Yea ULTIMATE may be a bit bold, but if you’ve had time to go though the series of recipes I title as being “ultimate”, you’ll understand. While this is a “Christmas or holiday” dish in the Caribbean (wherever there’s a Portuguese influence), there’s no reason why you cannot rock this for your family on the regular. All you need is a little patience for the pork to marinate and take on the wonderful seasoned garlic flavor.
2 head of garlic (20-24 cloves)
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
5-8 bird’s eye peppers (any pepper you have or like using)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
4-6 pimento peppers (seasoning peppers)
10-12 sprigs thyme
bacon fat (or any type of oil or fat you would like to use).
3 1/2 – 5 lbs pork
Juice of a lemon to wash the pork
white vinegar (2-3 cups)
Wash and drain the herbs, peppers and garlic.
Rough chop the scallions, peppers, garlic and parsley. Then put the the chopped stuff along with the salt, sugar and pulse in your food processor or blender. You will need to scrape down the side… nice chunky consistency. Should you not have a machine, give everything a fine chop with your knife.
Cut the pork (something with a marble – fat) into strips. (cheap cut of pork) Wash with cool water and lemon juice (drain)
In a glass container, toss in a tablespoon of the puree, then 2 sprigs the thyme, then pork.. repeat until it’s all in the jar in layers. We use a glass container so the acid and pungent garlic flavor will not make your fridge smelly. If your glass jar got a metal lid, place a bit of plastic wrap on the underside of the lid, so the vinegar mixture doesn’t cause it to rust.
Top with vinegar, stir and seal. Make sure it’s covered in the vinegar and into the fridge for at least 5 days.
After 5 days! I then decided to add a bit more flavor.. I browned 1/2 lb of bacon in a dry pan and saved the fat. Bacon was for breakfast. Use smoked bacon for best flavors… this one was apple-wood smoked.
Remove the marinated pork out of the fridge and drain. Give it a quick shake and cut into bite size pieces.
Yes, it’s ok to have some of the marinade still on the pieces of pork. You will need to pat the pieces of pork dry with paper towels before frying or you’ll risk having to deal with splattering fat.
I like cutting into pieces before frying as I find I get more crispy edges and a juicy center. You can fry the pork in the original long strips and cut into bite size pieces later should you choose.
Use a pot with a high side, so the splatter will not burn you or get your stove messy. Heat the bacon fat on a medium heat and fry until golden. Flip so all the sides will brown evenly. About 10-12 minutes in total.
Drian on paper towels.
As mentioned above, this is usually served with Plait Bread on Christmas morning in places like Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana. However I make sandwiches all year with this as I refuse to be bound by seasons.