Thursday, May 11, 2006

Berkshire Pork Shoulder-cut Chops

Berkshire pork is enjoying a lipid content-fueled vogue, at places like Momofuku in New York - where two re-interpreted Berkshire Pork belly Pork Buns will set you back $8.00. In addition to the amount of marbling it exhibits, the meat is also incredibly rich in pork flavor. Jonathan Kauffman over at East Bay Express, describes it as the foodie breed of the moment in his review of B.

We buy ours from Doug Stonebreaker of Prather Ranch at the Grand Lake Farmer's Market, though I supsect you can also get it at the Prather Ranch retail shop in the Ferry Building in San Francisco.

My wife is not a big fan of fat, and will purposefully separate meat from fat no matter how much I dim the lights before dinner. How then did we come to purchase two shoulder-cut chops, weighing nearly a pound each?

When I asked for two chops I was buying mostly out of Berkeley Bowl habit. The shoulder-cut chops were relatively cheap, and Doug had indicated that they were his favorite on the dry-erase board that he uses to list available cuts of meat.

When he set them down on the counter for us to look at, I knew that the marbling and large band of fat along one side would not go without comment. Still, Doug insisted that most of the marbling would "cook out".

After grilling, the meat was predictably moist. The sheer pork flavor of the chop was intense, and brought to mind bacon or even sausage. Searing the band of fat over high heat, allowed slow cooking to reduce the fat to a liquid-like state trapped inside a crispy outer shell.

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