Watch 4 Levels | 4 Levels of Roast Pork: Amateur to Food Scientist | Epicurious Video | CNE |

[pan sizzling]

[peeler rasping]

[upbeat beat]

My name is Shariff and I’m a level one chef.

I’m Lorenzo and I’m a level two chef.

Hi, my name is Jameeale Xeno.

Everyone calls me Jamee

and I’ve been a professional chef for 15 years.

[upbeat beat]

Or Kahina, I love your pork.

She makes the best roasted pork.

I think she’s a level 10 at roasting pork,

so let’s hope I can match up to her.

I am going to be making roast pork, pork belly.

Basically, it’s lechon and I’m gonna be baking it.

Today we’re making a roast pork shoulder

also known as pernil from where I’m from,

that’s Puerto Rico.

[intense melody]

I love this cut of the meat

because it’s fatty and I love the fat.

And this is a bone in pork butt, which makes it even better.

It’s juicy.

You know, I love pork, all things pork.


But pork belly is basically what you want

when you are getting the crispness and fat of a roast pork

that I grew up on.

Today I’m making a roast pork shoulder.

I’m using the shoulder cut instead of the leg cut

because for pernil you can use either,

but I prefer to use a shoulder.

There’s more fat content on it,

it’s a little meatier, no bone in,

so I have less cooking time.

Well, let’s get started folks.

My pork belly needs to go for a swim.

I’m going to salt and pepper just the meat portion of it.

And I’m going to just put this pork belly

into the Instant Pot.

I’m going to immediately submerge this pork belly.

So I’m just gonna transfer

this beautiful piece of pork onto here.

Using my garlic powder.

Now I’m adding my onion powder.

Now into, the dark soy sauce.

Now what I have here is Chinese five spice.

We have bay leaves.

Make sure you crack ’em.


You release a little bit of the oils.

What I’m gonna do right now is put all of the ingredients

that we’re gonna use into the food processor.

I don’t use the top green part of the leek for this recipe.

What I do use is the white.

It’s just gonna add this like peppery,

herbaceous flavor that I love.

Okay, just throw everything inside this bowl.

[Both] Black peppercorn.

[Jamee] Oregano, kosher salt, parsley.

Just basically run your fingers down the thyme stalk

and you’ll pull it right off.

We’re gonna put in the rosemary.

Shaoxing wine is a fantastic cooking wine to use.

Your taste buds will thank you, I guarantee it.

Let’s get you on.

Let’s get you on properly.

We are gonna Instant Pot for about 23, 25 minutes.

You gotta rub, you gotta use your hands.

Don’t be afraid.

Don’t try to be proper because you want that seasoning

to get all throughout the pork.

And if you grew up in a Southern household like me,

you learn that early.

Peel the skin off of the garlic

and then we’ll add our cloves, lock it in place.

So we’re gonna put on our food processor,

grind this down, and then we’re gonna add our olive oil

and our apple cider vinegar.

[food processor slowing down]

Okay, that’s gonna do it.

Let’s get the steam out first before.

Woo, hello.

Alrighty, here we go.

Drum roll please.

We must poke the skin and the fat portion

of this pork belly, just so it helps dehydrate in a sense.

And now I’m gonna add a little extra help

of dehydrating and crisping using one cup of salt.

I’m gonna take my pork shoulder

and I’m gonna make a few little pockets.

You can get it to your knuckle, that’s good.

Basically, you’re just gonna massage this marinade.

Like I said into the pockets.

We’re gonna put that in our Pyrex dish

and then we’ll continue to put marinade

on the top of our pork.

So I’m gonna wrap it in plastic wrap.

I want all of it covered.

Now I’m gonna put this in the fridge

to marinate for 24 hours.

Okay, we are all seasoned.

This meat is ready to go.

So I’m gonna place this into the oven

for about an hour at 350 degrees.

So folks, look at that.

Snowed on the pork belly and this is going into the oven.

See you later.

All right, so we are gonna get started on my glaze

and we wanna to bring this apple juice to a boil.

So this is my sauce, which is called lechon sauce.

I like the onions stew first

because I don’t wanna burn the garlic.

I’m gonna be using five garlic cloves.

It’s always good to add a little salt.

Now I’m going to make my beet sauce.

And the reason I’m wearing gloves is because beets stain.

These beets have been roasted for about an hour.

The skin has been peeled off.

We’re gonna put the beets into our food processor.

We’re gonna strain a whole orange into the food processor.

We’re gonna add our honey to this.

Get that nice and smoothed out.

So now I’m just gonna stir in the brown sugar,

adding my soy sauce.

Now for the mustard.

I’m going to actually add the star of this sauce

which is liver pate.

This is actually apple cider vinegar.

This is also just plain old water.

And now I’m gonna add in my worchestire sauce,

or whatever we call this.

I don’t really know how to pronounce it.

I will be adding the two other ingredients

which may sound a little odd.

