How We Cook a Juicy Pork Denver Steak: The Iberico Presa
About the Presa Cut
Welcome to the comprehensive guide to Iberico Presa Steak. This guide aims to explain the origins and preparation of Presa, a highly esteemed cut derived from the pork collar, colloquially known as the "neck" of the pig.
This particular cut, often referred to as the "money muscle" due to its exceptional marbling and tenderness, remains a coveted treasure within the realm of gastronomy. It's a preferred choice for dry curing, notably utilized by the Italians in crafting the renowned "Coppa" charcuterie.
Campo Grande, on the other hand, is celebrated for its production of this culinary delicacy. In the Spanish culinary tradition, the entire collar is referred to as the "Cabecero." In alignment with the seam butchery practices of Iberico, this collar is divided into two distinct parts: the upper collar, known as the Mogote or "Coppa," and the lower collar, which is referred to as the Presa and is commonly referred to as the Denver Steak in English.
In the domain of beef, the collar equates to the "chuck", with the lower section constituting the Denver steak. Let's now delve into the methods for preparing this exquisite cut.
Before cooking, treat it like an expensive steak, hence its nickname as the "Wagyu" of pork. Ensuring that the meat attains room temperature and removing excess moisture by patting it down with paper towels are essential steps.
Concerning butchering, there exist three options: preserving the presa cut as a whole, butterflying it, or adopting the zabuton method, also known as strips.
Before commencing the process, it is imperative to salt the meat overnight, or at a minimum, for two hours, using a wire rack. This procedure aids in dehydrating the meat, enhancing the Maillard reaction.
Now, let us proceed to examine the various cooking methods.
For the whole piece, the choice of either an oven or sous vide is available for indoor cooking, bringing the internal temperature to 135°F. Subsequently, it is seared in a hot cast iron pan and glazed with a mixture of butter, garlic, and herbs until the final temperature reaches 145°F.
An alternative approach is grilling the meat outdoors, achieving the same internal temperature.
For zabuton (or strips), once again, high-heat cast iron cooking or grilling over hot coals yields favorable results. During the cooking process, it is imperative to render the Iberico fat trim into the oil pan and refrain from using oil.
Once cooked allow the meat to rest for a duration ranging from 5 to 20 minutes, contingent upon the thickness. This can be accomplished by covering it with either aluminum foil or butcher paper.
When carving and slicing the meat, it is crucial to proceed against the grain. In the case of the whole piece, it is recommended to bisect it and then slice it against the grain. For butterflied and zabuton preparations, a straightforward slicing against the grain suffices.
For butterflied cuts, the recommended cooking methods include high-heat cast iron cooking at 400°F or grilling over hot coals on a barbecue grill. We recommend seasoning the butterflied Presa overnight for maximum flavor.
When it comes to plating and portioning, consider the presentation format, as each format accommodates a different number of servings. For the sauce, simplicity often prevails, with options such as salt or a mild condiment like chimichurri, allowing the meat's inherent flavor to shine.