Pork Summit 2016
The 6th annual Pork Summit was held at the Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone campus in St. Helena, CA.
The Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone Campus in St. Helena, CA was the backdrop for the sixth annual Pork Summit, held April 1 through April 3, 2016. The by-invitation-only event brings together winners from State and Regional Taste of Elegance competitions, nationally recognized chefs and foodservice trade media editors for a farm-to-fork pork educational weekend.
Stephen Gerike, Director of Foodservice Marketing and Innovation for The National Pork Board, kicked off the event with an introduction to the weekend’s theme: Pork Quality. Gerike asked Ali Bouzari, a culinary scientist from Pilot R+D in San Francisco, CA to join the presentation to define food quality and taste from a food-science perspective. Using an interactive tray, Bouzari identified the sensory and chemical makeup of lean pork muscle and fats as well as flavors and aromas to explore how smell, hearing, taste, touch and vision affect our eating experiences. Together, Gerike and Bouzari discussed how those elements affect pork and change with age, curing and cooking.
Next up: a pork-and-wine pairing seminar at the Rudd Center for Wine Studies, led by Master Sommelier Sur Lucero, National Director for Wine Education at Jackson Family Wines, and CIA Chef Instructor Bill Briwa. Lucero introduced four wines from the Jackson Family collection and, with Chef Briwa, used a sensory tray with plain, unsalted roasted pork loin to evaluate complementary and contrasting flavor profiles. Students sipped the wines and were asked to pair the pork with available additions like mole, lemon juice, salt, picadillo, bitter greens and hoisin sauce to taste the wine’s effect on the food. The takeaway lesson – begin with wine and bring up the acidity, salt or fat in the food to achieve balance.
Post-wine tasting, guests attended a welcome reception at Farmstead Restaurant at Long Meadow Ranch. They were greeted with pork-centric appetizers, including barbecued oysters with chorizo-chili butter and a charcuterie platter with headcheese terrine, while Chef Stephen Barber cooked a family-style feast in the outdoor fire pit. Under the twinkling Napa stars, guests enjoyed Tomahawk pork chops and whole-fried Swiss porchetta accompanied by asparagus salad and plancha-cooked fingerling potatoes and carrots – with a delicious strawberry shortcake for dessert.
Saturday’s events began with a Pork 101 class taught by Gerike. Attendees learned about the industry from farm to fork, including breeds, production, animal care, the chemical transformation of muscle to meat, and how every step of raising, feeding, handling and processing pigs affects quality. Guests examined and tasted a wide variety of distressed and ideal pork, as well as breed-specific and export samples. Chef Briwa also taught a segment on the art and science of brining. Gerike and Chef Briwa then challenged five presenting chefs to demo their unique cooking techniques and highlight how essential high-quality products are to a finished dish.
Chef Kris Morningstar of Terrine in Los Angeles, CA showcased the proper technique for a Pâté Grand-mère with Sicilian pistachios. His keys to the perfect forcemeat texture are the right lean to fat ratio, using extremely cold pork, and not overworking it. He first ground the pork shoulder, snout and backfat through a ¼”-die, then added liver to the ground mixture and passed it through the grinder again using an ⅛”-die. The twice-ground pork exemplified the desired smooth consistency for the perfect emulsion.
Chef Leah Cohen of Pig & Khao in New York, NY demonstrated her take on traditional Filipino lechon called BellyChon, a crispy slow-roasted pork belly. Her unique technique for extra crispy skin starts with piercing the skin with a jacquarding tool, rubbing with a baking soda-and-water slurry, then wrapping the pork belly and refrigerating for 24 hours. Next, she rinsed off the baking soda paste, patted the belly dry and poured coconut vinegar over it. (If the vinegar bubbled, she’d rinse the belly again to remove excess baking soda.) Cohen rubbed a paste of herbs and spices inside the belly – lemongrass, salt, shallot, garlic, black pepper and cilantro root – before rolling, tying and letting it rest. She then fried it to a perfect golden brown. Similar in style to a traditional Italian porchetta, the end result is perfectly tender and flavorful pork with an incredible crispy crust on the outside.