The first one, not so much, brown sugar.

And then drum roll, bread crumbs,

Italian bread crumbs to boot.

Why not?

I Americanized it a bit.

Let’s get wild and crazy.

[food processor running]

We’re gonna put this into our pan.

We’re going to add our chicken stock.

I’m gonna add a bay leaf.

Fennel seed.

I’m gonna add a little salt now,

bring it up to temp and lower it,

and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.

All the juices, everything goes.

This is a great blender because this gradually

increase the speed.

Once your sauce has reduced down a bit,

what it should look like is that it should be able

to coat the back of your spoon.

And then you’re ready.

[blender running]


Let’s get every bit of this guy in here.

Here’s the pork I prepared yesterday

with the 24 hour marinade.

If you feel more comfortable scraping off

some of the marinade before you score it, please do.

And what I’m gonna do is score it

just to make like little diamond shapes across the top.

Now we’re gonna go the opposite way

so we can create a diamond formation.

You’re gonna put it in our pan

to get that in the oven to bake off.

And you can add some marinade back in now.

Okay, this has been in the oven for an hour now.

Let’s glaze this baby up.

Okie dokie fornokie.

We have baked this beautiful, beautiful pork belly.

When it cracks like that,

that tells me the moisture did come from the fat

of the pork into the salt.

Okay, so now I’m gonna put this in the oven

and every 15 minutes I’m gonna take it out

and re glaze it so that it can get that nice golden brown

that we want.

We need to finish the crisping

and I need to do that by broiling it in the oven

for about 15, 20 minutes.

I shall return.

[upbeat music]

So now we’re gonna put our pork shoulder

in the oven at 350 degrees.

And cook it for approximately four and a half hours

until it’s golden, nice and crispy on the edges on top,

and the juices are flowing out of it.

All right, so we gotta make something

to go with this pork.

So let’s get the rice together.

Always wash your rice,

because the rice has a lot of starch in it.

See how the water actually gets a little cloudy.

That’s the starch going into the water,

and that’s what you want out of your rice.

So really easy peasy you guys.

You get yourself a nice little pot,

and we are going to add two and a half cups of water.

And then I’m also adding the rice.

So today I am making mashed potatoes.

So we can get started with peeling them first.

Now we’re gonna make our plantain tarts.

What we’re gonna start with is a pot full of water

filled almost to the top.

And we’re gonna use ripe plantains, gonna cut the ends off.

And this pot is a little small,

so we’re gonna cut them in half

so that they cook evenly together.

Add a pinch of salt to your pot.

We’re gonna shake up our PAM.

Spray these, these are our pie tart shells.

We’re gonna coat the bottom of those and around the sides

with some Sugar In The Raw.

We’re gonna dump the excess

into the next one and keep going.

We are coming to a boil.

Lid, turn down and simmer,

tick, tick, tick, leave it alone.

You know, I will say I am not the best chopper.

So I think my knife skills definitely scream level one

but I promise you, my food tastes amazing.

You can pull out your plantain.

You’re gonna wanna run the paring knife

just along the skin and just peel that back.

And just put them nice and hot

right into your food processor.

So this is a green onion.

Yum, yum, yum.

I like to mix it in it.

It’s almost like doing a fried rice

without really cooking anything except the rice.

For this I’m just gonna go straight down.

My potatoes have been boiling for about 15 minutes

so I’m just gonna do a quick test.

And they are already breaking up so they are ready to go.

Okay now our plantains are in our food processor.

We’re gonna add our other ingredients

Brown sugar, our–

[Both] Butter.

[Jamee] And our all spice.

And mash away.

[mashing potatoes]

Gotta put you back into it.

Get your lid back on and put it to pulse.

[food processor running]

Now, add my milk, I’ll add some salt and pepper,

adding in my sour cream.

Look at that, voila.

15 minutes, 20 minutes has passed.

Let us see what we have here.


I’m going to put this into my bowl.

And now, this is where if you want, you could add salt.

The only way I’m gonna zhuzh it up right now

is I’m gonna add my fresh, raw green onions.

[food processor slowing down]

Okay, see how it’s formed this little ball?

You know that you’re ready to now put it in your molds.

Just gonna drop some into all of them.

To make sure I have enough to fill all the molds.

You wanna press it down

so it takes on the shape of the mold.

We’re gonna pop these

into a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

Okay my pork is roasted and now I am going to plate it.

Ooh, look at that.

Here’s our beet sauce.

Just take a little bit in your spoon.

And then you’re gonna take the back of your spoon

and just kinda play with it.

Now we’re gonna turn out our plantain tarts.

I’m gonna cut some of the cuerito off

so that we can highlight that at the end on the plate.

Cut some nice slices of pork that we’re gonna rest

on top of your plantain tart.

Now I have my mashed potatoes.

I’m gonna add these to the plate.

This is a real hearty dish,

we are not watching carbs or calories with this one.

All right, let’s start plating.

