It was like experiencing concord grapes for the first time. I was floored that scientists were able to develop a fruit that tasted like purple Fanta. Suffice it to say, the vendor behind the table in the middle of the Union Square farmer’s market was amused.Grapes that actually taste like grapes. Incredible, that.
Also sad in that we have become so used to manufactured tastes that try to mimic the real thing because the real thing has lost its characteristics that make it it after all of the processing. Chicken? Chicken tastes like everything, and everything tastes like chicken. Including pork. Pork shouldn’t taste like chicken. It lacks feathers, a beak and that weird waddle thing. It’s not of the avian family. It’s a pig. It should, thus, taste like pig.
Which is exactly what this roast shoulder tasted like. It was an odd realization. I’ve been preaching the free-range/pasture-raised train for a while now; but I never experienced such a dramatic difference in taste as I did in this butt. It smelled like Miami during Noche Buena, when they roast a whole pig–one they themselves pick up from trusted farmers who know the sanctity that is Cuban cerdo asado.
I marinated it in a home-made mojo, expecting that to be the first scent that caressed my nose. But no. The first wonderful thing I smelled from that wonderful oven was wet dog. Yep. Because that’s what cooking pork smells like. But it’s a full, unctuous, savory wet-dog smell that promises tender strings of meat, melty pork fat and crispy pork skin.
I. Could not. Stop. Eating it.
The only con is that the butt-around 1 1/2 pounds-cost me a pretty $16 big ones. To put that in perspective, that’s the cost of a 5-pounder at your regular grocer. But was it worth it? I don’t know…I measure that in how much gas and hotel money it would be to go to Miami for Christmas. Far more than $16, I would guess.
1 1 1/2-pounds Free-ange/grass-fed butt roast
1/2 cup Orange juice
1/4 cup Chopped onion
2 Cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
2 tablespoons White wine vinegar
1. Pre-heat oven to 300
2. Combine all mojo ingredients (everything but the pork)
3. Put the pork in a roastable vessel and cover with the mojo
4. Roast for 4 hours