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Episode Recap

Season 10, Episode 1 Recap: Pork and Pierogi

Julia and Bridget prepare a show-stopping special occasion Cider Braised Pork Roast and Bryan shares his learnings from a visit with pierogi-making experts in Pittsburgh.
By Published Dec. 5, 2017

In the first episode of season 10, hosts Julia Collin Davison and Bridget Lancaster make Cider Braised Pork Roast. Next, Jack Bishop challenges Bridget to a taste test of supermarket sauerkraut. Finally, Cook’s Country magazine executive food editor Bryan Roof gives a nod to the Polish Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh and shows Julia how to make the best pierogi.

Here are three things we learned in this episode.

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1. When Making a Pork Roast, Choosing the Right Cut Is Key

And the right cut is the pork shoulder (also known as the Boston butt). The shoulder contains the blade bone, which provides lots of great flavor. Trim the fat cap (or ask your butcher to trim the fat cap) to about a quarter of an inch, and then make crosshatch cuts in the top. Coat the exterior of the shoulder with a combination of salt (quarter cup) and brown sugar (quarter cup), and then wrap it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 18 to 24 hours. The rub will first draw out some moisture from the shoulder, but then the meat will re-absorb that moisture along with some of the salt and brown sugar.

2. Sauerkraut Is Fermented, Not Pickled

Sauerkraut gets it acidity from fermentation, not pickling. All sauerkraut is is shredded cabbage, salt, and time. Originally, cabbage and salt were added to buckets and left to sit for several weeks while the natural bacteria and yeast in the air converted the natural sugars in the cabbage into lactic acid. It gets its tartness from that lactic acid, not vinegar.

3. High-Protein Doughs Make the Best Pierogies

During one of his On the Road trips to Pittsburgh last year, Bryan stopped by the home of master pierogi maker Elaine Kitlowski of Mount Lebanon. Elaine uses a combination of all-purpose flour and semolina for her pierogi, which yields a high-protein dough that’s elastic and easy to work with but still tender to eat. Instead of calling for two different flours, we settled on bread flour, which has a higher protein content than all-purpose flour. ​​​​​​

This is what we like to call 'pierogitory' in the kitchen.
Bryan Roof, about to fold and crimp a batch of 24 pierogies. (Believe us, it’s worth it!)