Monday, December 21, 2009

Lardo di Arnad

Below is a large hunk of skin-on fatback from either a Ossabaw or a "Crossabaw" (cross between a Ossabaw and Berkshire) from Nature's Hamony Farm.  Originally, it was destined to be rendered and turned into lard.  That was until a fellow poster at 285 Foodies suggested I should make Lardo di Arnad... I agreed.

So I have started the process which is really pretty simple.  According to Jason's instructions, I took 1 liter of water and brought it to a boil.  I used a bottle of spring water just to keep all the flavors super-clean.  Once the water boils, add 300 grams of salt and stir until dissolved.  Add in a hefty dose of herbs and spices and let the mixture steep until it is completely cool.  Here I have used about 8 grams of rosemary, 2 cloves of garlic (crushed), 7 juniper berries (crushed), a tablespoon or so of black peppercorns, 7 sage leaves, 6 whole cloves, 3 bay leaves, a stick of cinnamon, and a few small stems of thyme.  Once cool, pour the brine over the fatback and refrigerate... for a long time.  From here, time does the work.  Jason instructed to leave the fatback in the brine for 3 months, turning once a month, making sure everything is submerged.

So, you have 3 months to figure out what Lardo di Arnad is.  In 3 months (late March) I'll post again and of course show you the finished product.  Below is the fatback in the brine.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Terrapin's Hopsecutioner

Terrapin's newest addition to their year-round selection of brews: Hopsecutioner IPA. It gives new meaning to "killer" IPA... get it? Executioner? Never mind.

This beer is rumored to be one of the most expensive beers that Terrapin makes. Hops tend to be quite expensive and the mix of 6 kinds of hops including Warrior, Chinook, Centennial, Simcoe, Amarillo, and dry hop finish of Cascade certainly make that rumor believable. Aside from the hops this beer has a hefty backbone of malt and it makes the finish less bitter and more sweet and floral. At least that's my best guess while drinking my first glass ever. With that said it does ring in at 78 IBU's so it's still a potent IPA for those who like the hop.

The beer is a nice dark amber color and is quite viscous which makes for a nice mouth feel. This isn't a chugging beer. Congrats to Terrapin on their new brew. I'll be sure to partake often.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Milling About

If anyone has stepped into a mid-scale restaurant somewhere in the South over the past several years you have probably come across the name Anson Mills. For those of you who have not - time to get out more... or time to pay more attention to the menu. Though I have had Anson Mills products sparingly over the years at restaurants, this is the first time I've mail ordered anything from them.

To give a little background, Anson Mills is a producer of heirloom organic grains, legumes, and flours located in Columbia, South Carolina. They have products like oats, beans, rice, farro, cornmeal, etc. Yes, I'm going to make fancy grits. What makes Anson Mills special is first, the flavor that is achieved first by using only heirloom varieties of vegetables and plants and second, they grind everything to order and ship the very same day in frozen, insulated containers. Because they are just over the border there in S.C. regular ground shipping is basically the same as overnight. Shipping costs aren't too bad, I ordered 6 bags of various items and the total (with shipping) was just under $50.

Below is our first order of Anson Mills products and I'm positive it won't be the last. Please check out their website; they have a great deal of information, history, and recipes designed specifically for their products.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Our 2009 Heritage Thanksgiving Turkey from Nature's Harmony Farm

Toms Struttin'

Earlier today we drove to Elberton, Georgia for another visit to Nature's Harmony Farm. Tim & Liz Young hosted turkey buyers from around the southeast for their second annual Turkey Harvest Day on the farm. As always it was great to see Tim, Liz and all the animals they have there.

We began with our electric alarm clock going off at about 7:00 am as opposed to the call and response of the farm's roosters at 4:30 am like last month. When we arrived after our 2 hour drive from Roswell, the Young's had music, cider, farm tours, and of course the guest of honor: heritage breed turkey. We picked out a 14.2 pounder which should be more than enough for the people we're feeding this year. Below are some pictures from our farm tour.

