STANDING PORK RIB ROAST, SWEETCORN PUREE, NDUJA & HONEY BUTTER
A standing pork rib roast is a wonderfully theatrical cut of meat to present to a table of guests, and when cooked correctly is one of my favourite joints to roast.
It's important not to overcook your pork. There is a common anxiety surrounding pork, not too dissimilar to the fear of undercooked chicken, and whilst it's important to make sure the meat is cooked sufficiently, a dried-out piece of pig is as unappetising as well-done cut of steak.
We chefs often use the term 'blushing' to describe that optimal moment between under and over, medium-rare so to speak, but to take away the guess work, I would always recommend using a temperature probe to accurately hit the internal temp you're looking for.
For pork, I like to try and hit between 60-62c, but bear in mind that the internal temperature will rise during the rest, so I aim to take my meat off when it hits around 56c, and then give it the time to come up to the desired target.
Nduja & honey butter is a wonderfully filthy condiment that I would recommend on just about anything. Make a load up at a time and keep it in your fridge. You can smear it across some good-quality toasted sourdough, grilled corn, or a perfectly cooked piece of cod. I could go on and on.
SERVES 4 SWEETCORN PUREE 4 corn on the cobs, husks removed, kernels cut from cob 160ml water 60g butter, unsalted 1 tbsp sugar Salt & black pepper 40g crème fraiche 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped 1 tsp Chinese chilli oil (optional) or Tabasco HONEY & NDUJA BUTTER 50g unsalted butter, softened 50g best-quality nduja, brought to room temperature 2 tbsp honey PORK RIB ROAST ½ pork loin back rib roast, 6-bone, weighing 1.5-2kg (approx), chine removed (ask your butcher) 2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine 2 tbsp granulated sugar 1 tbsp kosher salt 1 tsp five spice powder FOR THE SWEETCORN PUREE
1. Heat the corn kernels in a saucepan with the water, butter, sugar and season liberally with salt & pepper. Bring to the boil over a high heat and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer for 20 minutes, or until the corn is tender.
2. Drain the corn, reserving the liquor to help blend the puree. Transfer the corn to a food processor and blend until smooth, adding back the cooking liquor until the desired consistency is achieved. It should not be too loose, nor too dry, but maintain a steady balance between the two, with a consistency not too dissimilar to wet polenta or grits.
3. Transfer the puree to a small saucepan, and stir in the crème fraiche, chopped chilli and Chinese chilli oil (if using) or Tabasco.
4. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary. Set aside until required for reheating.
FOR THE HONEY & NDUJA BUTTER
1. Combine the ingredients in a bowl or stand mixer with a paddle attachment and beat to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.
2. Roll the butter into a log with clingfilm and place in the fridge to set.
FOR THE PORK RIB ROAST
1. Score the pork skin in a cross-hatch pattern with a very sharp knife.
2. Combine the Shaoxing wine, sugar, salt & five-spice powder in a bowl and mix to form a paste.
3. Rub the paste all over the pork skin and set the meat in the fridge for 1 hour or up to 4 hours.
4. Set a barbecue up for two-zone indirect grilling at 200c (or else use an oven) and roast the pork loin off the coals, skin-side down on the grill, for approximately 40 minutes, or until 35c internal temperature when probed with a thermometer. Flip the joint over and continue to roast until the internal temperature of the meat when probed with a thermometer reaches 57c.
5. Pull the pork from the barbecue and rest for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through.
To serve, cut the pork loins from the bone and serve each rib-eye atop a bed of the warmed sweetcorn puree with a slice of the butter placed directly on the meat to melt in the residual heat. I like to serve the pork with fermented wild garlic, or a suitable pickle that I might have lying around the larder.