Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pinnacle Ridge shares the recipe for its smoked pork sliders


We have recently released some old favorites from the 2012 vintage. The Dry Vidal Blanc, Vidal Blanc, Naked Chardonnay, Chardonnay and Riesling from the 2012 vintage have been released. We are excited to announce that we will be adding a Dry Riesling to our list.

Pinnacle Ridge Wines earned six medals at the 2013 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. Our 2010 Veritas and 2012 Vidal Blanc both grabbed Silver medals while our Cuvee Chardonnay, 2012 Dry Vidal Blanc, 2011 Chambourcin and 2010 Merlot were honored with Bronze medals.
               SMOKED PORK SLIDERS    
                w/ curried mango sauce                          
                         by Chef Ben

5 lbs. pork loin                   Sea salt and black pepper
1 lb bacon                          wood chips
2 bay leaves                       1 can of Thai red curry


2 ripe mangos                    2 cloves fresh garlic
1 T Thai red curry              pinch of sea salt
2 T sugar                            1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
pinch of black pepper      

At Pinnacle Ridge Winery, our food theme for this year's Lehigh Valley Wine Trail's  March Passport Program was sliders which is described by Wikipedia as "a small sandwich, typically three inches across and served on a bun."

The first challenge was to pair an appropriate slider with the new 2012 Riesling, which has notes of apricot and pear with a snappy finish. I came up with the Smoked Pork Slider one night in my kitchen after a couple small glasses of the Riesling. The Curried Mango Sauce came courtesy of Stonewall Kitchens (sold in our tasting room), but I have a great, easy recipe for that, too.

Traditionally, pulled pork starts with pork butt or shoulder that has been dry rubbed with spices and then slow-cooked until it pulls apart. I usually use my Bradley Smoker for that. The meat is fatty and tough so it takes a good, long time to do it right, but I figured out a way to get the same great results in a fraction of the time using lean pork loin , bacon and a grill.

Start with a 5 lb. piece of untrimmed pork loin that is close to room temperature and seasoned only with salt and pepper.  Sear it on all sides on a very hot grill so that the meat has nice grill marks and an even, golden brown coloring. Remove from heat and place the loin in a deep cast iron pot, which is preferable, but a deep, disposable aluminum pan is a good way to go if you are taking it to a picnic or serving 500 people at March Madness. Just be sure to double the aluminum pan and support the bottom when traveling with it, as I unfortunately learned the hard way.

Turn the grill heat off on one side and to its lowest setting on the other. Most grills seem to have four separate burner controls so you want the left two off and the right two on low, the goal being a temperature around 200 degrees with the lid closed. When the meat has cooled enough to touch (not long) rub it with a generous amount of the Thai Red Curry, but save about a heaping tablespoon for the sauce.

My trick for making this pork taste like it has been in a smoker for many hours is to use hardwood chips placed directly on the grate of the lit side of the grill. A handful last a long time if you periodically spray it with water to keep it smoking, not burning. The pork goes on the other side of the grill where it is going to cook "low and slow".

Because pork loin does not have a lot of fat, you have to add a little to make a good pulled pork sandwich.  I like to use bacon... as Emeril says:  "Pork Fat Rules!" Cut a pound of bacon into one inch squares and cook it slowly (cast iron is best) on the lit side of the grill. You want the bacon to brown while rendering the fat, but not burn. Try not to forget about it when you go inside for another glass of Pinnacle Ridge wine.  Again, I learned that the hard way. When it is done, pour the fat and bacon directly over the pork loin, cover the pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil and cook for two to three hours or until very tender. As it cooks down, be sure to baste the meat in the fat juices.

To make the Curried Mango Sauce, you'll need a food processor. You can also visit our tasting room to purchase Stonewall Kitchens version of this sauce. It is a good but different version as it features an Indian style curry rather than Thai. Skin the mangoes carefully and remove as much of the fruit from the pit as possible.  Peel the garlic and juice the lemon. Put all that into the food processing device along with the curry, salt, pepper and sugar. Wick it up long enough  to make it a nice, smooth consistency. Both the pork and the sauce may need a little more salt, but check that just before you are ready to serve so as not to over-salt.  Serve on a freshly-baked ATV roll with a drizzle of mango sauce and field greens on the side.

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