Actually I wanted to make pulled pork last weekend. But it was pouring at the time when the barbecue smoker would have needed to be fired up, with no improvement in sight. So I had to resort to Plan B.
I had bought a popular cut which is called pork neck in Germany. For Americans, this is the densely marbled part of a Boston butt. It is the same cut of meat coppa is made from. You can use it for just about anything, slow braising, roasting, sliced as steaks and more. As I did not fancy much unplanned kitchen work I went for a minimalist approach.
Ingredients (serves 8 to 10):
- 1 piece of pork neck, about 2 to 2.5 kg
- 3 cloves of garlic, pressed
- 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
- 2 tablespoons dried thyme
- Salt and ground black peper
- Meat thermometer
- Preparation: 5 minutes
- Cooking time: 2 to 3 hours
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Lightly crush the fennel seeds in the mortar. There is no need to powderize them, they should just break up a little to better release their aroma.
Rub the meat with the pressed garlic on all sides, salt genereously, then dust with pepper. Finally cover the meat with the fennel seeds and the thyme.
Put the meat on a a grate and cook in the oven over a dripping pan to an internal temperature of 75 degrees. Depending on your cut of meat this may take about two to three hours.
There will be some drippings that should taste divine but probably won’t be enough to create a sauce. You might try to place some cut up vegetables in the dripping pan and finish the sauce with some wine on the stove, but I had the meat without sauce.
I deliberately made a “dry” roast (the meat was still very juicy, mind you) because any basting would interfere with the delicious crust of herbs and spices that will develop. The roast turned out absolutely wonderful so I didn’t really feel the need for a sauce anyway.
You can serve it with vegetables of your choice or a salad. I had a sweet potato with it which I simply placed next to the roast one hour into the cooking, and I served it with salt and butter.
This roast will make a fantastic cold cut when cooled overnight. So don’t be afraid of buying a big chunk of meat like this even if cooking only for few people.