I’m so excited.

Let’s put a little bit of fluffy rice.

Let’s do this.

You can’t serve lechon without some liver sauce.

I wanna dress you up with cilantro.

A little bit of lemon, and a little bit of lime.

So I’m just gonna sprinkle some scallions

on top of my mashed potatoes.

I’m just gonna layer them on top.

We’re gonna put a little cuerito right on top

just to finish that look.

And just garnish with a little bit of thyme.

This is my roast pork.


And this is my roast pork.


And here you go.

It’s Puerto Rico on a plate.


[whimsical music]

All right, it is cooked, plated,

and now the moment of truth.

Here’s that one bite wonder.

[pork crunching]

[Lorenzo singing]

Make you wanna smack yo’ mama, for real.

This is good, mm.

I outdid myself, I don’t know why I’m surprised,

I knew it would be amazing.



Absolutely delicious, that crunch.

And then you get a little bit of fat and then meat again,

and then crunch again.

With its sweet and tangy liver sauce.

And then of course you’re supposed to bring it on home

with a little bit of white rice, which why not?

I love crispy pork belly, oh my goodness.

You will have more friends after you make this dish.

Oh, oh, oh.

That is so good.

It’s such a well balanced plate.

I gonna pat myself on the back.

I like that one.

That’s a good one.

The best time to have this meal is whenever you’re hungry

and you need some comfort food.

This is comfort food.


Roast pork is wonderful for Sunday supper,

or any night of the week.

There’s so many options when you’re making this dish.

Let’s see how each of our three chefs made theirs.

[intense music]

Pork is the meat of hogs.

It’s usually obtained from young, leaner animals.

Their muscles are less exercised and the connective tissue

collagen more readily converts to water-soluble gelatin

when heated, which adds to the tender qualities of the meat.

Shariff roasted a pork butt also called Boston butt

from the shoulder of the pig, high up on the foreleg.

It’s rectangular in shape with a fat cap on one side

which adds flavor and richness as it roasts,

and the fat drips onto the meat.

Lorenzo roasted boneless pork belly,

which is from the underside of the hog.

It’s sold sliced, or as a roast.

It’s a fatty cut with tender meat.

Bacon comes from pork belly

so you’ll see stride of layers of fat in Lorenzo’s roast.

It has a distinctive fat cap on top

Pork belly is a huge slab of bacon basically,

but cut thicker and crispier.

Jameel roasted pork shoulder, which is like Shariff’s pork

butt because it’s a shoulder cut,

but it’s from the lower part of the foreleg.

It’s sometimes called a picnic shoulder

and it’s a little leaner than the pork butt.

And she also left the skin on

which is definitely a level three approach to roasting pork.

The most important thing about your roast pork

is that your cuerito, which is the skin of the pork,

should be nice and crisp.

And this cuerito is perfection.

Pork skin is mostly protein,

but has a lot of water and fat too.

The high fat concentration yields

a very crispy texture after roasting.

[intense music]

Shariff roasted his pork with the fat side on top

so that the rendered fat lubricates the meat

as it partially melts and drips.

He also used a rack so that the pork isn’t resting

in rendered fat on the bottom of the pan.

If you put this pork just on a flat tray,

it’s not gonna get golden underneath.

Lorenzo poked the fat slab of his pork belly

to assist in rendering the fat onto the meat,

and then liberally salted the fat slab.

The role of salt here is more than seasoning.

It’s why he scraped most of it off after roasting.

The fat slab is mostly fat, but contains some water

and connective tissue.

The salt draws the moisture out, which ensured that the fat

became extremely crispy when Lorenzo broiled his meat.

When it cracks like that,

that tells me the moisture did come

from the fat of the pork into the salt.

Jameel roasted her pork long and slow,

about 40 to 50 minutes per pound,

which is perfect for breaking down connective tissue

in her shoulder cut.

This slow heating allows conversion

of collagen to gelatin.

At high heat, these proteins coil and coagulate,

and can become tough.

Pork is notorious for being cooked

to very high internal temperatures

because people wanted to make sure to kill off

any parasitic trichinella spiralis

associated with foodborne illness.

Modern pork has been bred to be leaner

under food safe conditions

thereby almost eliminating transmission

of trichinella spiralis from commercial pork.

It’s okay not to overcook your pork.

It can be very lightly pink in the center

and 145 degrees Fahrenheit should do the trick.

All three chefs rested their pork roasts.

This is an important step because as the meat cooled

it became more firm and easier to slice.

Resting and subsequent cooling

also increases water-holding capacity

making the meat very juicy.

To me this is like a filet mignon.


To me.

Each chef carved their pork roast

against the grain of meat disrupting connective tissue

and increasing the tender quality of the meat.

Next time you’re making roasted pork

you can choose various cuts, roasting techniques,

spice rubs, marinades, sauces, and sides.

We hope you’ll take some of these tips

from our three talented chefs.

[upbeat music]