Chef Matt Jennings of Townsman in Boston, MA presented his version of New England Pork Pie. Using multiple parts from the pig, Jennings’ succulent filling combined lard-sautéed ground pork shoulder, spring onions, carrots, potatoes, morels, cream, stock and a pork blood cake made with cooked oats, pork fat, milk powder and spices. He topped the rich filling with a lard piecrust. To cut the richness, he served the baked pies with a lightly dressed salad of wild foraged flowers and lettuces.
Chef Mary Dumont of Cultivar, opening fall of 2016 in Boston, made Pasta al Sangue Tagliatelle with Tete de Cochon Sugo with pig’s blood and a head. First, she brined a split pig’s head overnight with lemon peel, onion, garlic, thyme, parsley, bay leaves and black peppercorn before braising the head in a stew of mirepoix, San Marzano tomatoes and wine until tender. She picked the meat (discarding the bones) and returned it to the sauce. While the heads braised, Dumont shared her technique of adding pork blood to semolina flour to create the tagliatelle.
Chef Christine Flynn of iQ Food Co. in Toronto, CA, also known as Instagram sensation Chef Jaques La Merde, paired pig’s feet and shoulder to create an umami-packed bowl of Adobo. While the feet roasted, she seared cubed pork shoulder until browned, then sweat the mirepoix and aromatics in the same pan before adding tomato paste and cooking until fire-truck red. Next, she added the adobo from the chipotle, several chipotle peppers, tomatoes and demi-glace. She placed the seared shoulder and roasted feet in a hotel pan, covered with the sauce and braised until tender. After picking the meat and reducing the cooking liquid, Flynn seasoned the stew with sugar and rice vinegar to taste then served the adobo over red beans and rice with a bright, acidic tomato and avocado salad.
After lunch, Gerike demonstrated a whole hog fabrication. He broke down half a pig according to the common breaks used in foodservice following the Institutional Meat Purchaser Specifications, as well as how to best break down a pig in an independent restaurant kitchen to maximize the carcass. The demonstration also showcased how to break down a pig’s head; surprise attendee Connie DeSousa of CHARCUT in Calgary, AB wowed the audience with her butchering skills – she holds the world record for breaking down a pig’s head in 49 seconds. See her amazing skills here.
Next, each demonstration chef worked with a team of several Taste of Elegance winners and a member of the foodservice media to put their butchering skills to the test – they had to break down their own half hog in preparation for Sunday’s market basket exercise. Before departing for a free night in the Napa Valley, attendees enjoyed a family meal pairing dishes by Tom Pizzica of Big Chef Tom’s Belly Burgers in San Francisco, CA, with beer from Lagunitas Brewing Company. Chef Pizzica paired his Carnitas Tacos, Classic Crispy Chicken Sliders, and Sticky Asian Pork Ribs with Lagunitas’ Equinox pale oat ale, Pils lager and Brown Shugga’ ale, respectively.
Everyone was excited to get back into the kitchen on Sunday to take part in a market basket exercise, testing all the techniques learned over the weekend. Teams had four hours to cook and produce four dishes: an original dish inspired by fine dining for a casual or fast-casual menu, a dish for an all-day breakfast menu, an original handheld sandwich, and New American diner dish – comfort food for any daypart with a contemporary sensibility.
From pork quality and butchery, to the perfect pork-and-wine pairings, education is the goal of the Pork Summit. After a delicious weekend, attendees left St. Helena feeling inspired, with a deeper understanding of pork’s versatility and a greater appreciation for its incredible flavor.
A Conversation With Chef Connie DeSousa
Watch Chef Connie Desousa of CHARCUT Roast House show off her world record butchering skills.
Chef Kris Morningstar of Terrine in Los Angeles, CA showcased the proper technique for a Pâté Grand-mère with Sicilian pistachios.
