I like pork butts. I cannot lie. I like ’em round, and big, and once I throw them in my rig…
Well, I guess you’ll have to read on to find out what happens.
Yeah, I know, it looks like a pan-seared pork chop. It is indeed pork, but it is actually a slice off of this 48 hour (140°F) eight pound bit of porcine plumpness:
Let’s go back to the beginning.
A few weeks ago, after stuffing three racks of St. Louis cut ribs into my 18 quart sous vide rig, I determined it just wasn’t big enough to hold them properly. I fixed that.
I can load this baby up! Full capacity is 27 gallons. That is actually two tubs with insulation between them. I run it with 15 gallons and circulate the water with a five gallon per minute Little Giant® pump. I’m still using my trusty old Auber WS 1500c PID to control the temperature. You can see it in the lower right corner. It still works great even after 6-7 years of use. Water is heated with this:
Yep, pretty old school, but it will heat water up to 180°F. You can see the yellow part sticking up out of the tub lid (upper right).
Back to the pork.
I have to admit, it was a bit of a struggle to get this bad boy into the bag, but it happened.
There’s some salty detritus about due to the struggle, but otherwise, it was fairly painless.
Hot water comes out of my tap at about 130°F. Heating up 15 gallons to 140 would take a while, so I boiled a couple of gallons stove top and (carefully) dumped it in. This pushed the water temp to about 142. I slipped the pork shoulder in and the temp dropped to 134. It was back up to 140 in about 20 minutes.
And then I (impatiently) waited for 48 hours.
I chilled it in an icy bath for a little over an hour and popped it into the fridge.
We call the red stuff the purge. It was highly gelatinous.
And then there were these:
Even cold, both the scent and the taste were rather remarkable in their porkiness.
I heated the purge until the proteins coagulated, then strained it, reduced it, added a little cream, sage, thyme, and pepper. It was already plenty salty. Still a bit thin, I added a slurry of corn starch and it thickened nicely.
While I had the corn starch at hand, I sprinkled a bit on the “chops”, then seared them off with some olive oil.
Some folks wanna take the high road and tell you that the butt ain’t gold. They walk by and leave it. I pull up quick to retrieve it.