February 28, 2013

Using Pickled Pork for Seasoning

Using Pickled Pork for Seasoning
Red Beans and Rice

Pickled Pork?

The other day I shared a soup recipe for #SundaySupper. It was my recipe for Louisiana Caldo, and it features a peculiar ingredient: pickled pork.

Now, I say it’s a peculiar ingredient only because so many people commented on it. I’ve been cooking with pickled pork all my life, so I do not find it peculiar. But, apparently, not everyone is familiar with it. And since pickled pork is such a fantastic way to season soups and beans — and since it seems to be such a fascinating culinary item — I decided to do two things for you: 1) Tell you what exactly pickled pork is, and 2) give you some links to recipes that use (or can use) pickled pork for seasoning.

There are many recipes that could use pickled pork for seasoning, and I have a few of them right here at CatholicFoodie.com. However, pickled pork might not be specifically listed in the ingredients. Instead, the ingredients may list sausage. But pickled pork can definitely be used in the place of sausage. I’ll give you a few examples in a moment.

But before we get to the recipes, we need to ask the primary question first…

What, Exactly, Is Pickled Pork?

Good question.

And I really like how Alton Brown answers it.

Alton Brown and Pickled Pork
“In the days before refrigeration, most of the pork that was slaughtered in or around hot and humid New Orleans was preserved not by smoking, but by pickling. True red beans and rice is indeed seasoned with the tangy goodness of pickled pork, and once you taste it, you’ll know why. It’s pretty tough stuff to find outside of Louisiana, but you can make your own from a bit of plain old pork butt.” – Alton Brown from Good Eats

Check out Alton as he makes his own pickled pork:

But that still leaves the question…

Why Use Pickled Pork?

The simple answer? Flavor. Using pickled pork as a seasoning meat gives you a flavor you can’t get any other way.

When I make red beans and rice, for example, I like to use sausage instead of pickled pork. Why? ‘Cause I really dig the heat. However, I also use a tangy hot sauce when I serve my dish. Crystal and Louisiana Hot Sauce are not as hot as Tabasco, and they add more tang — more a more vinegary taste — to the dish. And I like that. Roughly the same effect can be achieved using pickled pork and more cayenne in the pot. Then, maybe backing off the hot sauce when served. Maybe. Because I like the heat.

A Few Recipes That Could Use Pickled Pork

Below are three recipes on CatholicFoodie.com that use pickled pork (or that can use it). Please note that I have more pickled pork recipes on the way… like the three listed right below the images. They are coming soon!

Louisiana Caldo for #SundaySupper
Louisiana Caldo
red beans and rice
Red Beans & Rice
White Beans and Rice
White Beans & Rice

Cabbage with Pickled Pork and Creole Mustard (recipe coming soon!)

Cabbage Soup (recipe coming soon!)

Black-eyed Peas with Pickled Pork (recipe coming soon!)

How to Get Pickled Pork for Your Recipes:

If you want to use pickled pork in your recipes, I would encourage you to try out Alton Brown’s recipe in the video above. You can also find that recipe listed on page 181 of his Good Eats 3: The Later Years cookbook.

Pickled pork can also be ordered online and shipped to you. I have used and recommend Cajun Grocer for shipping Louisiana specialty foods across the country.

What Say You?

Do you have a favorite dish that uses pickled pork?

I would love to hear about it!

Leave a comment below!