Pork shoulder is one of my favorite cuts of meat. Cook it long enough and it turns into tender, juicy shreds of pork.
So, how about 24 hours? Is that cooking it long enough? That’s the beauty of Sous Vide. It takes low and slow to its logical conclusion.
I bought a pair of frozen pork shoulder steaks at the farmers market…last summer. They’ve been in the freezer ever since. Shame on me for forgetting them, but when I uncovered them, I realized they were perfect for sous vide.
The only downside to Sous Vide cooking is it takes planning ahead…a day ahead. While the kids were cleaning up Wednesday night dinner, I started to work for Thursday. Not that it was much work - I cut the frozen pork steaks out of their bags, sprinkled them with salt and pepper, and re-sealed them in new vacuum bags. (The kids enjoy watching the vacuum sealer at work.) The bags went in my Sous Vide Supreme, the kids finished the dishes, and we all went about our evening routine.
24 hours later, it was time for dinner. I cut the cooked and tender pork steaks out of the bag and browned them quickly in a searing hot pan. (I served the pork with a purple cabbage slaw, because I like slaw with pork shoulder, and cabbage is easy to find this time of year.)
So, here’s an easy weeknight pork shoulder dinner. I know, it’s two weeknights. Don’t worry. There is fifteen minutes of total active time between the two days - you’ll have a little time to relax.
Recipe: Sous Vide Pork Shoulder Steaks with Purple Cabbage Slaw
- Sous vide water bath (I use a SousVide Supreme Demi)
- Heavy fry pan (I use a Le Creuset, but my All-Clad would do just as well).
- 2 (1 inch thick) pork shoulder steaks
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil (for searing)
Purple cabbage slaw
- Half of a small head of purple cabbage, cored and sliced thin
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt (or ½ teaspoon kosher salt)
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
1. Sous Vide the pork
Sprinkle the pork steaks with salt and pepper, and vaccum seal each steak in its own cooking bag. Cook the steaks in a sous vide water bath at 160°F/71°C for 24 hours.
2. Make the purple cabbage slaw
The next night, right before searing the pork, make the slaw. Put the thin sliced cabbage in a large bowl, sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Whisk the lemon juice, mustard, mayo, and olive oil in a small bowl, then pour over the cabbage and toss to coat.
3. Sear the pork
Put a heavy frypan on the stove over medium heat to preheat. I let my cast iron pan heat up for ten minutes. Remove the steaks from their cooking bags - be careful, they’re really tender, and may want to fall apart. Pat dry with paper towels. Add a teaspoon of vegetable oil to the pan and swirl to coat, then add the pork steaks and sear until well browned, about 1 minute a side.
Cut the steaks into four serving pieces (or pull them apart - they’ll separate along the natural seams in the meat). Serve with the purple cabbage slaw.
- When the meat starts from frozen, I recommend an extra extra half hour of Sous Vide cooking. Usually. In this case, that’s kind of silly - after 24 hours, an extra half hour won’t make much of a difference either way.
- A tip I picked up from ChefSteps.com - Every extra 10°F/5°C increase in temeprature cuts the cooking time in half. So, if you forgot to start sous vide the night before, start it in the morning at 169°F/76°C for 12 hours. Or if you have more time and want more tender meat, cook at 150°F/65.5°C for 48 hours.
- How do you know the pork is done? When you pick up a chop, and it comes apart at the seams, like this...
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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