Toms & Hens

Now, why buy a heritage breed turkey versus a regular super market turkey? There is plenty of information out there on heritage breeds versus broad breasted white turkeys, but I think this New York Times article "About A Bird" from 2003 is a very good read. Please take the time to read it if you have not before; it will make you think twice about buying that supermarket turkey next year.

Aside from the ethical reasons, I think heritage breed turkeys simply taste better. I like to cook and whenever possible I seek out ingredients that are of the highest quality, especially for occasions like Thanksgiving. The meats from Nature's Harmony Farm certainly fulfill my needs. The turkeys, and all the animals at the farm, are pasture raised on grass where they are free to run around, scratch at the ground, and live a life that mimics nature as closely as possible.

For those of you who did buy a heritage breed turkey and now you're wondering how to cook it... be aware that these turkeys cook FAST. Last year we had a 13 pound turkey and it was in and out of the oven in about 1 hour and 15 minutes with an oven temperature of about 450F degrees. These birds are built very differently than a broad breasted white: the breast is much taller and elongated, and the legs and thighs are much bigger. That's what happens when a bird runs around on the farm as opposed to being cooped up in a poultry house. We followed this recipe which is similar (if not exactly the same) to the one Tim gave us when we picked up our turkey last year. Part of the reason that the turkeys are done sooner is because they are done at a lower temperature - or at least what is perceived as a lower temperature. I removed our bird from the oven when the thigh meat registered 150F degrees, and it probably should have come out at about 145F. While this might sound low, you have to take carry-over cooking into account which will take the bird into the 160+F degrees range. And, if you follow the USDA guidelines on cooking turkey you should only cook your standard grocery store bird to 165F degrees - not too much difference. The days of cooking turkey to 180F degrees are over, and whatever you do, DO NOT EVER use the plastic pop-up timer to determine the turkey's doneness. Your best tool for keeping track of the turkey's temperature is a probe thermometer.

So while it might be a little late to seek out a heritage breed turkey for this Thanksgiving (Nature's Harmony takes deposits and sold out months ago) keep an eye out for next year, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with the taste and you just might feel a little better about what's on you plate.

Mom & Piglets seen on the tour.

Monday, November 9, 2009

'Avec Eric' with Eric Ripert

If you love watching cooking shows perhaps, like me, you've switched your allegiance from Food Network to your local PBS station. Filled with great ideas and cooking information, our Atlanta affiliates (we have 2) air a near constant onslaught of shows every Saturday afternoon. One of the newest shows to be picked up here in our Atlanta market is Avec Eric with Eric Ripert. Ripert, the silver haired seafood genius of Le Bernardin in Manhattan is the host. The show is simply fantastic. Focusing on not only seafood but other ingredients as well, Ripert guides us through places like Italy, California, and New York to see how recipes are developed in Le Bernardin's kitchen. Be sure to take a minute and check out this gem of a show... if you're busy there's always your DVR.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Manhattan Dining

A couple weeks ago Liv and I spent a long weekend in Manhattan by traveling around to various New York landmark restaurants filling our stomachs and draining our wallets. It was a great way to celebrate anniversary #1. Aside from the draining our wallets part.


After arriving on Thursday mid-morning we walked around Times Square to see the lights and the sights. It was our first time in the city so there was lots of standing and looking up for the first few minutes. I was surprised at how big Diddy is in real life. Before long it was time for lunch. I had picked out a very casual lunch spot because I knew we were going to be out and about. Kwik Meal #1 it was. The cart is known for it's marinated lamb served in a pita. The lamb was incredible. It had everything you want in a good lamb gyro plus more. This wasn't pressed and pre-formed mystery lamb meat, this was well seasoned and topped with tangy yogurt sauce. Excellent.

After lunch we walked some more, checked out Central Park and the subway system and before long it was time to check in to our hotel, relax and get ready for dinner at Momofuku Ssam Bar. When we walked into Ssam Bar, it was evident we were in for a loud dinner. Not to worry though, if Heston Blumenthal and Ruth Reichl were able to handle it, so was I. That's right, a couple of professional super-foodies were in attendance that night.

