The Pink Pig.
Those three odd little words used to conjure all kinds of wonder and joy in children when I was a little guy.
Because… it was a ride, A RIDE, located high on top of the Rich’s Department Store in downtown Atlanta. They would only crank the behemoth up at Christmastime to thrill the kids – who in turn would whine, cry and then force their parents to drive all the way downtown to do their Christmas shopping.
My parents either didn’t listen to us… or knew exactly what the pig was.. Either way, we never got see… let alone ride the pig. The closest we ever got to the downtown Rich’s was either on a Sunday drive (when it was closed), or occasionally to see the lighting of the Big Tree at Thanksgiving (again, when Rich’s was closed)…. My folks didn’t do gimmicks.
I finally got to see the infamous “pig” some years later after I had started driving.
It was a cheesy monorail…
… that rattled and clanged
… and moved slower than a 3 year old could walk.
I’ve never been so disappointed to have such a wonder of my childhood crushed under the sharp pointy heel of reality.
Speaking of Christmas…
I always seem to get odd for items for Christmas Presents… not that I mind… at all. I’m a cheap food guy, and for someone else to go through the trouble to search for and buy me expensive, obscure foodstuff and spices – I couldn’t be more thrilled.
This year my sis sent me a selection of spices from Penzey’s Spices (arguably the best place on earth!), and among the choices was a big bottle of Pink Peppercorns.
Despite the name, and unlike the black, white and green varieties, Pink Peppercorns really aren’t peppercorns at all – but instead are the fruit of a tree related to the cashew family. They’re nutty, aromatic, slightly citrus-y, kind of herbal, a little oily, and a little sweet. They go well with just about any protein.
However, unlike regular peppercorns, pinks hold their flavor rather close… meaning, you either have to use a lot of them – or find a way to disperse the flavor around.
I decided to take my frustrations out on the destruction of my childhood, and roast the Pink Pig.
Roasted Pink Pig
Makes enough for 1 large Shoulder Roast
Pink Peppercorns – 1 Tablespoon. In order to move that essence, I’ve fine milled 1/2 of the amount in a Turkish Coffee Mill, then crushed the remainder with a mortar and pestle.
Dark Brown Sugar – 1 Tablespoon, Packed
Kosher Salt – 1 Tablespoon
Garlic Powder – 1 Teaspoon
Prepare the peppercorns and mix well with the remainder of the spices.
Score the fat cap of the shoulder roast about 1/2″ deep in a crisscross pattern
Rub the entire roast with the blend, using every single bit of it
Place on a roasting pan with a rack and allow to cure at room temperature for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 300
Place the roast uncovered on the lowest rack and cook for a minimum of 4 hours / or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees when tested at the thickest part of the roast with an instant thermometer.
Leave the roast cooling in the rack until it reaches room temperature.
The final roast is mellow, with a salty caramel, toasted nut pepperiness, all without being hot. It’s by far the best roast pork I’ve ever done.