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Old 11-19-2005, 11:58 AM   #1
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ISO Fresh Pork Picnic, How to cook?

I don't routinely cook meat, especially large cuts, but I need help with a cut of pork. It is labeled "fresh pork picnic" and weights 5.4 lbs. I want to serve it tomorrow (Nov 20)

is this cut well marbled? - doesn't marbling mean a juicier cooked meat?
I went to askthemeatman.com/hog_cuts_interactive_chart and it would appear to be a "pork picnic shoulder" or what's called an "arm picnic" (my cut doesn't seem to have any shank part). More information on this cut from the same site is shown Pork Picnic Shoulder but I find their info confusing
It contains a higher level of fat than the other cuts of pork [and] has a relatively high ratio of bone to lean meat...the shoulder is tender enough to be cooked by any method. It is, however, one of the toughest cuts of pork
My cut has a thick layer of fat (with the skin on top) on one side but I can't really tell the distribution of fat throughout. If it is marbled, it should be tender, not tough, right? Or does marbling simply add taste and help keep the meat moist when cooking? I ask b/c I can't decide to braise it (lean meat) or roast it.

should I brine it first?
I do want moist meat and would like to try this method. I've collected a bunch of brining recipes.
> Is this a good cut to brine?
> how long should I brine it (Since the cut is 5.4 lbs, I thought 6 hours max, but maybe this is too long?).

cooking method - roast or braise?
I'd prefer to roast rather than oven braise but I want the meat to be tender (not necessarily falling off the bone, but tender and juicy). Braising is recommended for tougher cuts of meat but, if its been brined, shouldn't that do the trick?

If I go with roasting...
> Would you recommend a dry spice rub prior to putting it in the oven?
> If the meat tends to be tough, should I use a lower temp (say, 300-325F) plus longer time? (I have a meat thermometer so I can tell the internal temp when done.)
> should I remove the skin from the layer of fat on one side of the cut?
> would I put the side with the fat layer up or down on the rack in the roasting pan?
> I'd like to roast some root veggies along with the meat (carrots, turnips). Do I add them at the beginning or later? (My cookbook says if I roast the pork at 325F it should take about 35 minutes per lb, or about a total of 3 hours.)


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Old 11-19-2005, 12:45 PM   #2
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The picnic is a very fatty cut. Brining is for leaner meats...you won't have to worry about this being juicey.
Cut the skin off the tops, and some of the fat as well. Spread mustard all over the top and sides (cook fat side up) and put it on a rack in a roasting pan. Cook at 300-325 to render out the fat.
I'd put the root vegies in at the same time as the meat and let them roast in the drippings.
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Old 12-14-2005, 09:40 PM   #3
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I agree completely with Rainee, except that I'd cook it over a divided bed of charcoals, with a drip directly under the roast. I'd probably throw some apple wood on the fire as well, and cook to an internal temp. of 155, as measured by a thermometer.

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Old 12-15-2005, 09:16 AM   #4
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GW, that smoky taste would be a definite plus.
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