We walked straight in at about 7:30 and got a couple seats at the bar. The menu is changed daily but there are some standards that have gained enough popularity to earn at least a semi-permanent spot on the menu like the steamed pork buns. David Chang, the brainchild behind the Momofuku family of restaurants is of Korean descent so while the menu has many Korean-Asian influences it is by no means a Korean restaurant. Our dinner was (from the menu descriptions: steamed pork buns (pork belly, hoisin, cucumbers, scallions), fried brussels sprouts (fish sauce vinaigrette, mint, delfino), montauk skate (old bay fingerling potatoes, spicy aioli, preserved lemon), and crispy pig's head (sauerkraut, pear mostarda). The pork buns were fatty and soft with an explosion of deep porky flavor. If you have any reservations about pork or fat, stay away -for all others, this is piggy heaven. The brussels sprouts were great too if a little bit greasy. The vinaigrette and the mint played nicely with this little snack and helped cut the fryer grease that inevitably was caught in the folds of the sprouts. The crispy pig's head was shredded pig's head meat formed into crab cake size cakes, breaded and fried. Again, if you're hesitant... if not, piggy heaven. The skate was also quite good. The spicy aioli really worked well with the potatoes and the few fork-fuls I snagged of the skate were fresh and light.

Dessert? Well how about we walk to the adjoining Milk Bar? We did. This is where the indulgence in pork turns to indulgence in cookies. We opted for a chocolate chocolate something or other, a cornflake chocolate chip marshmallow, and the famous compost cookie (the name is now trademarked). The compost cookie has pretzels, potato chips, coffee, oats, butterscotch, and chocolate chips. Amazingly good and it was clearly the best of the 3. The salty and sweet cookie was a smack-your-face-and-hope-you-have-a-glass-of-milk revelation. As visions of pork buns & cookies danced in our heads, off to bed we went. Great first day.


Friday morning started with a visit to the Statue of Liberty. We reserved crown view access and despite the overcast day it was well worth the extra $3 to be able to climb to the top. The stairs were not hard to climb but they were very steep and very narrow. I'm not a huge guy but my shoulders were nearly touching both sides of the stairwell as we climbed up. The view from the crown was great even though there were a few clouds off in the distance.

For lunch we were off to the famous Katz's Deli. You know, the orgasms and movie place. Based on the movie clip, the place hasn't changed much. Of course I ordered a pastrami on rye with mustard. While it was certainly good, the place seems more like a tourist destination than a food lover's hot spot. Liv was unhappy with her egg salad sandwich. I'm glad we ate here but I probably won't seek it out in any potential future trips.

Friday night we saw a hilarious God of Carnage show with a few names you might recognize if you've ever seen The Sopranos or Dumb & Dumber. The play won the 2009 Tony Award for the best play and for good reason. The acting was superb and the laughs kept coming.

After the play we were off to Locanda Verde. Chef Andrew Carmellini heads up this Italian gem in the Greenwich Hotel. We started with the highly lauded blue crab crostino with jalapeno and the burrata with peppers and fried rosemary. The crab is piled high and was super-fresh. The jalapeno gave a slight kick but didn't sear any taste buds. Excellent starter. The burrata sprinkled with crunchy salt and fried rosemary was a milky-cheesy godsend. If you've never had burrata, seek it out. It is incredible. After the apps I had the braised veal cheeks served over risotto milanese. The veal was tender and had a glazy, rich, succulent coating that makes your lips stick together. Everything you want in a great braised dish. Liv had a broccoli rabe sausage served over fagioli beans. Hers was good but I certainly liked mine better. However the real surprise was dessert. We chose the "La Fantasia for Two" and it was a big bowl of pumpkin gelato, brown butter gelato, apple cider granita, caramelized apples, and cinnamon sugar croutons. Wow. Paired with a fantastic recommended amaro by our waiter, the desert took our meal to the next level. The crutons were crisp despite being soaked in melted gelato and the apple cider granita was the crisp and cold yin to the brown butter gelato's yang.


