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How to Cook Pork Collar

METHOD

Here are some methods to turn this rather underrated cut into a show-stopper:

Roasting

  1. Preparation: Rub the pork collar generously with a mixture of herbs like rosemary, thyme, and garlic. Add salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.
  2. Cooking: Preheat your oven to 180°C. Place the meat in a roasting pan and cook for about 35-40 minutes per 500 grams, or until the internal temperature reaches at least 63°C.
  3. Resting: Allow the meat to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing. This helps the juices redistribute throughout the meat, keeping it moist.

Grilling

  1. Preparation: Marinade the pork collar in a mixture of olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and your choice of herbs for at least 2 hours, or overnight for better absorption of flavours.
  2. Cooking: Preheat the grill to medium-high. Grill the meat for about 7-10 minutes per side, depending on thickness, until the internal temperature is at least 63°C.
  3. Resting: Let it rest for a few minutes before serving.

Braising

  1. Preparation: Season the pork collar with salt, pepper, and any other desired spices.
  2. Searing: Heat some oil in a heavy-bottomed pot and brown the meat on all sides.
  3. Cooking: Add broth, wine, or a mixture of both until the meat is partially submerged. Include aromatics like onion, garlic, and herbs. Cover and simmer on low for about 2-3 hours.
  4. Resting: Allow the meat to rest in the braising liquid for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Sous-Vide

  1. Preparation: Season the pork collar with your choice of herbs and spices. Place it in a vacuum-sealed bag with a splash of olive oil.
  2. Cooking: Submerge the bag in a water bath set to around 60°C and cook for 4-8 hours.
  3. Finishing: Remove from the bag and sear quickly on a hot pan to develop a crust.

Slow-Cooker

  1. Preparation: Season the pork collar and place it in the slow cooker along with a mix of vegetables and broth.
  2. Cooking: Set the cooker to low and cook for about 6-8 hours, or until the meat is fork-tender.
  3. Serving: Can be shredded for pulled pork sandwiches or served in slices.

 

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Pairing pork collar with complementary sides, and condiments can elevate the dining experience, transforming the meal into a harmonious symphony of flavours and textures. Here are some suggestions:

Sides

  1. Roast Vegetables: Root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, or potatoes roast beautifully and absorb the meaty flavours well.
  2. Slaw: A tangy coleslaw can cut through the fattiness of the pork, offering a refreshing contrast.
  3. Green Beans: Steamed or sautéed with a touch of garlic, they provide a healthy and flavourful counterpoint.
  4. Grilled Corn: Its sweetness pairs wonderfully with the savoury character of the meat.
  5. Polenta or Mashed Potatoes: These starchy sides act as the perfect canvas for the pork collar's rich flavours.

Condiments and Sauces

  1. Apple Sauce: The traditional sweet and tart apple sauce is a time-honoured companion for pork.
  2. Gravy: A rich, meaty gravy made from the pan drippings amplifies the meat's inherent flavours.
  3. Chimichurri: This Argentinian sauce made from parsley, garlic, vinegar, and oil provides a herby, zesty kick.
  4. Mustard: A good quality Dijon or whole-grain mustard can add a tangy spice.
  5. BBQ Sauce: If you've gone for a grilled or smoked preparation, a smoky or spicy BBQ sauce might be in order.

Desserts

  1. Fruit-Based Desserts: Think apple tart, peach cobbler, or a citrus sorbet to cleanse the palate.
  2. Cheese Board: If you prefer a savoury end to your meal, a selection of cheeses with some crusty bread could be delightful.

Selecting the right ingredients to pair with pork collar can turn an already delectable piece of meat into a truly extraordinary meal. Given its richness and versatility, pork collar welcomes a variety of complementary ingredients. Here are some to consider:

Fruits

  1. Apple: Often paired with pork in sauces or as a side.
  2. Peach: Fresh or grilled, their sweetness complements pork well.
  3. Citrus Fruits: Lemon, lime, or orange can add a zesty kick.

Vegetables

  1. Root Vegetables: Carrots, parsnips, and potatoes roast beautifully alongside pork.
  2. Leafy Greens: Spinach, kale, or chard can balance the richness of the meat.
  3. Brassicas: Think cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, or broccoli.

Herbs & Spices

  1. Rosemary: Its woodsy aroma pairs beautifully with pork.
  2. Thyme: Adds a subtle earthiness.
  3. Garlic: A classic that imparts a depth of flavour.
  4. Cumin: Adds a warm, spicy note if you're looking to diversify the flavour profile.

Dairy

  1. Cheese: A little bit of a strong cheese like Gruyère can add complexity.
  2. Cream: In sauces or casseroles, for added richness.

Nuts & Seeds

  1. Almonds: Sliced almonds can add a delightful crunch to salads served with pork.
  2. Sesame Seeds: For a touch of texture and a nutty flavour.

Grains

  1. Rice: From plain to pilaf, it's a versatile companion.
  2. Quinoa: A healthier grain option that's also protein-rich.
  3. Polenta: A warm and comforting side that’s especially good with braised or stewed pork collar.

Condiments & Sauces

  1. Mustard: A tangy Dijon or whole-grain variety pairs nicely.
  2. Balsamic Glaze: A drizzle can add a rich, tart contrast.
  3. Soy Sauce: If you're veering toward an Asian-inspired dish, it integrates seamlessly.

Others

  1. Bacon: For the pork purists, wrapping your pork collar in bacon can elevate its flavours.
  2. Olives: In stews or casseroles, their briny tang can cut through the meat’s richness.

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Hot Tips

Two-Zone Grilling: On a grill, use a two-zone setup—direct heat to sear and indirect heat to finish cooking. This prevents drying out and overcooking.

Use a Meat Thermometer: Don't leave perfection to chance. A reliable meat thermometer can guide you to the ideal internal temperature, which for pork is at least 63°C.

Pairings

Wines

  1. Red Wine: Opt for wines that are robust yet fruity, like a Zinfandel or a Spanish Tempranillo. Their hearty flavours and tannins can stand up to the richness of the pork.
  2. White Wine: If you're a white wine aficionado, consider a full-bodied, oaked Chardonnay. Its buttery texture and complex flavours can match well with the meat.

Beer

  1. Amber Ale: The maltiness of amber ales pairs excellently with the pork's natural sweetness, while the hoppy bitterness balances its richness.
  2. Porter or Stout: If you've prepared the pork collar with a smoky or grilled method, the smoky and coffee undertones in these beers make for a sublime pairing.

Cider

  1. Dry Apple Cider: The crisp tartness and gentle sweetness of a dry apple cider can provide a refreshing contrast to the fattiness of the pork.
  2. Pear Cider: For a more subtle fruitiness, a pear cider can be an elegant accompaniment.

Cocktails and Spirits

  1. Old Fashioned: The whisky's smokiness and the cocktail's hint of sweetness can nicely underline the pork's natural flavours.
  2. Gin and Tonic: If you've gone for a herby marinade or sauce, a G&T can emphasise those botanical notes.

Non-Alcoholic Options

  1. Iced Tea: Unsweetened iced tea with a dash of lemon can be both refreshing and palate-cleansing.
  2. Lemonade: A homemade lemonade with a hint of mint or basil can offer a tangy counterpoint to the pork's richness.