1 pound bacon, thinly sliced
2 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, cleaned, cut into 2-inch dice for grinding
1/2 pound pork snout, braised until tender, diced for grinding
1/2 pound pork back fat, slab, diced for grinding
2 pounds pork liver, diced for grinding
90 grams salt,
6 grams tinted curing mix, (Prague Powder #1)
2 TBL butter,
180 grams shallot, brunoise
15 grams garlic, minced
135 grams brandy,
12 sprigs thyme,
2 bay leaves,
180 grams cream,
350 grams milk,
1 Pan De Mie loaf, crust removed, 1-inch dice
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup pistachios
- Lay out a piece of plastic wrap that will completely cover the inside of the terrine mold, with an excess of 1-inch on all sides. Shingle thinly sliced bacon onto the plastic wrap perpendicular to the length of the terrine. Place the bacon and plastic wrap in the fridge until ready to assemble terrines
- Grind the pork shoulder, snout and backfat using a ¼-inch die. Add the liver to the ground mixture and grind again using a ⅛-inch die. Add salt and tinted curing salt and mix with a rubber spatula. Reserve cold
- Preheat an oven to 325°F. Melt the butter in a sauté pan and sweat the shallot and garlic until softened and fragrant. Add thyme sprigs and bay leaves and deglaze the pan with brandy. Add cream, milk and bring to a simmer. Add the diced bread, remove from heat, and steep until the mixture cools to room temperature. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Add the beaten eggs and blend the bread and cream mixture in a food processor until smooth to form a panade. Mix the panade together with the pork mixture and fold in pistachios
- Press the shingled bacon and plastic wrap into the bottom of the terrine mold so the bacon is exposed and lines the bottom and sides of the terrine, with about an inch of exposed bacon hanging over the edge of the terrine on both sides. Pour the pork and panade mixture into the terrine and bang against a hard surface to dislodge any trapped air bubbles. Fold the exposed bacon over top (trimming if you have too much overlap) and fold over the plastic wrap to tightly enclose the terrine. Place a lid on the terrine mold and cook in a water bath for 30-40 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 155°F
- Remove the terrine from the oven and remove the lid. Use a piece of foil-covered cardboard cut to fit the internal length and width of the terrine to press against the surface of the cooked terrine. Place a few cans on top to weigh and press the terrine. Refrigerate and cool completely before serving
Yield: Two 1-Quart Terrines
Kris Morningstar, as presented at Pork Summit 2016. Published with permission of the author. All rights reserved.
To serve: Remove the plastic wrap and cut slices showing the cross-section of the pate. Serve with a frisée salad lightly dressed, pickled mustard seeds and grilled bread
Chef Leah Cohen of Pig & Khao in New York, NY demonstrated her take on traditional Filipino lechon called BellyChon, a crispy slow-roasted pork belly.
1 pork belly, skin-on
1/4 cup baking soda, or more as needed
1/4 cup water, or more as needed
coconut vinegar, as needed
Crispy garlic, as needed
Cilantro leaves, as needed
480 grams lemongrass, finely diced
180 grams salt,
660 grams shallot, peeled and diced
660 grams garlic, peeled and diced
10 grams black pepper, ground
300 grams cilantro root, minced*
BellyChon Dipping Sauce
1320 grams coconut vinegar,
125 grams shallot,
50 grams garlic,
10 grams Thai chiles, red, stem removed
7 grams black peppercorns,
45 grams salt,
115 grams sugar
- Using a jacquarding tool or a sharp carving fork, pierce the skin of the pork belly all over, fully piercing the entire surface of the skin. Make a slurry out of baking soda and water and rub all over the skin side of the belly. Wrap the belly and place in a fridge overnight. The following day, remove the belly and thoroughly rinse off the baking soda paste. Pat dry and pour coconut vinegar over the belly – if it bubbles, rinse belly again to remove excess baking soda. Place the belly on a rack-lined sheet tray and refrigerate for one hour to dry
- For the BellyChon Paste: Using a mortar and pestle, pound lemongrass and salt until the lemongrass is well broken down. Add the ingredients one by one and continue to pound until it forms a paste
- Flip the belly over so it’s skin-side down and rub with the BellyChon Paste. Roll the pork belly tightly, skin-side out, and truss
- Cooking Method: Place belly on a rack and into a CVap, set to 170°F, browning 4, and cook for about 5 hours or until tender. Remove pork from the pan and let cool completely
- If you prefer to sous vide the belly, the federal guidelines suggest an addition of 200 ppm for “immersion” cured meats. Add the appropriate amount of TCM or Prague Powder #1 to the BellyChon paste before vacuum sealing the trussed belly
- Cook sous vide at 190°F for 8 hours, remove the belly from the circulator and place into an ice bath until completely cooled
*Note: If you cannot find cilantro roots, cilantro stems can be substituted
Leah Cohen, as presented at Pork Summit 2016. Published with permission of the author. All rights reserved.
