For real pork lovers

Sometimes I’m a little slow on finding out about new food things in Durham–e.g. Rose’s Meat and Sweet Shop. They’ve been open for about six months and I just recently got there.  I guess I was so slow to find this because I’ve been buried in end-of-term grading, and a couple different indexes, but I’ll certainly be back frequently.

If you’re one of those people who think that pork can’t be eaten if it’s still pink, and if you’re one of those people who carefully cut every last itsy, bitsy, teeny, weeny, tiny bit of fat off you meat, then you might as well stop reading right here because from here on you only comments and thoughts will probably be icky, yuck, and things of that nature; but before you leave, you should certainly check out Rose’s website if you’re in Durham.They have sausages, bacon (dry cured), stock, lard, and offal at various times, depending on when they’ve just  butchered.  (You should definitely peruse the sweets and menu items while you’re there, too–not just the meats.)

It’s not a huge quantity of meat that you’ll see  in the case, but top quality meat, and some unusual cuts that you won’t find in the supermarket.  My “find” on my first visit (in addition to the little chocolate hazelnut tarts and the chocolate wafers) was a pork neck steak–something I’d never seen offered for sale before. Needless to say, my love of pork and my curiosity got the best of me and I brought home neck steak.

When I got my pork neck steak home, I headed for the computer to do a little searching.  I don’t think I’ve seen a recipe for this cut of pork in any of the many cookbooks that I have–even the meat cookbooks.  I guess it’s not a cut that is used frequently.

The first thing I learned was that it’s also called a neck fillet as well.  One of the first places I found information was at Eat to Blog. Donny Tsang’s post on pork neck fillet referenced Jamie Oliver’s method of cooking the cut and had good comments about it. So where else would I go?   Right straight to Jamie for his recipe.

photograph of pork neck fillet from

I did as the post on Eat to Blog, leaving out the sage and the lemon because I just wanted to get a feel for the pork itself. It was easy to cook: very, very hot cast iron griddle (which practically lives on my stove) for two minutes on each side, and then turn at one-minute intervals until it has cooked a total of 8 minutes.

The result? Absolutely marvelous! Of course I started with top quality pasture-raised pork that had  enough fat for great flavor and juiciness. With the fat in this cut, it’s very rich.  I did use a squeeze of lemon to brighten and cut a bit of the richness.

Caveats for cooking this on a cast iron griddle or skillet: you’re going to have smoke–but it’s worth it.   I had to take the smoke/CO alarm outside while I cooked this–and I’ll take it out next time, too, because I’ll definitely be cooking this again.  Admittedly it’s not something you are going to eat every day–so I figure I can allow the fat that comes with it. Cutting fat off is not an option because the meat is well-marbled, and fat is interspersed between muscles; besides that, if you’re going to cut off all the fat, you might as well buy a loin chop! We’re after some great flavor here. I think I’ll try the sage next time, but just plain, finished with a little fresh ground black pepper and a sprinkle of Fleur de Sel it was wonderful.

(Ok, I’ll also confess to using lard in some things when I cook–and I so pleased that Rose’s has lard–now I don’t have to scrounge for fat back and render my own.)

NOTE: I’ve unabashedly gotten this photo from Jamie Oliver’s website (caption is a link to his website) but I’ll have to say that mine looked just as good as this one–and the flavor was right up there with the looks.

A son goût!