After getting a phone call on Saturday morning I was told that our childhood cat, Tinkerbell, had been put to sleep earlier in the morning (she was 20 1/2 years old). I was in need of some cheering up and NYC pizza was my medicine. We met my cousins Lindsay and Jennifer who live in the the city (albeit in different boroughs) at Luzzo's pizza. Nice place for a beer and some of the best pizza ever - great for cheering up! The restaurant has a "grandfathered" coal burning oven that has been around for 107 years. The pizza crust was crisp yet moist and held the topping of bufala mozarella wonderfully. Add in a couple Peroni's and I was good to go. We didn't gorge ourselves on pizza today because we were headed to Babbo for dinner.

Babbo, the powerhouse restaurant from Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, is one of the most popular restaurants in the city, and for good reason: our dinner was nothing short of fantastic. Reservations are taken 30 days in advance to the numerical date and if you don't start calling at 10 am you better not get your hopes up. It took me about 15 minutes of dialing on 2 phones simultaneously, non-stop to get through for our Saturday night dinner. I ended up with a 6:30 reservation which at first seemed a tiny bit early, but after we left the restaurant at about 9:45 it was clear that the 6:30 time was perfect. Back to the food, we chose the 8 course pasta tasting menu (see the menu below) along with the wine pairings. The pasta was amazing and the wine pairing put every course waaaay over the top in a good way. Kudos to Marla Priest, the sommelier. If you make it to Babbo and try this tasting menu, do not hesitate to order the wine pairings. I think our favorite was the garganelli with "funghi trifolati." The hand rolled pasta accented with porcini mushrooms, parsley and a light butter sauce was like nothing I've had before. One of the best meals I've ever had.


Sunday was bittersweet because we knew it was our last day. We woke up and went searching for a brunch/snack. Knowing that Hell's Kitchen wasn't far we walked to Sullivan Street Bakery and picked up a croissant, and a "cubano" a cuban sandwich with an awesome garlic aioli & cheese and a San Pellegrino Aranciata. You've never heard of Sullivan Street Bakery? I bet you have... no knead bread anyone? After more walking around on what was undeniably a beautiful fall afternoon in Central Park, it was about time to go home.

New York is certainly a fantastic culinary city, but looking back I know we only scratched the surface. There's so much to do and see that a long weekend is no where near long enough.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pork & Beans

Don't worry this is gourmet pork & beans...

Today is our first wedding anniversary so how do we celebrate? Pork and beans of course! This is real, homemade pork and beans with white beans soaked and cooked in homemade chicken stock and braised (fresh, not smoked) pork/ham hocks form Nature's Harmony Farm. Noticing a trend with these last few posts? This pork was superb - full of flavor which was only enhanced by the chicken stock, garlic, and rosemary.

Happy anniversary, sweet pea!

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Last From a Legend

If you have been following the latest news from the food world you undoubtedly know that the November issue of Gourmet Magazine is the legendary publication's last. It is truly unfortunate that a magazine like Gourmet has been scrapped, but I suppose it's not terribly surprising that a few of our favorite things, no matter how beloved and cherished, will succumb to the obvious economic pressures of our time. As is tradition, the November issue features a beautiful roast turkey fit for, well... the cover of Gourmet. While that may not be particularly noteworthy, the final Letter From the Editor by Ruth Reichl is hauntingly fitting for this final issue, considering it was written months ago (magazines have to plan ahead, you know).

In the letter, Reichl reminisces about her childhood Thanksgiving celebrations and reminds us that the holiday shouldn't be so much about the glitz and glam of polished silver, spotless wine glasses, and picture perfect turkeys, but rather the memories created during the gathering of friends and family. To me it is a fitting reminder because even though the magazine often delved into unattainable, wild culinary fantasies, the thing we should cherish most about Gourmet is the legacy it has left behind. I can think of no other culinary magazine that has has such an influence on me and I'm sure countless others. Thanks to Gourmet for all the great inspiration over the years and good luck to all of its staff.

