Cooking Basics

Roasting a pork butt

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pork butt
Pork butt is succulent and deeply satisfying when prepared properly
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Roasting a pork butt is an easy way to create a delicious meal

Pork is perhaps the most underutilized type of meat in the grocery store. Sure, people like bacon, but when it's a choice between steak, chicken and that type of meat, the pig is usually left out. However, all that will change after you start roasting a pork butt. You're sure to be amazed by the juicy, flavorful meat and wonder why you've been denying it all this time.

About the Butt

One of the beauties about this cut of meat is it tastes delicious in a variety of preparations. For instance, you can throw it in the oven and forget about it for a few hours -- which makes it perfect for a Sunday meal. And if you're feeling especially daring, you can use your charcoal grill, gas grill or even your grill rotisserie to get that meat tasting delicious.

Each method has its advantages and is fun to use.

Additionally, a plethora of flavors enhance this cut of meat, so just about anyone's palette will be pleased as a result. A simple dusting of salt and pepper works wonders, but so do more exotic flavors, such as curry and ginger. The meat of a pig can accommodate just about any ingredient, so use your imagination when concocting a recipe.

And you needn't be worried by the name; the cut is not actually from the pig's bottom. Rather, the "butt" refers to the butt of the pig's shoulder.

Garlic, Sage and Mustard

Appeal to all of your senses with this tasty recipe. The way the dish envelops your home with its seductive aroma will leave your mouth watering. And once the compliments start pouring in about the delectable meal, you're sure to want to make it again.

Start by chopping four large cloves of garlic. Use more if you'd like, but if you use less the flavor will suffer. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of kosher salt on top of the garlic, then use your knife to mix them together and form a paste. The amount of salt may sound like a lot, but remember, you are working with a thick cut of meat, which requires a good amount of season to ensure it is flavored well. Although Kosher salt does give the roast good flavor, you can experiment with other varieties of the seasoning, as well.

Stir in 1/4 cup of olive oil, along with two tablespoons each of chopped sage and Dijon mustard. You should be left with a creamy, yellow mix that is beautifully speckled with bits of green.

Smear the mixture all over a five- to seven-pound roast, taking care to cover every inch of the butt. Cover the meat with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge if you want to cook it later, or simply place it in a roasting pan, skin side up, and stick it in a 325-degree Fahrenheit oven. If you choose to allow the meat to sit in the fridge, your roast becomes even more flavorful, as those ingredients permeate the meat. Additionally, allow the meat to come to room temperature before placing it in the oven.

The roast should cook for about three to four hours, depending on your oven and the size of the butt. You'll know it is done when your meat thermometer reads 180 degrees Fahrenheit. If the roast starts to turn brown before it is done, simply lay a piece of foil over the affected area for the duration of the cooking time.

Let the roast rest for 10 to 20 minutes before you cut into it. If not, all those delicious juices that make the meat tender, succulent and satisfying, will make their way out onto your cutting board instead of staying put inside the roast.   

Roasting a pork butt is a task that is easily accomplished by any cook, regardless of his or her experience level. With just a few ingredients and lots of love, you can transform this humble piece of meat into an elegant, gourmet meal.


Washington's Green Grocer: Roasted Sunday -- Oven Roasted Pork Butt With Garlic Sage and Mustard

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