New Orleans Cuisine

My Creole & Cajun Recipe Page

This is my blog dedicated to New Orleans & Louisiana cooking! I'll give links to great Creole & Cajun recipes and sites, as well as some of my own recipes. I love talkin' New Orleans, food and otherwise! Incidentally, I'm from Detroit. Go Figure. Lets just say I figured out "what it means, to miss New Orleans" and this site helps ease the pain.

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"Leaving New Orleans also frightened me considerably. Outside of the city limits the heart of darkness, the true wasteland begins."
-Ignatius J. Reilly from A Confederacy of Dunces

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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Pickle Meat or Pickled Pork

Before the days of refrigeration and commercial curing plants, Pickle Meat or Pickled Pork was a staple in the Creole Kitchen. From what I understand, it's still fairly easy to find in New Orleans. Some people will not make Red Beans and Rice without it, and I have to say, the best pot of Red Beans that I've made, was made with Pickled Pork. The meat is so tender from the brine, that it just breaks down in the pot, leaving behind all of that wonderful flavor. It's a cinch to make, now that we don't have to do 25 lb. batches. Long ago the pork from a very recently butchered hog would be cured in large batches, and kept in barrels. Here is what The Picayune's Creole Cookbook of 1901 had to say on the subject, along with the process:

Pork should be pickled about twenty hours after killing. It is pickled always in sufficient quantity to last for some time, for if proper care is taken, it will keep one year after pickling; but it may also be pickled in small quantities of three or four pounds at a time, reducing other ingredients in the recipe according to quantity of pork used. To twenty-five pounds of Pork allow one ounce of saltpetre. Pulverize thoroughly and mix with a sufficient quantity of salt to thoroughly salt the pork. Cut the Pork into pieces of about two pounds, and slash each piece through the skin, and then rub thoroughly with the salt and saltpetre mixture till the meat is thoroughly penetrated through and through. Mash the cloves very fine and grind the allspice; chop the onions. Take a small barrel and place at the bottom a layer of salt, then a layer of coarsely chopped onions, and sprinkle over this a layer of the spices and minced bay leaves. Place on this a layer of Pork; pack tightly; then place above this a layer of salt and seasonings, and continue with alternate layers of Pork and seasonings until the Pork is used up. Conclude with a layer of the minced herbs and spices and have a layer of salt on top. Cover the preparation with a board on which a heavy weight must be placed to press down the meat. It will be ready for use in ten or twelve days.

Here is a more modern version, which is more of a brine than the version in the old text. I love the slight acidic flavor that it lends to a pot of Red Beans.

Pickled Pork or Pickle Meat Recipe

2 lbs. Very Fresh Pork Cut into 2 inch cubes (I use Pork Shoulder or Boston Butt)
1 Qt. White Vinegar
1/2 Cup Mustard Seed
6 Each Whole Cloves
6 Each Whole Allspice
1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
3 Fresh Bay Leaves
6 Whole Garlic Cloves
1/2 of a Medium Onion, Coarsely Chopped
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1 Tbsp Black Peppercorns
1 pinch Pink Meat Cure or Prague Powder

Add all the ingredients except the Pork to a 2 qt Saucepan. Bring to a boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes, then place it into a container to cool in the refrigerator. When the mixture is completely cold, add the pork. Make sure the pork is completely covered; stir to make remove any air bubbles. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 4 days before using.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not like the vinegar taste. Otherwise it was good.

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh how cool, I've actually been looking for a pickled meet type of recipe to post on my webpage! Would you mind if I used this??

How to Pickle

7:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Job! :)

7:13 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Great, we don't use a fridge and are getting into sauerkraut etc, for our health, any chance we could skip the saltpetre??

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, Once you have pickled the pork how can you use it other than in Red Beans and Rice? ANy other reicpe ideas for left over pickled pork?

8:52 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

i am trying to buy your cook book. no luck,try to simplify your web site. there are quite a few of us out there that are not comp. lit.thank you p.s. i am a displaced cajan

5:19 PM  
Blogger Nedra Weaver said...

what is this pink meat cure and where can you get it?

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pink salt, or pink pickling cure or whatever name you like is sodium nitrate, one of the two commonly used nitrates in food which causes the meat to remain pink instead of turning grey. Leave it out and nothing will happen save that the meat will turn grey colored, but will taste no different. And you will be less likely to get cancer and heart disease - a potential problem with all nitrates.

11:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's RAW???? Someone please explain.

5:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@anonymous.... I usually use pickle meat in recipes that call for ham hocks, any beans recipe will taste better with this meat, and sometimes I'll use it to season side vega
Tables like French cut greens beans or peas. It's a very versatile seasoning, but those are a few that I use it for.

5:44 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Is this the recipe I would use to produce a cottage roll? We can't buy cottage rolls here in my area, but they are simply delicious. Please email me at

2:43 PM  
Blogger Smokin Don said...

I have been using a similiar recipe for years to add to red beans & rice, love it. I recently read on an Australian BBQ blog where they do a smoked pickled picnic roast looked great. I have a 2 1/2 lb pork roast pickling now & will try smoking it. It seems pickled pork is common in Australia. Smokin Don

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Bill in Gentilly said...

I am displaced because of katrina living in Penn. I have found a butcher that is willing to give pickeling a try. He would like to see a picrture of the meat before it is pickled. Is this doable? What cut of meat is most ised. I used to just tell the butcher I wanted a pound od pickled tips.Whwew do the tips come from?

10:10 AM  
Blogger Chadwick said...

Pickle meat is also nice in clam chowder.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It also makes the best pot of cabbage you've ever eaten

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back end of a slab of ribs

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greens, green beans and potatoes

12:39 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Do you use Prague powder #1 or #2 since 2 add about 1% sodium nitrate and reduce the salt content by 1% to 92.75%.

5:45 PM  

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