The final issue still in it's plastic packaging after arriving in the mail.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Poulet Rouge from Nature's Harmony Farm

If you cook whole chicken on a regular basis you will probably notice something different in the pictures below. The pictures show a chicken with a smaller, thinner breast and longer legs when compared to a typical supermarket chicken. Now, small breasts aren't always desirable in all aspects of life, but this is a chicken... get your mind out of the gutter! This is a Poulet Rouge (French for Red Chicken) from Nature's Harmony Farm. What is the difference aside from the appearance? For one, they are older chickens: typically twice as old (or more) than a standard supermarket chicken. They are a slower growing, hardier breed of chicken. They are also raised differently. As opposed to being raised in a packed, overcrowded chicken house, the chickens at Nature's Harmony are raised on pasture. To read more about how Nature's Harmony Farm raises their Poulet Rouge chickens, click here.

Aside from the standards by which they are raised, I can tell you based on first hand experience that these Poulet Rouge chickens are an amazing change from what is often bought at the supermarket. The end result is a chicken that is full of flavor, moisture, and texture. Far more flavor than what you are probably used to. If you have the chance to purchase a Poulet Rouge chicken, by all means buy it! I'm certain that you will be pleasantly surprised at the difference. Shown below is a finished roasted chicken over a bed of turnip greens, fresh out of the oven.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Dinner on the Farm

Saturday 10/10/09

Leaving Atlanta on Saturday morning under threat of rain, Liv and I attended the "Local Food Campout" at Nature's Harmony Farm in Elberton, Georgia. We had to trust that the food gods would smile on us instead of... spit? Anyway, we weren't spit on - not even one drop. The following is a brief overview of our wonderful Saturday and Sunday on the farm.

The event was a celebration of local food both from the farm itself and from other local farms like Full Moon Farm which provided seasonal organic vegetables and cheese from Split Creek Farm. All the food was exquisitely prepared by Chef Hugh Acheson and his team. Check out the menu further down in the post. Aside from the food, there were ample adult joy beverages from Terrapin Beer and wine from Boutier Winery gracing the tables.

This was our second visit to the farm. Our first visit was in 2008 when we bought our Thanksgiving turkey from Tim and Liz Young. This November we're headed out to the farm for our celebratory turkey again... we can't wait! Below is a short video of some turkeys gobbling and the males strutting their stuff - notice the fluffed and fanned feathers on the toms (males).

Upon arrival in Elberton we set up our tent in the pasture. The farm tour would begin soon and we wanted to make sure we had our humble abode set up for the night. The farm's designated tent inspector made sure that everything was up to par.

Farm's Designated Tent Inspector

The tour was an all inclusive look at how the animals are raised and cared for. Tim and Liz are committed to animal welfare above all else and raising the animals in an environment that mimics nature as closely as possible. The results are some of the best tasting meats I've ever found. To read more about Nature's Harmony farm values, click here.

Speaking of, what animals are raised at Nature's Harmony Farm? Poulet Rouge chickens and other pasture raised chickens, grass fed beef, grass fed lamb, naturally raised wood lot pork (including Berkshire, Ossabaw, and Large Black), heritage breed turkeys, heritage breed geese, and ducks. Oh, and they have a few honey bee boxes on the property too. Suffices to say they and their 3 apprentices have their hands full. One of the most interesting stories (and tastiest dishes of the night) was the story of the Ossabaw Island pigs. If you are at all unfamiliar with Ossabaw Island pigs, I encourage you to click on this link. It is a blog post by Tim at the farm and gives the history behind this very interesting and very rare breed. Below are several pictures of the animals that were taken on the tour.

Pollyanna, a Murray Grey Calf born on 9/28/09. Pictured here she is only 12 days old!

Cattle relaxing in the pasture.

Pollyanna stealing the spotlight, with lamb and cows in the background.

