The pork butt or pork shoulder is a wonderful thing. It’s also the 1 thing so far that is tempting me to get my own dutch oven. Good thing my roommate has one and I can just use his. Seasoning it then placing the whole pork butt into the dutch oven to be roasted in the oven is such an easy thing to do. Just need a little patience.
Buying something big like a pork butt also gave me the chance to see how many meals I can get out of a pork butt. And hopefully this may satisfy few of my friends that have constantly asked me to come up with cheapie recipes, cheapie like $5 or so. So here we go.
First of all, these recipes will require you to invest few items beforehand meaning you will have to spend $$$ in the beginning.
At Paisanos Meat Market on Smith St, I purchased a nice looking 3.2lb pork butt for $13.33. Ultimately I was able to get 7 meals out of this piece of pork which is about $1.90 per meal. I sort of went fancy on this pork butt and roasted it in the oven 375degrees for about 3-4hours covered in salt, pepper, coffee grounds, cacao nibs from Scharffen Berger, cinnamon sticks and star anise. Of course you can cook whatever way you want. I love adding rice wine to miso paste and rub it on the pork butt. But if you don’t want to spend the extra money just season it heavily with salt and pepper (I assume you have salt and pepper).
Once the pork was done I shredded the whole thing and placed it in a container along with all the juices and oil (pork fat).
Pulled pork sandwich with pickled onions and kewpie mayo.
I made this sandwich twice on 2 different nights so this counted as 2 separate meals. It’s pretty simple to make, toast the bread, add as much or little mayo as you like, add pork and top with pickled onions. Doesn’t have to be pickled onions of course, it can be sauteed or caramelized or raw or maybe even just plain greens. And you can substitute the mayo with mustard or just butter.
*If you’re interested in making your own pickled onions or pickled anything here’s the recipe that I used from Tofu Guru.
3/4 cup water, 1/2 cup rice vinegar, 1/3 cup sugar. Heat everything in a pot till sugar dissolves. Sterilized a jar and stuffed it with sliced red onions. I forget how many onions it was but enough to fill the jar. I also went fancy and added couple bay leaves and few peppercorns into the jar. Poured the pickled liquid into the jar and let it cool then sealed it with the lid. You can eat these after few hours in the fridge but if you really want it to be nice and pickled, let it sit for a week or 2 or eternity.
-Shredded pork butt with Trader Joe’s frozen mixed veg and pasta.
I live near Trader Joe’s so….I pretty much just shop at Trader Joe’s. You can use whatever pasta you like, I bought a bag of pappardelle. This dish is pretty straightforward. Cook the frozen veg with the pork while the pasta is cooking. Make sure to season the veg and pork. When the pasta is done, add it to the veg and pork mixture. Grated parmesan, optional. Because I eat a lot of pasta, I cooked about 2 servings of pasta. And I only used 1/4 of the frozen veg.
-Fried rice with Trader Joe’s frozen mixed veg.
This is sort of a cheat. It’s just like the dish above but with rice! Still quite good, especially with the addition of soy sauce and sriracha. People say you need to use leftover rice to make fried rice. Not true. All you need to do is add less water than usual. I usually just put in 1/2 cup of water less and has been fine everytime. I think it also helps that once the rice a cooked, use a fork and run it through the rice so they don’t stick together. Once the rice is done add it to the pork and veg mixture in the pot. It might even be better to only start cooking the pork and veg after the rice is done, to let the rice cool down a bit. Mix the rice, pork and veg around and add whatever sauce you like. Oyster, soy, sesame oil, hoisin, spicy bean paste.
Bought a bag of baby potatoes at Trader Joe’s and decided to make shepherd’s pie or close to it. Add the potatoes into a pot of cold water and turn on the heat to high. Once the water starts to boil, let it cook for another 10-12mins or stab a knife into 1 of the bigger potatoes to see if it’s done. Once it’s done, turn off the heat and drain the potatoes. Add the potatoes back into the pot and start mashing. Season the potatoes, add a tablespoon or 2 of butter and a little bit of cream or milk (but none of that low-fat milk stuff. Bleh!) Keep mixing and mashing. Taste. If you like it, then it’s done. In an oven safe pan, put a layer of pork on the bottom, season it, then a layer of the frozen veg, season it, then the mashed potatoes. Put it in the 350degree oven, hopefully it has been pre-heating, and cook it for about 40mins or till the mashed potato has turned slightly brown/golden. Goes great with sriracha.
-Brussels sprouts with shredded pork.
I love Brussels sprouts. I get a bag at Trader Joe’s all the time. Eh this feels like it’s becoming 1 big commercial for Trader Joe’s. Anyways, to make this meal super fast, slice half of the Brussels sprouts into thin slices so that they cook quicker. In a hot pan with oil OR pork fat that you hopefully saved and add the pork. Fry these real good. After 2-3 minutes add the Brussels sprouts, season. Should be done when the center of the sprouts are soft. Goes great over rice, as a side or in a pasta dish.
-Cool pork and bean sprout salad with peanut sauce.
I make this dish a lot but usually with shredded chicken. I would make stock with a whole chicken and once the chicken is done cooking I’ll sit in front of the tv and just shred the meat off. Get a whole pack of bean sprouts and cook it along with the pork and pork fat. Once it’s done cooking, let it cool. For the peanut sauce, for me, it’s usually 2 giant spoonful of peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, a sprinkle of salt and a whole lot of freshly grind black pepper. Cook it in a pan on low heat. You just want to melt the peanut butter, don’t let it burn. Add a little bit more sesame oil if the sauce looks too thick. Give it a taste. Pour the peanut sauce over the bean sprout and pork. Mix mix mix. It’s great eaten right away or cold the next day. You can also add diced cucumber into it also. Great with rice or noodles.
All of these meals came out to be around $5 or less. Of course I assume you have salt, pepper, butter, milk?, oil (if you had saved the pork fat, you can use that instead of oil.) Like I said before you’ll need to invest few things in the beginning that requires you to spend a little bit extra like buying a bag of rice, getting a 3lb pork butt, or getting a bottle of soy sauce. But trust me this will be worth it in the long run.