This weekend is all about the pig as Cochon555 makes a tour stop in Nashville. Tony Galzin of Nicky’s Coal Fired, Jason Zygmont of The Treehouse, Joey Ray of Carter’s, Kaelin Ulrich Trilling of Bajo Sexto Taco Lounge and Nathan Duensing of Marsh House are helping celebrate heritage breed pigs at this “nose-to-tail” competition that’s dedicated to supporting family farmers and educating chefs and diners about the agricultural importance of utilizing Old World (non-indigenous) livestock. These chefs will compete in a whole-pig competition, while wine and booze will enjoy some of the spotlight at the additional event activities, Somm Smackdown and Punch Kings.
In anticipation of the event, we have rounded up recipes from four of the featured chefs, each celebrating various parts of the pig while allowing the pork flavors to shine. From popcorn to pork shanks, whip up one of these tasty pork recipes.
Smoked Pork Butt Tacos with Charred Jalapeño and Avocado Salsa
Kaelin Ulrich Trilling, Executive Chef at Bajo Sexto Taco Lounge
Chef Kaelin had us at “taco,” but he won our hearts with his smoked pork butt taco recipe. “I love this taco because it’s the perfect day-off grub,” he shares. “I usually smoke some meats, eat some tacos and enjoy a couple Mexican beers on my day off. I love this recipe in particular because it takes so much time and love, but the final product is something you can’t taste in any other place.”
- 1 pound of boneless pork butt
- 2 heads of garlic
- 2 whole white onions
- Red, white oak or hickory or preferred smoking wood
- Apple juice
- 5 tomatillos, medium
- ½ white onion, cut in quarters
- 1 head of garlic, peeled
- 8 jalapeños: 4 whole (no stem), 4 seeded and deveined
- 1 bunch of cilantro
- 2 avocados, each cut in cubes when finishing salsa
- ¼ cup of fresh squeezed lime juice
- Sea salt
- In a smoker or outdoor grill, start a fire. Once the embers are glowing, slowly let your smoking wood start slow burning.
- Meanwhile, season your pork heavily with sea salt and pepper.
- Take outside and place on the non-heated side/area of the grill so only smoke can get to it (you’re looking for a low heat, around 225-250 degrees F so that you can smoke the pork for a long time without reaching a high temp).
- Add onions and garlic next to the pork and smoke for 2-3 hours; then remove from grill and place in a cooking pot with the smoked onions and garlic.
- Add apple juice covering ½ of the pot.
- Cover with foil and cook in oven at 350 degrees F for 1.5 hours until fork tender.
- Once cooked, allow to cool in its own juices.
- Place a skillet on a burner and allow it to get medium hot, then add tomatillos, garlic, onion and jalapeños and char until tomatillos are cooked through.
- Remove ingredients and add to a mortar & pestle, molcajete or blender and blend until chunky.
- Cool to room temp, then fold in cut avocados, sea salt, cilantro and lime juice to taste. Adjust with salt as needed.
- Heat tortillas and add about 2-3 oz of pork in each tortilla and place a tablespoon of salsa on top.
- Finish with raw white onion, cilantro and radishes, add a fresh squeeze of lime and enjoy!
Pork Rillette with Bread-and-Butter Pickles, Mustard and Grilled Bread
Nathan Duensing, Executive Chef at Marsh House
Executive chef at Thompson Nashville’s Marsh House, Chef Duensing has an appreciation for pork, but more specifically for pork rillette. “I really love pork rillette. It is rich, full of flavor and so luscious,” he tells us. “When we butcher, I always save the belly trim to make rillette. It is a great addition to any charcuterie plate and is really easy to make. Simply serve with grilled bread, mustard and pickles or with a seasonal fruit jam.”
- 1 pound pork butt, diced into 1-inch cubes
- 1 pound pork belly, diced into 1-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup leeks, large dice
- 1 cup white onions, large dice
- 1 cup carrots, large dice
- 1 cup celery, large dice
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- ½ cup white wine
- bouquet garnish (3 thyme sprigs, 3 sprigs parsley, 2 bay leaves)
- 3 cups pork stock (substitute chicken stock if necessary)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- rendered pork fat
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
- Season all pork with salt and pepper.
- Place cast iron dutch oven on medium heat and add olive oil. When oil is hot, add pork belly and pork butt and brown on all sides.
- Once meat is browned, remove pork from dutch oven. Add leeks, onions, carrots to dutch oven and sauté for about 4 minutes.
- Add garlic and sauté for an additional 2 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan with white wine and add the bouquet garni and pork stock. Bring to a simmer and cover.
- Place dutch oven in oven and cook for 3 hours at 275 degrees F.
- After cooked, let it cool enough so you can pull the meat out of the liquid.
- Shred the meat into a standing mixer bowl and throw away any gristle.
