Corning meat is similar to brining or pickling. Usually when a brine is done, sugar is used to add sweetness to the meat. When corning meats, lots of salt is used and later the excess will need to be removed so the meat is edible. Pork can be corned with an ingredient known as Saltpeter or potassium nitrate. This will give the pork the traditional pink color that is synonymous with corned meats. I did not use Saltpeter on this pork, just coarse kosher salt. The flavor will be just as great but the color will not be the same.
Corn pork can be eaten just cooked up with beans. It can be cooked in traditional stew peas, peas soup and is delightful if it substitutes the salted cod in with Ackee. I set my pork to brine in the refrigerator for two weeks prior to cooking it. I am not only using salt for this brine. I added peppercorns, scallions, onions, thyme, scotch bonnet, garlic and allspice berries for added flavor. For this recipe I am using Ackee I brought back frozen from Jamaica. Fresh Ackee is even better if you can find it. The saltiness and crunchiness from the pork and the creaminess of the Ackee brings such rich flavors and textures together. This Remix on the national dish is definitely a must try!
For this recipe you will need:
- Large bowl with a lid
- Sharp Knife
- Cutting board
- Large Skillet
- Flat wooden spoon
- Medium Saucepan
- 2 disposable gloves
- 2 lbs pork
- 10 allspice/pimento berries (crushed)
- 2 garlic cloves (minced)
- 2 green onions/scallions (crushed)
- 3 scotch bonnet peppers (cut up)
- 2 cups of coarse salt
- 2 chilli peppers (chopped)
- 7 sprigs of thyme
- 10 peppercorns (crushed)
- 8 cups of water (use in 2 cup increments to remove excess salt from pork in 4 boils)
- 3 cups of water (for Ackee)
- 2 tsps salt (for Ackee)
- 1 dozen fresh Ackees
- 1 medium onion (chopped)
- 1 plum tomato (chopped)
- 2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
- 1 tsp cracked pepper
- Choose your favorite cut of pork. I used slices from a shoulder cut.
- In a medium bowl with lid add pimento, 2 scotch bonnet peppers (reserve 1), chilli peppers, chopped garlic, chopped scallion, thyme, peppercorns and salt to a bowl with pork.
- Wear gloves on your hands to rub spices and salt into meat. Cover bowl.
- Keep covered in the fridge for at least 2 weeks — the longer the better.
Prepare corned pork:
- Use about 1lb of prepared corned pork. Reserve the rest in the refrigerator for a stew or soup.
- Cut pork into 3 inch pieces.
- In a saucepan, boil the pork to remove excess salt and tenderize the meat. Once the water comes up to a boil, dump it and add fresh water. You may need to do this a number of times as it will be very salty. I do this a minimum of 4 times.
- Once you have removed the excess salt, cut pork into smaller 1 inch pieces. In 2 tbsp oil, pan fry pork in skillet until crispy.
- Cover while frying. (Check the video to see why)
- Remove fried pork from the pan and set aside on a plate.
- Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan . Add 2 tsps of salt to water
- Boil Ackee until fork tender, about 10 minutes.
- Drain Ackee in a colander and set aside.
- In the same skillet cook onions, peppers and tomato in coconut oil until translucent.
- Add drained Ackee, black pepper and gently tossed with a wooden spoon.
- Add fried pork. Scoop and fold gently with a spoon to combine pork.
- Add more black pepper if you wish.
- Serve hot with your choice of sides. Mine was served with boiled “food” i.e dumpling, banana, plantains and sweet potato slices.
- Leave pork for as long as you can but at least 2 weeks so the flavors can infuse in the meat.
- Always cover pork when frying. The pieces tend to pop in hot oil and can escape the pan.