For a long time I have wanted to cook some Iberico pork after enjoying plenty of Pata Negra (Black Hoof) pork travelling around Spain. The Iberian Pigs are usually reared outside in forests and naturally root out acorns from oak trees. The pigs are known for their huge appetite (wonder if am descended from these pigs!) and generate a large amount of fat, the marbling is unlike any other pork you have seen and is sometimes referred to as the Wagyu of pork!
I found a great recipe for Iberico Presa (Shoulder) with Jamon Butter in Ben Tish’s book and ordered the Iberico Presa from Meat Me At Home. I hadn’t realised the meat would arrive frozen and I was planning to cook it the day it arrived but I had a bit of a reshuffle and cooked it the next day after it defrosted. The order was for 1.4kg and I got 2x 700g slabs of meat, you can see the colour and great marbling in the photos below:
I made the blackening rub then drizzled the meat with honey, massaged it in then sprinkled the rub into the meat using the rub shaker (Shaker Stainless Steel, Large holes from GlobalFSE) :
The meat was then put into a ziplock bag, placed into a roasting dish and left in the fridge for 90 minutes.
The Jamon butter is easy to make by chopping Jamon Iberico up, searing it and mixing it with unsalted butter.
The bbq was set up with 2 zones and I used Oxford Charcoal Sweet Chestnut as it has a sweet, light flavour and the Iberico Presa is described as having a sweet, nutty taste. The charcoal also burns hot and fast so would be ideal to sear the meat at the end of the cook.
Traditionally in the UK we cook pork to death and end up with a chewy, grey bit of meat which is generally devoid of flavour but there is a risk of trichinosis with low grade, intensively reared pork. Thankfully, as with the rare breed British pork I usually buy from Turner and George, Martin’s Meats and Farmison this was a quality piece of meat that I planned to cook medium rare (55c).
The cook was fairly simple, 4 minutes indirect, flip the meat and cook for another 4 minutes and then move to direct heat for 3 minutes. The times varied slightly as I wanted to keep it indirect until 45c and then sear them until 55c. It all worked well and I pulled the meat off at 55c then wrapped in foil to rest.
I was very happy to see the meat nice and pink when I sliced it. The 2nd of the joints was pinker still but the photos are blurry! That one sat further out on the BBQ and cooked a little slower to 45c so I would repeat that in future.
Side dishes that went with this were: Olive oil mash with slow cooked garlic + peppers, tomatoes and shallots with oregano + Orange and Cardamom carrots. All recipes from Ben Tish’s book and cooked on the bbq.
The garlic was cooked on a previous cook, just wrapped in tin foil and left in the coals for an hour. It wasn’t as easy to chop it as it was cold but it’s easier to cook it in advance as it needs and hour and this was a pretty quick cook. The smoky garlic did taste great in the mash.
The peppers, tomatoes and shallots were great and were also cooked on the previous cook. The peppers (whole) and shallots (halved) are cooked indirectly for 15m (rotate every 5m) to soften and the tomatoes are cooked directly for 10m (flipped at 5m). I would probably cook the peppers directly to start next time just to kick the char process off quicker. This dish sat in the fridge for 3 days before we eat it and it tasted a lot better after being left. I will probably make this more often as it would be good in sandwiches/rolls with leftover chicken but is a good way to use space or burning coals during a cook.
The carrots take about 20m and you cook for 5m directly, turning regularly then move them to indirect turning regularly again and basting with the orange and cardamom sauce every 4m.They look black in the picture but they are supposed to be charred and tasted great! The orange and cardamom sauce was a nice touch.
The end result!
I did enjoy this meat, it has a taste totally unlike pork. It’s hard to explain but it’s very soft, very juicy and very tasty. In the UK we have pannage pork where the pigs roam free and eat acorns. It’s hard to get hold of but The Butchery stock it on occasions, unfortunately they don’t do mail order 🙁
-90m: Apply blackening rub and salt to meat, leave to rest in the fridge.
0: Put meat on BBQ (Indirect)
5m: Flip meat
10m: Flip meat (check temp)
- Squeeze garlic out and chop it
15m: Flip meat (check temp 45c to sear)
20m: Flip meat (check temp 45c to sear)
- Prep spuds
25m: Flip meat (check temp 45c to sear)
- Light more charcoal in the chimney
30m: Flip meat (check temp (45c to sear)
35m : New coals on
- Flip meat – move to sear?
- Boil kettle and put spuds on
- Carrots on
37m: Move carrots
39m: Move carrots
40m: Check meat temp (55c) – flip or foil
- Move carrots to indirect and baste
- Dish up peppers
- Get Iberico butter to room temp
44m: Move carrots and baste
45m: Heat cream
48m: Move carrots and baste
52m: Move carrots and baste
55m: Spuds done (butter, cream, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper)
- Stir in cream and butter, whisk in olive oil, stir in garlic
- Carrots done
- Squeeze lemon over the meat (sliced)