If you ever find yourself up in Calistoga, get thee to Solbar and order the Lucky Pig post-haste! You’ll be rewarded with slow-cooked pork shoulder accompanied by all manner of toppings and accoutrements. You can use a butter lettuce leaf or black sesame crepe to wrap everything up into one delicious package.
The recipe is posted online, but alas, it’s for 16 servings! Below is my adaptation that will serve 4-6.
Photo by Monica Renner
The Lucky Pig, Adapted from chef Brandon Sharp of Solbar – Calistoga, CA
6 lbs pork shoulder
Salt and black pepper
1/4 cup canola oil
6 cloves unpeeled garlic
1 bunch fresh thyme
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup bread flour
3/4 teaspoons salt
5 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
3 cups water
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
5 cups brown sugar
1/8 cup salt
1/8 cup cloves
1/8 cup Szechuan peppercorns
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
Juice of 3 limes
2 pineapples, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
6 pods star anise, in a sachet
2 pounds raw red-skin peanuts
Kosher salt to season
Korean red pepper to season
Enough water to cover peanuts
Butter lettuce leaves
Fresh basil, cilantro, and mint leaves
Pork shoulder prep:
- Cut into 2-pound rectangular pieces.
- Score the fat in a crosshatch manner.
- Season liberally with salt and black pepper.
- Refrigerate, uncovered, for 5-8 hours.
Cooking the pork shoulder:
- Preheat the oven to 300ºF.
- Sear the roasts, fat-side first, until well-browned on all sides.
- Place pork in large roasting pan, fat-side up.
- Add the garlic and thyme, and cover with foil or a metal lid.
- Transfer to the oven and roast for 5 hours or more.
- Pork should be super tender and pull apart easily with a fork.
Black sesame crepes:
- Combine the flours, salt, butter, sesame oil, eggs, and milk.
- Blend until smooth.
- Stir in the sesame seeds.
- Let batter rest for about 8 hours before making crepes.
- Put the water, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, salt, cloves, Szechuan peppercorns, and vanilla seeds in a pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
- Place pineapple in large container, and pour pickling liquid over pineapple.
- Add lime juice.
- Pineapple slices should be completely submerged in the pickling liquid.
- Refrigerate for about 8 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Bring the water and star anise to a boil and cook for five minutes.
- Add the peanuts, cover, and boil for 7 minutes.
- Turn off heat and let steep for 10 minutes.
- Drain peanuts and spread on parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Roast, turning twice, for 30 minutes,
- Let cool.
- Fry the peanuts for 4 to 5 minutes or until crunchy.
- Season with salt and Korean red pepper.
- Set aside to cool.
- Cook crepes.
- Garnish pork with scallions.
Lucky Pig: Assemble!
Take a butter lettuce leaf or crepe and add pork, pineapple, peanuts, and any other topping you desire. C’est délicieux!