Ossabaw Island Pig (picture #1)

Ossabaw Island Pig (picture #2)

Ossabaw Island Pig (picture #3)

Naked Neck chickens raised under Poulet Rouge standards.

Pasture raised ducks

Berkshire Pigs

Heritage Geese

Narragansett Turkey

After the tour was over it was time for dinner! Chef Acheson (green shirt) prepared a killer multi-course dinner for 100+ people.

Menu for 10/10/2009

Passed hors d'oeuvres

Pimento cheese sandwiches with pickled okra

Deviled egg salad with caviar

Chilled sweet potato soup with chive cream

On the table

Roasted beets with avocado, Split Creek feta, and arugula

Tians of eggplant, sweet peppers, and basil and Split Creek goat cheese

Savory swiss chard tart

Red Mule polenta with melted leeks

Grilled Nature's Harmony Farm Ossabaw pork chops with agrodolce

Roasted Nature's Harmony Kathadin lamb leg with salsa verde

Nature's Harmony Poulet Rouge chicken bog over rice

Pumpkin and pecan pie

Following dinner was a warm bonfire and lively music from the North Georgia Bluegrass Band. The food and company was really, really great and Liv and I enjoyed every minute of it. After the band was finished, it was time for bed.

Sunday 10/11/09

Morning on the farm comes early, especially with what seemed like hundreds of roosters cock-a-doodle-dooing at sunrise. For anyone who thinks roosters don't cock-a-doodle-doo when the sun comes up, you can kiss my ass... they do. Jokes aside, the wake up call was fully expected considering we were sleeping only several yards from the chickens. After we opened the tent and saw the cool morning mist and the animals up and about, we put on our shoes and walked the farm watching some kids help with morning chores before breakfast.

Sunrise over Nature's Harmony Farm

Awake Yet? This was my first view when I unzipped the tent.

Breakfast was pancakes with honey right from the farm's bees and sausage made from the farm's pigs. Tim took the helm and made everyone a wonderful breakfast.

Honey bees hard at work.

Thanks to the apprentices (Mario, Kerry & Amanda), Chef Hugh and his team, but most importantly Tim and Liz for a wonderful weekend. We look forward to similar events in the future and if you are interested in attending tours or events, or simply want to learn more about the farm, visit the website and blog by clicking here.

See a great video recap that Tim and Liz put together (below), and check out Tim's blog post about the event here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Monster Among Us

Just when you thought it was safe to walk on your lawn, one of these jumps out in front of you. This is the definition of a monster mushroom. This makes your average grocery store portabella look like an amuse bouche. The mushroom is almost certainly a result of the massive rainfall we've had at the beginning of the week.

I'm not sure what kind of mushroom this is, but if anyone out there can help identify, please post a response here. In the meantime try not to get too scared by these monster mushroom pictures.

EDIT: After some internet research I think the mushroom in question is a huge puff ball mushroom. They are evidently known to grow to giant proportions and they are in fact edible!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

David Chang's Bo Ssam

Vegetarians: please kindly disregard this post.

Everyone else: ready for some pork?

This pork shoulder recipe from David Chang of Momofuku fame, is a popular dish at Ssam Bar in Manhattan. The process of curing overnight and slow roasting the pork is a semi-lengthy process, but it is also extremely easy. Here I have taken a 9 1/4 pound whole picnic shoulder, removed the skin, removed the shank end, cured it according to Chang's directions, and roasted it. While the butchering on this picnic shoulder is more work than is truly necessary, it's kind of fun at the same time if you're into practicing some minor knife skills.

Above is a whole picnic pork shoulder. Why is it called a picnic shoulder? I'm not really sure so I dug around online. After all, at a little over 9 pounds its hardly the first thing I would consider lugging to a Sunday picnic. I found this website that I will quote from because it isn't the kind of thing I can take credit for coming up with on my own. The website says "generally, the shoulder is smoked... which gives it a very ham-like flavor. Since picnic shoulder/ham is an inexpensive substitute for real ham (which only comes from the hind legs), [it is speculated] that it would have been considered a good cut for casual dining — such as a picnic — rather than for use at a formal family dinner, such as Easter or Thanksgiving." I'll accept that as an answer. Anyway, on to some kitchen counter butchering.