New England Pork Pie
Chef Mary Dumont of Cultivar, opening fall of 2016 in Boston, made Pasta al Sangue Tagliatelle with Tete de Cochon Sugo with pig’s blood and a head.
As needed young greens,
As needed celery leaves,
As needed pea shoots,
As needed herbs,
As needed olive oil,
As needed lemon juice,
Maple Blood Cake
4 cups pigs blood,
2 1/2 teaspoons salt,
1 1/2 cups oatmeal, steel-cut
2 cups pork fat, finely diced
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 cup milk,
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper, freshly ground
1 teaspoon allspice, ground
1/4 cup maple syrup,
Lard Pie Crust
3 oz butter, chilled
1 oz pork leaf lard, rendered, chilled
6 oz flour,
1/2 teaspoon salt,
1/4 cup ice water, in a spray bottle
As needed egg wash,
1/3 cup butter,
2 1/2 cups pork shoulder, ground
1 shallot, shaved finely
2 garlic, shaved finely
1/2 cup morel mushrooms, washed, halved
1/2 cup carrots, oblique cut, blanched
1/2 cup spring onions, or pearl onions, halved and blanched
1/2 cup Yukon gold potatoes, medium dice, skin-on, blanched
1/3 cup white wine,
1/2 cup flour,
1/2 teaspoon salt,
1/4 teaspoon white pepper, ground
1 3/4 cup pork stock, hot
1/2 cup heavy cream,
2/3 cup Maple Blood Cake
- For the Maple Blood Cake: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease two glass or ceramic loaf pans and line with plastic wrap (if using metal pans, line with additional parchment to prevent any reactive flavors.) Bring 2½ cups of water to a simmer in a small saucepot. Dry-toast the oats in a sautoir for a few minutes over medium heat until they start to smell nutty. Add the hot water and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes until just tender, not mushy. Remove the cooked oats and cool completely. Using a stand mixer, whisk the blood and 1 tsp. salt until fully incorporated. Pour the blood through a fine sieve into a large bowl to remove any lumps. Add in the fat, onion, milk, pepper, allspice, maple syrup and remaining 1½ tsp. salt and stir to combine. Add the oatmeal and mix to combine. Divide the mixture between the two loaf pans, seal the plastic wrap, and cover with foil. Bake for 1 hour in a water bath until firm and the Blood Cakes have reached an internal temperature of 155°F. Remove from the oven and place a piece of foil-covered cardboard cut to fit the internal length and width of the loaf pan to press against the surface of the Blood Cake. Place a few cans on top to weigh and press the Blood Cakes Refrigerate and cool completely
- For the Lard Pie Crust: Place the butter and lard in a freezer for 15 minutes. When ready to use, cut both ingredients into small pieces. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt by pulsing 3-4 times. Add butter and pulse 5-6 times until the texture looks mealy. Add the lard and pulse another 3-4 times. Remove the lid of the food processor and spritz the surface of the mixture thoroughly with water. Replace lid and pulse 5 more times. Add more water and pulse again until the mixture holds together when squeezed. Place the mixture into a large zip-top bag, squeeze together until it forms a ball, and then press into a rounded disk. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
- For the Pie Filling: In a 2-quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the ground pork and sauté until fully cooked. Remove the pork with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add the shallot and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the morel mushrooms, carrots, and potatoes and sauté for a few minutes. When the vegetables are warmed through, deglaze with white wine and reduce slightly. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper until well blended. Allow the flour to cook for several minutes, as you would for a roux. Gradually add in the hot stock and cream, stirring to prevent lumps. Add back the cooked ground pork and simmer until bubbly and thickened. Taste, re-season as necessary, and remove from the heat. When the filling has cooled down, carefully fold in the Blood Cake, making sure not to break it apart too much
