Filipino Sizzling Pork


For the brine:
4 cups soy sauce
3 1/3 cups granulated sugar
3 medium lemongrass stalks, trimmed and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
1 (4-inch) piece fresh ginger, unpeeled and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
6 medium garlic cloves, smashed
10 whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
4 cups water

For the pork:
2 1/2 pound piece boneless pork shoulder, also known as pork butt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup water

1 small yellow onion, medium dice
3 serrano chiles, stems, seeds, and ribs removed and finely chopped
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed calamansi or lime juice (about 1 medium lime or 1 large calamansi), plus more as needed
2 tablespoons soy sauce, plus more as needed
Steamed white rice, for serving

For the brine:

Place all of the ingredients except the water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat, add the water, and stir to combine. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then transfer to a large bowl or plastic container. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.

For the pork:
Add the pork shoulder to the cold brine and invert a small plate over them to keep them completely submerged. Cover and refrigerate at least 12 hours.

Heat the oven to 300°F and arrange a rack in the middle.

 Scrape off any excess marinade or solids from the shoulder and remove it to a plate; set aside.

Set a strainer over a large bowl, pour the brine through it, and discard the contents of the strainer. Set the strained brine aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium frying pan over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add the pork shoulder and cook, turning occasionally, until it’s browned on all sides, about 5 minutes total, adjusting the heat as necessary so that the pork doesn’t burn. 

Remove the shoulder to a clean plate and set aside.

Wipe the oil out of the pan with a paper towel and return the pan to medium heat. Add the water, use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits that have accumulated on the bottom of the pan, and bring to a simmer.

Return the pork shoulder to the pan, add about 1 1/2 cups of the reserved brine (enough to come about halfway up the side of the pork), and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan with foil and transfer it to the oven. Braise until the shoulder is fork-tender, flipping it halfway through, about 3 hours total. Transfer the shoulder and its cooking liquid to a medium bowl and set aside to cool for at least 1 hour.

Cut the shoulder into medium dice, discarding any large pieces of fat; set aside. 

Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat until hot. 

Add the onion and chiles and cook, scraping up any browned bits that have accumulated on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, until softened, about 3 minutes.

Add the shoulder and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is warmed through and sizzling, about 5 minutes. Add the measured calamansi or lime juice and measured soy sauce and stir to combine. Taste the mixture—it should have a good balance of salty, tangy, and spicy. Add additional calamansi juice and soy sauce as needed. Serve immediately with steamed rice.

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