Gone Country

Posted by on Jul 23, 2014 in Calf Chronicles

The amazing pig is chock full of delicious parts. Its streaky belly gives us smoky bacon and umami-rich pancetta. Its versatile shoulders provide us with the makings for Basque coils, pork rillettes, sugo di carne and more. Even its liver can be turned into irresistible liverwurst. But when I want to roast a bit of pig, I’ll go with the country rib nearly every time.

The country rib is a roast taken from the Boston butt section that includes the first four ribs of the pig and all the muscle in between those ribs and the shoulder blade. It is the holy meeting place between the tender loin and the succulent shoulder and provides the eater with the best of both worlds. It is a perfect size for feeding three to four people and can be seasoned or stuffed in a variety of ways. Each week at The Fatted Calf we consider what the season has to offer and create a fitting country rib roast for our menu. In spring there might be a stuffing of braised green garlic while in summer nectarine mostarda often makes an appearance.

This week’s stuffing of peperonata is a mid summer favorite. Juicy, flavorful pork combined with sweet and piquant peppers makes a perfect centerpiece for a harvest supper. Bring home a country rib this week to roast in the oven or cook on the grill and enjoy.

Oven Roasted Country Rib

Remove the roast from the refrigerator and allow it to temper for about one hour. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Place the tempered roast into a pan fitted with a rack and place in the oven to brown for about 30 to 40 minutes. Once the country rib is nicely browned, reduce the heat to 300°F (150°C) and cook until a thermometer inserted into the middle of the roast reads 140°F (60°C). Remove from the oven and allow the roast to rest for to 10 to 15 minutes. Cut away the twine and slice the roast between each rib.

Grilled Country Rib

Remove the roast from the refrigerator to temper while you build your fire and let the coals burn down. Rake the hot coals into a pile slightly larger than the diameter of your roast to create a hot spot for searing. Place your seasoned and tempered roast directly on the grill grate. Brown the roast evenly on all sides over the hot spot, turning frequently. Once your meat is evenly and deeply browned, move it off of the direct heat and put the lid down on your grill. If you don’t have a lid for your grill, a loose foil tent or large bowl placed over the roast will do. Covering the roast exposes all sides of the roast to the trapped heat of the coals so that it cooks slowly and evenly, just as it would in an oven. Turn the roast every now and again until a thermometer inserted into the middle of the roast reads 140°F (60°C). Remove from the grill and allow the roast to rest for to 10 to 15 minutes. Cut away the twine and slice the roast between each rib.