- To assemble: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Roll out the Lard Pie Crust and punch out circles that are 6½-inch in diameter. You can either cut slits into the crusts or punch out a decorative shape to release stream during baking. Brush one side of the crust with egg wash. Spoon the Pie Filling mixture into individual 6” x 2” ramekins and top with a circle of crust, egg wash-side down. Press the egg wash against the ramekin to form a seal. Brush egg wash on the tops of the pie crusts and bake the ramekins for 15-25 minutes until completely cooked and nicely golden brown
Matt Jennings, as presented at Pork Summit 2016. Published with permission of the author. All rights reserved.
To serve: Let the pies rest for 5 minutes before serving. Top with a salad of young greens, celery leaves, pea shoots and herbs, lightly dressed in olive oil and lemon juice
Pasta Al Sangue Tagliatelle, Tete de Cochon Sugo, Spring Garlic, Ricotta, and Crispy Ears
Chef Mary Dumont of Cultivar, opening fall of 2016 in Boston, made Pasta al Sangue Tagliatelle with Tete de Cochon Sugo with pig’s blood and a head.
2 pounds crispy pigs ears,
As needed smoked ricotta cheese, seasoned with lemon zest, fresh herbs, salt
As needed spring garlic, sauteed
Tete de Cochon Sugo
1 Pigs Head, split
As needed by weight Equilibrium brine, with aromatics lemon peel, onion, garlic, thyme, parsley, bay leaves, black peppercorn
As needed olive oil,
1 1/2 pounds sweet onions, small dice
1 1/2 pounds carrots, small dice
1 1/2 pounds celery, small dice
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 bottle dry red wine,
2 #10 cans San Marzano tomatoes,
1 pound butter,
As needed salt,
As needed lemon juice,
1 bunch chervil, chopped
9 cups “00” semolina flour,
3 cups pigs blood,
As needed salt
- For the Tete de Cochon: Make enough equilibrium brine to fully submerge the two halves of the pig’s head. Include lemon peel, onion, garlic, thyme, parsley, bay leaves and black peppercorn to flavor the brine. Brine the head overnight
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Place a medium rondeau over medium heat and add olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the onions, celery, and carrot to the pan and sweat the vegetables until they start to become tender. Add the garlic and cook for another few minutes until the garlic is fragrant. Add the red wine to the pot and bring to a boil to burn off the alcohol and reduce slightly. Add the San Marzano tomatoes and stir to combine. Season with salt and bring the sauce to a simmer
- Place each side of the split head into a hotel pan and cover with the sauce. Place a piece of cut parchment onto each hotel pan, pressing onto the surface of the sauce and pig’s head. Cover the hotel pans with foil to tightly seal. Place the hotel pans in the oven and braise for 3½ hours until the heads are completely fork-tender. When the heads are cool enough to handle, pick the meat and return it to the sauce, discarding the bones. Transfer the sauce to a large saucepot and hold warm
- For the Sangue Tagliatelle: In a mixer outfitted with a dough hook, combine the blood and “00” semolina flour and a few pinches of salt. Mix on low speed to start until the dough begins to form, gradually increase the speed until the dough forms a ball. Cover tightly in plastic wrap and rest for at least 30 minutes. Divide the pasta into workable amounts and dust the dough and your working surface with flour to prevent sticking. Run the dough through the largest setting on a pasta machine and decrease the settings as you go, rolling the pasta thinner with each pass until you have a length of dough about 18-inches long. Book the pasta by folding it in on itself. Rotate the dough 90° and repeat this step two more times to build lamination. Roll the pasta out to the desired thickness and length and hand-cut the pasta into ribbons. Hold the cut pasta on a parchment-lined sheet tray, dusted with flour. Keep the pasta covered to keep it from drying out
- To assemble the dish: Return the sauce to a simmer and fold in the butter, stirring to incorporate and emulsify. Taste and re-season if needed. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta in batches. Add the pasta directly to the pot of sauce, using a bit of pasta water as needed to thin and balance the sauce. Season the pasta with lemon juice and fold in chopped chervil to finish
Note: Crispy pig’s ears can be made by cooking the ears with a circulator set to 190°F for eight hours. Remove the ears, cool fully, pat dry, cut into strips and deep fry.