- Strain the stock and throw away the herbs and vegetables.
- Using a paddle attachment, mix the meat on medium speed slowly adding ¼ cup of the stock back in with the meat. The stock should be well incorporated and the meat should look wet.
- Place the rillette in small ramekins ¾ full and press down to make them flat on the top.
- Heat up pork fat and pour on top creating a thin layer over the meat.
- Place in cooler and let set for 24 hours to allow all the flavors to meld.
Bacon Bourbon Salted Caramel Popcorn
Joey Ray, Executive Chef at Carter’s at Union Station Hotel
Chef Ray, who was dubbed by his family the “King of Biscuits and Gravy,” has a knack for reinventing all-American favorites. In the case of the bacon bourbon salted caramel popcorn, he uses bacon to reinvent the classic ballgame treat, Cracker Jack. Sweet, nutty, salty and bacon-y, this dish is as addictive as you’d expect. You won’t find this on Carter’s menu, but you will find other pork favorites, included pork pate, pork skins, braised pork cheeks, speck and smoked pulled pork.
- 4 ounces bacon
- 1/3 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
- 4 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
- 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup bourbon plus 1 tablespoon
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus extra as needed
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/5 cup lightly toasted blanched peanuts
- cayenne (optional)
- Position oven racks in upper and lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 250°F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil or parchment paper; set aside.
- Lightly coat a very large bowl with nonstick spray. Lightly coat a large spoon or rubber spatula with nonstick spray; set aside.
- Cook the bacon until crisp, in batches as needed, reserving fat. Drain bacon on paper towels and cool, then chop into tiny pieces; set aside. Strain fat, leaving any solids behind to discard. Place bacon fat in a large, deep stockpot (at least a 6-quart pot) and place over low heat. Add a couple of corn kernels, cover and wait for them to pop. Add remaining popcorn and continue cooking over low heat until all the kernels are popped, shaking the pan a few times and lifting the lid once or twice to allow steam to escape. Pour popcorn into prepared bowl.
- Place the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, ¼ cup bourbon and salt in a heavy-bottomed, medium-sized saucepan and stir to combine. Cook over medium-high heat until it boils, then boil for about 4 minutes without stirring. If you have a candy thermometer, you want the mixture to come to 275°F; the color should be a rich golden brown. Remove from the heat, add remaining 1 tablespoon bourbon, vanilla and baking soda and swirl the pot to incorporate.
- Immediately and slowly pour the caramel over the popcorn, stirring and tossing it constantly with the prepared spoon/spatula. You want to coat the popcorn as evenly as possible with the caramel. Toss in the bacon pieces as you go. Taste the popcorn at this stage. If you want more salt, or want to add cayenne to taste, sprinkle over the popcorn as you toss it.
- Spread mixture onto the baking sheets and cook in the oven, make sure you grease your pans. Cook the mixture for 30 minutes and stir well every ten minutes to mix in caramel and to keep it coated. Cool the finished product and enjoy!
Red Wine Campanelle with Pork Shank Sugo
Tony Galzin, Executive Chef & Partner Nicky’s Coal Fired
You might know Nicky’s for being the master of all things coal-fired, but Chef Tony Galzin is no stranger to braising. The basis of the sauce in this dish are pork shanks that are braised overnight with mirepoix, aromatics, red wine and pork stock. Sugo is a traditionally Italian gravy or sauce that in this case uses pork shanks. The dish is rich and hearty and showcases the dynamic flavors of the pork.
- 2 large pork shanks
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 carrots
- 2 onions
- 1 head celery
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 bunch thyme
- 4 cups dry red wine
- 4 quarts rich pork stock salt & pepper
- Cut the vegetables into large segments.
- Season the pork shanks liberally with salt and pepper.
- Preheat an oven to 250 degrees F.
- Heat a heavy-bottomed brazier over medium-high and add the olive oil.
- When the oil is shimmering, add the shanks, and sear on all sides until dark brown.
- Remove from the pan and add the vegetables, bay leaves, thyme and wine.
- Reduce the wine by 3/4.
- Add the shanks back into the pot, cover with stock and bring up to a simmer.
- Remove from the heat, cover tightly with foil and braise overnight (or for 10 hrs) in the low oven.
- When done braising, remove the foil and allow to set at room temperature until cool enough to handle.
- Remove the shanks, pick the meat from the bones, and refrigerate.
- Strain the braising liquid through a fine sieve and cool overnight.
- The next day, remove the fat from the top of the liquid and combine with the picked meat.
- Cook slowly over low heat for several hours, until a thick, rich sauce is achieved.
- Serve with a ridged pasta that can hold the sauce, and top with pecorino Romano.
Cochon555 takes place next Sunday, February 26 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Union Station Hotel. To learn more and purchase tickets, click here.