The first step is to remove the skin. This isn't necessary for all dishes that call for a pork shoulder/picnic shoulder/pork butt, but for this recipe I wanted good contact between the curing agents (salt and sugar) and the meat. Removing the skin is easy enough - just tease away at the layer of fat under the skin with a sharp boning knife. The skin comes off fairly easily.

Once the skin is removed it can be used in a couple different applications. You could fry it in the style of chicharron (fancy way of saying pork rinds) or you can let the kids play Silence of the Lambs and make a mask out of it. Who says cooking isn't fun for the whole family?!

Here I have decided to remove the shank or leg end from the shoulder itself. This is an optional step but remember the whole thing now weighs about 9 pounds so you're probably not going to be missing the extra weight unless you're having a party. Removing the shank allows it to be used for another dish too, like soup. Cutting off the shank requires a little knife wiggling and exploring but it makes you kind of proud once you've accomplished it.

After a slight mis-cut, I'm almost done...

Done! Above are the separated shank and shoulder. The shank along with some trimmings from the shoulder are going into a freezer bag for a later date.

Now comes the first real step of the recipe: Mix one cup of coarse salt (I always use Kosher salt) and one cup of regular white sugar in a bowl. Thoroughly rub the salt/sugar mixture ALL over the pork.

Once you are sure you have covered everything, lay the pork shoulder in the bowl, cover everything with foil, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to overnight. Sounds pretty easy right? Now go grab a beer, scan the backyard for squirrels (Squirrel Kill Count: 138), and enjoy the weekend.

Day #2

6 or 7 hours before you're ready for dinner preheat your oven to 300 F degrees. Take your now cured pork shoulder from the fridge and set it in a large roasting pan. In the oven it goes... Every hour or so baste the pork with the rendered pork fat accumulating in the bottom of the pan. If you notice the pan drippings starting to burn in the bottom of the pan add a 1/4 or a 1/3 cup of water.

To the left you can see the cured pork shoulder, fat side down. I took a picture of it to show how the color has changed. It has turned a dark, glossy red because of the salt and sugar.

To the right is the pork shoulder fat side up, the way it will be roasted. This way the melting fat will help baste the meat as it cooks.

When the pork is tender and shreds easily with a fork (think southern BBQ) it is ready. Remove the pork from the oven and ramp it up to 500 F degrees. Meanwhile mix up about 7 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of coarse salt. I know, I know, you ask MORE sugar and salt? Yes. When David Chang says do something to pork, you do it.

Sprinkle this mixture of sugar and salt on the pork and put the whole thing back in the oven until the sugar has melted and turned a dark, caramel, crispy brown, 10 to 15 minutes more - tops. You might have to use the broiler, or if you want to play with fire use a blow torch to melt the sugar. Above is the sugar sprinkled over the nearly finished pork.

Now after all your hard work... wait it wasn't that hard, was it? Your oven worked harder than you did. Anyway, now you're finally ready for dinner. I'm serving this bo ssam pork with some Jasmine rice, red leaf lettuce, sliced cucumbers, sauteed shiitake mushrooms, kimchi, ginger-scallion sauce, and ssam sauce. Use tongs to pull apart the pork shoulder and mix and match the sauces, vegetables, and the pork, and eat it on folded lettuce leaves like tacos.

The David Chang recipe invites raw oysters to the party, and while I'm always on board for raw oysters, the wife and our good friends (including one shellfish allergy) weren't going to have it. Of course, the dish was wonderful even without the bivalves.

All of the recipes for the pork and the sauces can be found at various sites/blogs around the net, but I referred to Martha Stewart's site most often because David Chang himself appeared on her show to demonstrate the recipe. A video can be found on the Martha Stewart site by clicking on the picture above the recipe. Enjoy this with your friends; I can tell you from experience they will like it! Below is the final product - a great Sunday dinner.