- The federal guidelines suggest an addition of 200 ppm for “immersion” cured meats. Add the appropriate amount of TCM or Prague Powder #1 to the pork vacuum sealing
Source: Mary Dumont, as presented at Pork Summit 2016. Published with permission of the author. All rights reserved.
To garnish: Plate the pasta using a large fork or tongs to swirl a tall nest. Garnish with a few spoonfuls of smoked ricotta and top with crispy pig’s ears.
Chef Christine Flynn of iQ Food Co. in Toronto, CA, also known as Instagram sensation Chef Jaques La Merde, paired pig’s feet and shoulder to create an umami-packed bowl of Adobo.
2 pork shoulder,
As needed cumin,
As needed salt,
As needed oil,
4 large onions, julienned
2 bunches cilantro, stems (leaves reserved)
5.5 oz tomato paste, organic
7 oz chipotle chile in adobo sauce, canned
28 oz San Marzano tomatoes, canned
250 grams demi-glace,
1 garlic head, halved
2 pigs feet,
250 ml rice wine vinegar,
To taste sugar,
As needed cilantro leaves,
As needed limes
- Preheat an oven to 325°F. Cut the pork shoulder into 2-inch chunks and season liberally with salt and cumin. Heat a heavy-bottomed rondeau over medium-high heat and coat the bottom of the pan with oil. Working in batches, sear the pork shoulder until golden brown on all sides. Place the seared pork into a perforated hotel pan to drain any excess fat
- Using the same pan, sweat the onions over medium-high heat. Mince the cilantro stems (reserving the leaves for later) and add to the onions. Cook the aromatics briefly. Add the tomato paste and cook until the color is fire-truck red, stirring briskly to avoid scorching. Add the adobo from the chipotle and 4 to 6 chipotle peppers. Add the tomatoes and demi-glace and bring to a boil
- Place the halved garlic, pork shoulder and pig’s feet into a deep hotel pan. Pour the chipotle-tomato mixture over the top and add enough water to ensure that the meat is covered. Place a trimmed piece of parchment against the surface of the liquid. Cover the hotel pan with a lid or seal tightly with foil and cook 2½ to 3 hours or until the pork is fork-tender
- Remove the pork from the braising liquid and splash a small amount of liquid over the pork to keep it moist. Pull and pick the meat from the pig’s feet and discard the bones
- Place the braising liquid back on the stove and reduce by half until thick and delicious. Season with sugar and rice vinegar to taste. Return the pork to the liquid and hold warm
Yields 45 portions
Chris Flynn, as presented at Pork Summit 2016. Published with permission of the author. All rights reserved.
To serve: Plate pork adobo with red rice, beans, tomato and avocado salad, lightly dressed with lime zest and juice
Images of the 2016 Pork Summit