It’s Octoberfest season, which means the malty but restrained beer style is popping up everywhere from your favorite local brewery to big box grocery stores. That’s good for you, because most Octoberfest beers can actually be great to cook with. One of my favorite things to do is use beer when I cook meat, and a good Octoberfest can add a ton of great flavor, especially for pork.
The folks at Sam Adams recently sent me this awesome recipe for Pork Shoulder, which has been slow-poached in Octoberfest with apple and thyme. Yes, your mouth should be watering right now. The caramel notes of the Octoberfest match the tart apple and tender pork to create something truly amazing. This delicious recipe is easy enough that even the most novice of home chefs should be able to figure it out, but delicious enough you can invite people over for dinner and they’ll think you’re a culinary genius.
Here’s how to make it happen:
½ of whole bone-in pork shoulder
1 onion (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
12 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bottles of Octoberfest
28 oz of apple cider
3.5 oz of apple cider vinegar
Salt to taste
Directions: Have your butcher quarter a whole pork shoulder. One quarter should be plenty for six to eight people. In a large stock pot, add the pork shoulder, coarsely chopped onion and crushed garlic cloves. Add the beer and enough apple cider to completely cover the meat. Tie up the fresh thyme with twine or cheesecloth and add to the liquid. Bring to a simmer, ensuring it does not boil. Cover and simmer for three to four hours, until the pork falls apart easily. Strain the liquid and reserve. Allow the meat to cool before picking off the bone.
In a mixing bowl season the pork that has been pulled from the bone. Add some of the cooking liquid so the pork is “wet” but not submerged. Season with vinegar and salt to taste. The vinegar is meant to balance the fattiness of the meat.