Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Pork and Beer
We had another warm day on Sunday so we fired up the grill to do some smoking. In particular we smoked some non-prime parts of pork, shanks and feet, or as they are known in more elite circles - trotters.
They were brined for several hours in a solution of kosher salt, a small amount of sugar and water. They were allowed to air dry for another hour and then tossed onto indirect heat on the grill.
I tossed some hickory chips that had been soaked in water over the top of the fire and then put the lid on the grill and let the smoke roll. Thirty minutes later the pork parts were permeated with rich smokiness and were a glorious golden brown.
Next we sauteed some onions and celery in some olive oil and tossed the pork parts into the pan as well. In went a fair amount of fresh sauerkraut, a few bay leaves and a bottle of a local beer, Mt. Carmel Springtime Ale from Cincinnati. The pot was covered and went into a 325 degree oven for three hours.
While we waited we sampled the beer. It's a Scottish style ale that's only 4.5% alcohol. Malted barley and aromas from highland heather are claimed on the label, along with the requisite hops. Whatever they claim the heather component was obvious as was the barley. Nice balance between richness and bitterness. Good stuff and another local product worth consuming more frequently.
At the end of the day we finally got around to eating and it was more than worth the wait. The trotters added a lushness to the dish with their high component of melted sinew and fat. The shanks were tender, rich and smoky and the sauerkraut tart and prickly. Nice combination with the beer and by the end of the meal it was obvious that we needed more ale, since the original six bottle carton was gone. I added it to this weeks shopping list.
Good food, good beer. $8.99 for six bottles.