and process until the mixture forms a wet paste.
- Rub the mixture over the pork cubes and marinate for 2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
- Set up a gas or charcoal grill for medium-hot heat. Remove meat from marinade. Reserve 1/4 cup ofmarinade and discard the rest. Thread the pork cubes onto 4 separate skewers, alternating them with the apricots and chunks of onion. Grill the skewers about 4 to 5 minutes on one side, turn, and grill 4 to 5 minutes more. Set the skewers aside to rest for 5 minutes while you make the accompaniments.
- Combine the couscous, currants, salt and 2 1/2 cups boiling water in a heatproof bowl and cover. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce.
- To make the sauce: Combine the reserved marinade, apricot jam, and stock or in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until the mixture becomes syrupy.
- To serve, spoon the couscous into a shallow serving bowl. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the top. Arrange the kebabs on the couscous and brush them generously with the sauce. Garnish with the cilantro leaves and serve.
Stove TopSmoked Pork Tenderloin
We all know that pork makes a perfect candidate for smoke-cooking: Think of bacon or ham that has spent days in the smokehouse. Lately, however, I've discovered the joys of the stovetop smoker, a simple device that allows me to smoke small, lean cuts of meat, like pork tenderloin, quickly, with a minimum of fuss, regardless of the weather. The stovetop smoker is basically a rectangular box with a drip pan and rack for the food. Small wood chips or sawdust are spread in the bottom and then the smoker is heated on the stove, causing the wood to smolder and smoke. The food is added, the lid on the box is closed, and within minutes I have a smoky little piece of meat ready for serving or saving. I've found that while not necessary, brining the pork, as in this recipe, helps to add a little more flavor and compliment the smoky taste. The tenderloins are flavor-brined for longer than I normally recommend here because they should be a little saltier to stand up to the intense smoke of the stovetop smoker.
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 cups water
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 cup ice cubes
2 pork tenderloins
(1 to 1 1/4pounds each)
1 tablespoon peanut oil
- In a bowl stir together the maple syrup, water, and salt until the salt dissolves. Stir in the ice cubes to cool the mixture to 45° F or below.
- Put the tenderloins in a 1-gallon zip-lock plastic bag and pour in the brine. Seal the bag and refrigerate for 16 to 24 hours. Remove tenderloins from the brine and pat dry with paper towels.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the tenderloins and cook, turning to brown them on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Sprinkle 1/2 cup wood chips or sawdust on the bottom of a stovetop smoker. Place the smoker's drip pan on top of the wood chips and put the tenderloins on the drip pan rack. Heat the smoker over medium-high heat until the wood begins to smoke, then close the smoker lid. Reduce the heat to medium. After 15 minutes, remove the lid and check the internal temperature of the pork. The pork is done when the internal temperature is 140° to 145° F on an instant-read thermometer. If necessary, replace the lid and continue to cook until the desired temperature is reached, checking at 5-minute intervals. (You may need to add more chips or sawdust.) Remove the tenderloins to a platter and let rest 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Chef's Notes: While smoking with a stovetop smoker is a simple process, you need a good exhaust hood and it must be kept running throughout the smoking process. If you don't have a good exhaust hood, then put your stovetop smoker on a hot plate outdoors or on a hot gas or charcoal grill. Use only chips or sawdust provided by the stovetop smoker manufacturer or purchase wood chips or sawdust that are meant to be used for smoking Leftover smoked tenderloin is delicious cold in sandwiches (like a mild ham). Or slice, briefly pan-fry,and serve for breakfast.Bruce Aidells's Complete Book of Pork
A Guide to Buying, Storing, and Cooking the World's Favorite Meat. Copyright © by Bruce Aidells. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.